To: All Heisman Trophy voters
Fr: Brian McMahon, PhD; School of Psychology; Georgia Institute of Technology
For Your Heisman Consideration: No. 11 Georgia Tech QB Josh Nesbitt
The Heisman Memorial Trophy is awarded to "an individual who deserves designation as the most outstanding college football player in the United States" (www.heisman.com,; 2009), and this is a call for Georgia Tech junior quarterback Josh Nesbitt to be fully considered for this prestigious award. This proposal deviates from the Best Player from the Best Team (BPBT) model that involves awarding the trophy to a player from one of the teams competing in the BCS National Championship Game or its predecessor (e.g., Sam Bradford, Tim Tebow, Troy Smith, Reggie Bush, Matt Leinart, Jason White, Eric Crouch, Chris Weinke et al.). The BPBT model is not without merit, of course, and indeed it is certain that the best teams in the nation feature very good players. However, and also paradoxically, the best teams in the nation likely are so good because they have so many very good (i.e., outstanding) players. Nesbitt, on the other hand, while certainly surrounded by many very good players, leads a Yellow Jacket team (No. 11, AP) that likely does not possess the depth and breadth of talent that does, say, Florida, Texas, or USC (www.rivals.com,; 2 007; www.scout.com,; 2007). It is suggested here that Nesbitt's relative importance to a surging Yellow Jackets (7-1, 5-1) team coming off wins against Virginia and then-No. 4 Virginia Tech - and whose only loss was at then No. 20 Miami - makes him the most outstanding player in college football and worthy of the Heisman Memorial Trophy.
In an effort to place Nesbitt and his performance over two thirds of the season in the appropriate context, it is necessary to understand the player, what he has done, and the importance of his accomplishments to his team. This step is undertaken with the aim of demonstrating that Nesbitt's season to date is superior to any player from a larger-market or higher-profile team afforded more media coverage than Georgia Tech (e.g., Florida, Texas, and USC). First, Nesbitt is an elite athlete who was ranked the 10th-best quarterback prospect of 2007 and received scholarship offers from, among others, Auburn, Florida, and Georgia (www.rivals.com,; 2007; www.scout.com,; 2007). Thus, while he is quarterback at Georgia Tech, a university with four national championships in football (the most recent being 1990), Nesbitt likely could have achieved greatness at schools with higher national profiles. Second, Nesbitt has been the most important player on an 11th-ranked (AP) Yellow Jackets team that has played the nation's 15th-toughest schedule to date (www.cbssportsline.com,; 2009), rushing for 88.4 yards per game (4.1 yards per carry) and 11 TDs on the nation's leading rushing team (292 ypg).
Additionally, Nesbitt has thrown for 979 yards and 4 TDs and has a quarterback passing rating of 149.4 that with more attempts would place him among the nation's most efficient passers (e.g., preseason Heisman favorite Colt McCoy of Texas has a rating of 143.3). Perhaps more important than his own statistics is Nesbitt's role as primary facilitator of Tech's triple-option offense in which the q uarterback must make a series of almost instantaneous decisions on each play. Should the ball be handed off to the fullback, pitched to the halfback, or kept by the quarterback? In wins against Virginia, Virginia Tech, Florida State, Mississippi State, North Carolina, Clemson, and Jacksonville State, Nesbitt has made the correct decisions that have enabled his team's success, while also leading the Yellow Jackets to the seventh-best third-down-conversion rate (48%) in the nation. This last statistic is notably critical because offenses that convert third downs build and maintain momentum while keeping tiring opponent defenses on the field. Finally, Nesbitt's contributions and Tech's offensive success must be considered in relation to a Yellow Jacket defense that surrenders nearly as many yards (355) as the offense gains (421) each game. By comparison, Florida's offense gains nearly twice the number of yards (457) than its defense allows (230) per game; Texas amasses 438 yards per game while surrendering 236; and USC gains 440 and allows 292. This suggests that Nesbitt and the Yellow Jacket offense - of which he accounts for 50% - have a slim margin for error that has been navigated successfully over Tech's seven wins.
To consider something is to think carefully about it (www.merriamwebsters.com,; 2009), and the individuals who vote for the Heisman Memorial Trophy are "informed, competent, and impartial" (www.heisman.com,; 2009). In the spirit of this these guiding principles and the great tradition that is the Heisman Memorial Trophy do we request that you vote Georgia Tech quarterback Josh Nesbitt for this illustrious honor. In addition to the evidence presented above and Georgia Tech's place atop the ACC Coastal standings, additional support for Nesbitt's candidacy abounds. For instance, against then-No. 4 Virginia Tech, Nesbitt's 39-yard, fourth-quarter TD run increased the Yellow Jackets' lead to double digits and e ssentially put away the Hokies. In Tech's thrilling 49-44 win at Florida State, Nesbitt accounted for 105 of Georgia Tech's 116 yards in the fourth quarter as the Yellow Jackets won for the first time at Doak Campbell Stadium. In that same game, Nesbitt demonstrated his character, will, and strength by wrestling away the ball from a Seminoles linebacker who had temporarily recovered a fumble by another Yellow Jacket; Nesbitt's effort allowed Georgia Tech to maintain possession and, eventually, he sealed the win with a 22-yard TD run. Finally, in a game in which Mississippi State was committed to slowing the Yellow Jackets' running game, Nesbitt was 11-for-14 for 266 passing yards and one TD as Tech defeated the Bulldogs in Starkville. Most striking about Nesbitt's passing in that game is that it came a week after he rushed 32 times in a win over then-No. 22 North Carolina. As opposed to the seemingly perpetual search for a Heisman candidate when none readily appears on the national landscape (e.g., recent discussion of an Alabama lineman who blocked two field goals against an unranked team; talk of a Notre Dame quarterback on a 5-2 team with the nation's 25th-toughest schedule), this proposal aims to present a candidate with credentials and intangibles superior to any player in the country. To be outstanding is to literally stand out, and Nesbitt does that from his peers because of both his tremendous statistical season and his relative importance to the No. 11 Yellow Jackets. This is a request for you formally recognize Josh Nesbitt as the nation's most outstanding college football player.
Note: Brian McMahon works in the Georgia Tech School of Psychology. McMahon and some of his fellow psychologists are hoping that voters for the Heisman Trophy will take a strong look at Josh Nesbitt.
plez sez: this is a plausible argument. as the person who is responsible for 75% of the offensive production on a single-loss team with a passing efficiency among the best in the country, i could see josh nesbitt at the new york athletic club hoisting the trophy that sports the name of past georgia tech head coach john heisman.
we had another plausible candidate a few years ago, joe hamilton came second in voting when he was up for the award. plezWorld would love to see the award sit in the athletic complex of the school where its namesake once coached. JOSH NESBITT for the HEISMAN TROPHY!!!
Read the Georgia Tech Official Sports Report article about Nesbitt for Heisman.
Read the BBuzzOff article about the argument for Josh Nesbitt.