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Monday, December 13, 2010
The Big 12 and Heisman voting

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

For the first time since 2006, the Big 12 didn't have a representative at the Heisman Trophy ceremony in New York City, but it did have a presence in the final voting.

Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon finished fifth overall in the voting, and impressive showing for a player with little hype and just 20 career catches to begin the season.

One voter had Blackmon at No. 1 on his ballot, he was No. 2 on 23 more and third on an additional 56.

I said it last week, but outside of Cam Newton, he was the most unstoppable offensive force in the country. You cannot underestimate the significance of gaining more than 100 yards and scoring a touchdown in each game for 11 straight games.

There's a reason why in all of the years of college football only one player has ever duplicated the feat. And he did it at Pacific. Blackmon did it against NFL-bound cornerbacks at Nebraska and Texas, among others.

While Denard Robinson, Terrelle Pryor and Ryan Mallett's production varied wildly throughout the season, Blackmon remained consistent. He finished higher than all of them in the Heisman voting.

If Blackmon comes back next year and does it again, he might finish even higher. As for the Big 12, Blackmon wasn't the only person to find a spot on various voters' three-man final ballots.

The Heisman Trust requests voters not disclose their ballots, but plenty of voters don't comply. That's to the benefit of sites like StiffarmTrophy.com, who compiles a yearly list of ballots and projects the winner each year.

On the 217 ballots it had compiled by Saturday afternoon, a few rogue Heisman voters had a couple of unexpected names on their ballots.

Colorado left tackle Nate Solder was on two ballots. Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III made one. So did Texas defensive end Sam Acho.

All three are great representatives of the ideal "student-athlete." Solder was a finalist for the Academic Heisman. Acho won it. Griffin is a sophomore in eligibility who is expected to graduate this month and enter graduate school. He took the GRE during the season and wants to attend law school in the future.

Additionally, all three are among the best at their positions on the field. It seems like a couple voters wanted both on the field and off-field accomplishments recognized.