Commentary

The Dan Persa argument

Is he a legit Heisman contender? No. But he might be the Big Ten's best QB in 2011.

Originally Published: August 23, 2011
By KC Joyner | ESPN Insider
Dan PersaJerry Lai/US PresswireDan Persa doesn't get too much hype, but coaches named him the Big Ten's best QB last season.

At first glance, the PersaStrong campaign being spearheaded by the Northwestern Wildcats athletic department looks to be a bit over the top with the website, Twitter feed, billboards and dumbbells pitching quarterback Dan Persa as a leading Heisman Trophy contender.

This type of ploy can easily be seen as marketing gone wild, especially because the odds of Persa beating out a very strong group of Heisman contenders would be long under perfect conditions. Those chances look to be even slimmer given that Persa is only 10 months into what is normally a minimum 12-month recovery period for a ruptured Achilles tendon injury.

That said, the PersaStrong people may be on to something with the idea that Persa deserves a lot more attention than he is getting. After all, he was named the 2010 All-Big Ten first-team quarterback by the conference coaches, yet he still isn't half as well-known as two of the quarterbacks he beat out for that honor (the Michigan Wolverines' Denard Robinson and the Ohio State Buckeyes' Terrelle Pryor).

Persa's injury may cause some to think that defending the title of being the league's top quarterback in 2011 will be out of his reach, but a closer look at some of Persa's game tapes and metrics illustrates why he has a good chance of beating out his competition again.