Auburn Univeristy quarterback Cam Newton won college football’s Heisman Trophy on Saturday after a season in which he played brilliantly, but was also the focus of an NCAA investigation.
Newton won in a landslide vote, easily beating runner-up Andrew Luck of Stanford University to become the third Auburn player to win the sport’s biggest individual award.
Newton received 729 first-place votes and 2,263 overall points, 1,184 more than Luck. Oregon running back LaMichael James was third, followed by Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore, the other finalist.
On the field and off, Newton has been the story of the college football season. He’s carried the top-ranked Tigers to the Bowl Championship Series national title game against No. 2 Oregon, running and passing over opponents who looked helpless trying to stop him.
However, his story is stained. Recently, the NCAA determined his father tried to peddle him to Mississippi State for cash.
The NCAA cleared him to play before the Southeastern Conference (SEC) title game because it found no evidence that he or Auburn knew about Cecil Newton’s pay-for-play scheme. It also suggested that it was still investigating. The FBI and the Mississippi secretary of state’s office also are looking into the case. Cam Newton has denied any wrongdoing.
Still, it invites speculation the newest Heisman winner could -perhaps be heading down the same path as Reggie Bush, who returned his Heisman Trophy three months ago after the NCAA ruled that he and his family received cash and gifts while he was at the University of Southern California.
To be eligible for the Heisman, a player must be in good standing with the NCAA. And for most of November, after news broke of claims by a Mississippi State booster who said Newton’s father tried to get the Bulldogs to pay US$180,000 for his son to play for them, it was unclear if Cam Newton was clean.
The NCAA didn’t punish Cam Newton, but did say that Cecil Newton’s access to Auburn athletics would have to be limited.
Blending a linebacker’s body with a tailback’s speed and quickness, the 1.98m, 113kg Newton has guided Auburn to a perfect season. He had an SEC-best 1,409 yards rushing with 21 touchdowns, and 2,589 yards passing with 28 touchdown passes. He’s the first SEC player to run for at least 1,000 yards and pass for at least 2,000 in the same season.