Another exciting Heisman race is coming to a close as voters from around the country have settled on the finalists for the 2014 edition of college football's most prestigious award.
The three finalists will be invited to New York City for the Heisman Trophy announcement on December 13, which will broadcast live on ESPN at 8:00 PM EST, presented by Nissan North America.
Amari Cooper would be the first wide receiver to win the award since Desmond Howard in 1991. The junior from Miami set the SEC single-season record with 113 catches this fall, 14 of them for touchdowns. That reception total, along with his 1,656 receiving yards, led the nation. The 6-1, 210-pound Cooper owns every major Alabama receiving record, including career receptions (218), season receptions (115), catches in one game (13), career receiving yards (3,391) and career touchdowns catches (29). He would be the second Heisman Trophy winner from Alabama (and second in six seasons) and the second coached by Nick Saban.
Melvin Gordon would be the third Wisconsin Badger to win the Heisman. The junior running back from Kenosha, Wisc., set a Big Ten record with a nation-leading 2,336 rushing yards. He also scored 29 touchdowns and averaged 7.56 yards per carry. He is the 17th player in FBS history to surpass the 2,000-yard rushing barrier and he did it faster than anyone previously, eclipsing the mark on his 241st carry of the season. His 408 rushing yards against Nebraska in mid-November broke the single-game rushing mark of 406 set by TCU's LaDainan Tomlinson in 1999 (Gordon's mark has since been broken). The 6-1, 213-pounder has 4,664 career yards, fourth on the all-time Wisconsin list.
Marcus Mariota would be the first Oregon Duck and first player born in Hawaii to win the Heisman Trophy. The junior quarterback from Honolulu passed for 3,773 yards and 38 touchdowns this season while throwing just two interceptions. He led the nation in passing efficiency with a mark of 186.10 and also rushed for 669 yards and 14 scores (with one touchdown reception). His 4,442 yards of total offense and 53 total touchdowns also topped the FBS rankings. For his career, Mariota has 10,115 passing yards with 101 touchdown passes and 12 interceptions. His 12,251 yards of total offense is a school record.
The Heisman Memorial Trophy electorate, which determines the finalists and the winner, is comprised of 928 sports journalists and every living former Heisman winner. The public at large is granted one overall fan vote, thanks to Heisman's Premier Partner, Nissan North America. The electorate is tasked with selecting the outstanding college football player in the United States.
"We're pleased to welcome these three outstanding juniors to New York for the Heisman ceremony," said Rob Whalen, Executive Director of the Heisman Trophy Trust. "We look forward to celebrating their record-breaking seasons and naming one of them the winner of the 2014 Heisman Memorial Trophy."
Tickets are still available for the 80th Annual Heisman Memorial Trophy Dinner on Monday, December 15 at the New York Marriott Marquis in Times Square. The winner will be presented with his award at this event, where three former Heisman winners will also be recognized: John Huarte (Notre Dame, 1964) on the 50th Anniversary of his award, Andre Ware (Houston, 1989) on the 25th Anniversary of his award, and Matt Leinart (USC, 2004) on the 10th Anniversary of his award. The Trust will also recognize legendary baseball player and manager Joe Torre as the 2014 Heisman Humanitarian Award winner for his work helping and supporting victims of domestic violence and their families.
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