Cam Newton entered an exclusive fraternity last Saturday when he won the Heisman Trophy. Only 76 college football players have won the famed trophy, and three of them are from Auburn.
Phillip Marshall, Senior Editor, AuburnUndercover.com
It’s been my good fortune to cover all three – Newton, Bo Jackson in 1985 and Pat Sullivan in 1971. Here’s a look at each of them:
Newton, for one season, is the best college football player I’ve seen and, I believe, the best to play the game.
At 6-foot-6 and 250 pounds, he has the speed of a wide receiver, the power of a fullback, the elusiveness of a scatback and a powerful right arm. If he’d been allowed to run in games against Louisiana-Monroe, he might have broken Auburn’s single-season rushing record.
Newton’s leadership is almost as important as what he does on the field. His teammates believe in him without reservation, and with good reason. He has directed comebacks from deficits of 24, 17, 14 and 13 points in leading the Tigers to the national championship game.
Jackson remains the most remarkable all-around athlete I’ve covered. He did things in football and baseball that left your shaking your head. Newton has more impact because, as a quarterback, he touches the ball on every play.
Jackson had the speed of an Olympic sprinter, and he weighed 230 pounds. He could jump like he was on a trampoline. He was a devastating blocker in Auburn’s wishbone offense.
Only as a senior in 1985 was Jackson an I-formation tailback. Had he run from the I-formation for his entire career, he’d have rewritten the rushing record book at Auburn, in the SEC and maybe in the nation.
Sullivan remains the best leader I’ve covered. It’s an overused cliché, but he really was a coach on the field. He called his own plays, and he was consistently at his best when it mattered most.
At 6 feet tall, Sullivan’s was not all that imposing physically. But he was a dynamic passer. What might not be remembered by many is that he was a terrific all-around athlete. He was dangerous runner when called on. He could have played professional baseball.
The game was very different then. The rules of the game didn’t favor passing like they do now. Offensive linemen, for instance, could not use their hands in pass blocking. If offenses had been as sophisticated and wide-open then as they are now, Sullivan might have won it twice.