Don’t let Trent Richardson fool you.
His humble demeanor is a coach’s dream, and I respect the fact he says “We” and “They” more than “Me” or “I.”
But when you’re talking about the Heisman Trophy, only one person can win it. Only one person can have his named etched into that bronze beauty. Only one player has his photo plastered on the Heisman Hall of Funny Smiles each year.
This year, Trent, your cheesy smile should join the group.
However, someone should have informed Alabama’s mild-manner, bulldozing running back that it’s OK to be a little selfish sometimes when you’re trying to sell your Heisman campaign.
You can’t hate Richardson for his team-first attitude, and it just goes to show you that the award that judges both on-field AND off-field actions should return to Tuscaloosa, Ala.
“It’s an honor just to have my name mentioned in that situation,” Richardson said.
“It means a lot to me. I know it means a lot for the team because they deserve every bit of it.”
Sure, Alabama’s offensive line definitely deserves some credit for Richardson’s spectacular season – a season in which he took over for past Heisman winner Mark Ingram – but Richardson was the battering ram wearing down defenders. Richardson was the one who routinely required a cluster of defenders to bring him down, after about five more big-boy steps.
With Alabama replacing a handful of offensive veterans, Richardson was the offense’s linchpin. There was no game-changing wide receiver. There was no proven quarterback. So, Richardson, who spent two previous seasons as a backup, was left to carry Alabama’s offense on his doublewide shoulders.
Without Richardson, Alabama isn’t even in the conversation for the national championship.
“He does everything for us,” said quarterback AJ McCarron, who gave Richardson some bonus points by calling him a great role model.
Richardson finished the season leading the SEC with 1,583 rushing yards and 20 rushing touchdowns. He was also second for Alabama with 27 receptions for 327 yards and three more scores, ranking him second in school and SEC history with 23 total touchdowns.
Against SEC opponents, Richardson averaged 137 rushing yards a game, 6 yards per carry, and his 12 total touchdowns put him second in the league in scoring in conference games (nine points a game).
He rushed for 100-plus yards nine times, eclipsing the 160-yard mark five times.
Against LSU’s second-ranked defense, Richardson gained 169 total yards, dragging a few Tigers along the bumpy ride.
Richardson didn’t get a championship game to showcase his skills one last time before a national audience, but when his last stage was set, he tore the roof off that sucker.
In the season finale at Auburn, Richardson had a career-best 203 yard rushing yards and had a receiving touchdown. He had another dazzling Heisman moment when he pushed aside a few Tigers on his way to a superb 57-yard run.
It wasn’t the 76-yarder he pulled off against Ole Miss, where he cut backward at full speed to juke poor Senquez Golson out of his shoes before waltzing into the end zone.
Ladies and gentlemen, Richardson is your guy. He’s meant more to this Alabama team than Ingram did when he won back in 2009. He’s been tremendously consistent and is the nation’s best running back, if not player.
Not buying that last statement? Well, Ingram told Richardson so.
“That means a lot coming from him,” Richardson said. “He was a Heisman winner.”
And so should you be, Trent.