Newton, who won the Heisman Trophy in 2010 and led the Tigers to a 14-0 record and national championship that season, received 36 percent of the vote in our SportsNation poll. Georgia's Herschel Walker was second with 27 percent of the vote. Walker had three great seasons in college, but the one we selected as his best was his freshman season in 1980 when he rushed for 1,616 yards and led the Bulldogs to a national title.
It's been a close race for third place. Currently, Alabama linebacker Derrick Thomas is ahead of Florida quarterback Tim Tebow. Thomas, who had 27 sacks in 1988, garnered 18 percent of the vote, while Tebow collected 17 percent of the vote. Tebow became the first FBS player in history to rush for 20 touchdowns and pass for 20 touchdowns in the same season in 2007.
I included an "other" category in this most recent poll, but it doesn't sound like fans believe there were any glaring omissions among the candidates listed.
I also picked Newton, and while Walker remains an almost mythical figure in this league, it's hard to top what Newton did for his team during that 2010 national championship season. Without Newton, I think the Tigers would have lost at least three games.
He was the essence of a difference-maker that season, and I don't think we'll ever see a quarterback lead the SEC in rushing again and also finish second nationally in passing efficiency that same season.