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Tim Tebow News
NEW YORK - Missouri’s Chase Daniel came here knowing he wouldn’t be lugging home an extra carry-on item back to Columbia, namely college football’s most famous 25-pound hunk of bronze. Daniel figured Florida quarterback Tim Tebow was such a lock to become the 73rd winner of the Heisman Memorial Trophy, he didn’t bother preparing a speech.
Sure enough, wearing a new black pinstriped suit and a crisp blue and gold striped tie, Daniel made his way into the Hard Rock Cafe for the post-ceremony press conference empty handed. Just a few minutes earlier and across the street at the Nokia Theatre, Tebow became the first sophomore to win the award.
After finishing fourth in the voting, Daniel beamed brighter than ever.
"I’d be nervous if I felt like I was going to win, but I knew I had no chance," said Daniel, loosening his tie in between hugs from his parents, Bill and Vickie, and sister, Lynsey. "Coming in fourth is fine with me. It’s awesome."
Just a few minutes earlier, when Brian Obergfell of the Heisman Trust announced Tebow as the winner, Daniel was the first to his feet, embraced the winning quarterback and whispered in his ear.
"I just said, ‘Congratulations, man,’ " Daniel said. "Being the first sophomore to win it, that’s history right there. That’s never going to happen again. I guarantee you a freshman’s never going to win this award, but for a sophomore to win it in a world of great college football players … man. It’s unbelievable."
Tebow and Arkansas running back Darren McFadden were considered the front-runners, leaving a battle for third place between Daniel and Hawaii quarterback Colt Brennan. From a panel of 925 voters made up of media members and former Heisman winners, Daniel earned 25 first-place votes and 425 points overall - not enough to catch Brennan for third.
Tebow wasn’t the runaway winner Daniel predicted. The sophomore collected 462 first-place votes and 1,957 votes overall, leaving McFadden in second place for the second consecutive season. The Razorbacks junior back, who faces Missouri at the Jan. 1 Cotton Bowl, scored 291 first-place votes and 1,703 points. Brennan earned 54 first-place votes and 632 overall points.
Daniel became the third Missouri player to finish among the top 10 vote-getters in the Heisman balloting, following quarterback Paul Christman, who took third and fifth in 1939 and 1940, respectively, and end Danny LaRose, who was eighth in 1960.
Daniel was joined at the ceremony by Missouri Coach Gary Pinkel and assistants Dave Christensen, David Yost and Dave Steckel.
Daniel later acknowledged he would have probably finished higher had he not struggled last Saturday in Missouri’s 38-17 loss to Oklahoma in the Big 12 championship game. A few days after the media unanimously named voted him Big 12 offensive player of the year, Daniel failed to throw a touchdown for the first time this season.
"If I would have had a 300-yard game, a four-touchdown game, I felt like I would have easily won" the Heisman, he said. "That’s just how it happens. We got beat."
But he didn’t let that ruin his whirlwind weekend tour that included Thursday night’s appearance in Orlando, Fla., for the ESPN Home Depot College Football Awards Show. A finalist there for the Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award, Daniel lost that one to Tebow, too.
Feeling no need to prepare for a speech, Daniel soaked up the sights, sounds and tastes of the Big Apple this weekend. Visiting New York for the first time, he took a bus tour of the city on Friday, visited the Statue of Liberty and Rockefeller Center. Yesterday afternoon included a must-do on Daniel’s weekend wish list.
"Today we ate at an authentic New York deli," he said. "That’s something I wanted to do. I had some cheesecake that was unbelievable. If y’all haven’t had some, definitely go get some."
Tebow became the third Florida quarterback to claim the 25-pound statue, joining Steve Spurrier (1966) and Danny Wuerffel (1996)..
Florida’s first year-starter debunked the notion that a sophomore couldn’t win the award. He throws left-handed and runs like an overgrown fullback. He was born in the Philippines where he lived until he was 3, and rather than attend high school in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., Tebow was taught at home by his Christian missionary parents.
Florida Coach Urban Meyer has been no less conventional handling the 6-3 quarterback. Without a standout every-down back to run the ball, Meyer has turned to Tebow, whose 22 rushing touchdowns are three more than any SEC player has ever compiled in a single season. He’s eclipsed 75 rushing yards six times this year, including 120 and a whopping five touchdowns against South Carolina.
He’s gotten it done through the air, too. Tebow’s quarterback efficiency rating (178.8) is higher than any former Heisman winner’s. That mark led the SEC, as did Tebow’s completion percentage (68.5) and total offense average (330.8).
"I am fortunate, fortunate for a lot of things," said Tebow, wearing a blue cast on his broken right hand, which he said he had the other finalists sign. "God truly blessed me and this just adds on. It’s an honor."
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