Barrett Jones for Heisman: it’s not a suggestion one is going to come across too often, if at all. The idea of a lineman winning college football’s most coveted individual honor is about as foreign as it gets, even if the man for whom the Heisman Trophy is named, John Heisman, played along the front. The award is about glitz, about hype and big stats: all characteristics reserved for those who touch the ball.
Well, Barrett Jones does — now, anyway. He moved to center this season to fill a need for the Crimson Tide. That’s been Jones’ M.O. The veteran has played all three positions across the Alabama front five during his career, and he’s commanded all masterfully. He now puts the ball into play, though that’s hardly the kind of action voters are interested in when casting Heisman ballots.
But consider that last year’s Heisman Trophy finalists running back, Trent Richardson, was utilizing holes Jones opened. Richardson took his considerable talents to the NFL in the off-season, but through three outings the Tide have yet to miss a beat. If anything, Alabama is more dangerous offensively now than a season ago. TJ Yeldon and Eddie Lacy are carrying the rushing load through three dominant wins. Alabama had an astounding six rushing touchdowns spread among four players in Saturday’s 52-0 dismantling of Arkansas.
The Tide also have a refined passing attack. AJ McCarron scored a touchdown and was 11-16 in the Fayetteville Pig Roast (credit Rece Davis). McCarron has been leaving the field so far in 2012 with the cleanest jersey in the stadium — and that includes the fans who are spilling chili from their hot dogs in the stands.
The Alabama defense is looking like the nation’s best, but the offense is equally multifaceted and dominant. Jones sets the tone. Protecting McCarron, starting convoys for the many running backs — he is a catalyst to one of the most prolific offenses in the nation. That’s typically the qualification for a Heisman finalist.