- KC Joyner, NFL Insider
There is an old saying that the best gift is one that is shared -- and, in some ways, the Heisman Trophy is that type of gift. The prize itself obviously bestows a great deal of glory to its recipient. At the same time, sending four players to the ceremony also significantly raises the profiles of the three runners-up.
As beneficial as that part of the process is in sharing the praise of the college football world, the Heisman still has one significant weakness in that it does a terrible job of recognizing defensive player performance. In the entire history of the award, one non-skill position player has come away with the bronze statue: Charles Woodson in 1997.
A solution to this might be to establish a defensive Heisman award winner. This could serve either as a parallel to the overall Heisman winner or could be the first part of a two-part process. Part one would see voting for offensive players and part two for defensive players. Four players would be picked from each side of the ball and voted on to determine the overall Heisman winner.
If that were the process for this season, four of the strongest defensive candidates would be, in alphabetical order, Nebraska Cornhuskers cornerback Prince Amukamara, Clemson Tigers defensive end Da'Quan Bowers, Auburn Tigers defensive tackle Nick Fairley and LSU Tigers cornerback Patrick Peterson.
Who would win?
K.C. Joyner awards a hypothetical 'defensive Heisman' from among four candidates: Prince Amukamara, Da'Quan Bowers, Nick Fairley and Patrick Peterson. On the surface, it seems Bowers should win -- but Peterson's numbers are already at an elite level ... for NFL corners.