If it were up to Archie Griffin, the only two-time Heisman Trophy award winner, Reggie Bush would be able to keep his 2005 Heisman Trophy.
“I don’t know how much control he will have over that, but do I think he should keep his Heisman? Yes I do,” Griffin said on Thursday, two days after a report said the Heisman Trust would strip Bush of the award. “He won it against college competition. The voters voted in his favor to win that Heisman Trophy, and yes, he should keep it in my opinion.”
The former Ohio State standout, who currently serves as a spokesman for the Wendy’s High School Heisman Award, shared his thoughts on if he would accept a vacated Heisman Trophy, his favorites for this year’s award and “the school up north.”
If you were Reggie Bush, would you give back the Heisman?
I don’t know how much control he will have over that, but do I think he should keep his Heisman? Yes I do. I think he won that on the football field as a college student. He won it against college competition. The voters voted in his favor to win that Heisman Trophy, and yes, he should keep it in my opinion.
Will the Heisman Trust open Pandora’s box if they decide to vacate the Heisman?
I think they are. What do you do? Do you give it to the runner-up? Then you ask the question will the runner-up want it, knowing that they got it by default. Do you re-vote? What do you do? I think again, it was an award that was won on the field by a player who was certainly in college at the time, playing college football. He wasn’t competing at a pro level against pros. When I say that, I mean college is college. And professional is professional. It’s not just what you do, what you get. It’s your level of performance and his level of performance at the time was against competition that was college competition. He was a college player and was voted on by the folks who have been appointed to vote for the Heisman Trophy. They voted in his favor and he should win it because of that.
If you were Vince Young, would you want the award?
I wouldn’t want it by default. In the back of my mind, I would ask the question, ‘Did I really win this or did Reggie Bush win it?’ That’s just my opinion. Vince might feel differently.
Prior to Mark Ingram’s injury, did you think the Alabama running back had a shot at winning a second Heisman?
Absolutely. I’m not so sure that he still doesn’t have a shot. It will probably be a little more difficult since he might sit out this game that they have against Penn State. That’s a pretty big game. I absolutely believe he had a shot at winning it a second time. He’s a very talented young man, a great running back and plays on a great football team. When you put all that together, that opportunity is there.
With Ingram likely out of consideration, who are the favorites in your eyes?
There are several people who really have a shot at winning the Heisman. A couple of the guys are playing this week in the Ohio State-Miami football game. You have Terrelle Pryor for our Buckeyes and Jacory Harris, the quarterback for Miami. Both of those guys are capable of winning the Heisman Trophy. There are some other quarterbacks and a couple running backs that probably have a good shot. The Boise State quarterback, Kellen Moore, has been mentioned quite a bit in the Heisman race. Running back for Oregon State, Jacquizz Rodgers, has been mentioned quite a bit. Jake Locker from Washington, Case Keenum from Houston, there are a lot of candidates out there. The season is just now getting started. Most have only played one game and it’s going to be exciting.
How long do you see yourself standing alone as the only two-time Heisman winner?
I have been saying for a long, long time that there’s going to be someone else that will win it a second time. I truly believe that. I don’t know when it’s going to happen. It could be this year. Or it could be next year. A lot of the guys this year are juniors for the Heisman Trophy. If one of them wins it, they will have the opportunity to come back if they choose to do so. Certainly Mark Ingram, who is a junior now and already won it as a sophomore, will have the opportunity to come back and win it as well. Even if he wins it this year, he might have three opportunities to win it.
Would you trade one of your Heisman’s for a Super Bowl victory in Super Bowl XVI?
They are on a different level. One is college. One is pro. I loved playing in a Super Bowl but I’m not going to trade the Heisman, a college award, for a pro award. I would have traded one of my Heisman’s for a national championship. We came very close three times but didn’t win. That’s a team award and it recognizes all the players that were on that team. Even though I will be the first to tell you I wouldn’t have won a Heisman Trophy without the support and outstanding play of my teammates.
When I say the word Michigan, what’s the first thing that pops in your head?
[Laughs] The school up north. Nothing bad. It’s a great school in fact. I enjoy the great rivalry we have and had in the past and the great competition that was always at Michigan. When I played in that game, I always remembered the week after that game, I probably wouldn’t have been able to play because it was so physical.
What are you doing with the Wendy’s High School Heisman program?
I’m involved with the Wendy’s High School Heisman program and I have been involved since its inception in 1994. This time of the year, we want to make sure we recognize outstanding high school seniors for the wonderful things they are doing in the classroom, on the fields and courts of play, and certainly the great work they are doing in their community. To be eligible for a Wendy’s High School Heisman, you have to be a senior in high school, a B-grade point average or better, participate in one of 27 sports sanctioned by the National Federation of High School Associations, and be involved in community service.