Marlon Lucky, Heisman Candidate.
It has a nice ring to it, instead of me going on about it I thought I'd check in with the nation's leading authority on the Heisman to see where Marlon stands.
The nation's leading authority happens to be Chris Huston, more widely known as 'The Heisman Pundit'. Earlier, Huston listed Marlon at #7 among his top ten candidates for the Heisman. For more background on the trophy, Huston has published a list of Heismandents, or a list of qualifications that determine Heisman winners.
On to the interview!
What has to happen for Marlon Lucky to win the Heisman?
A lot. Basically, Nebraska has to win the Big 12 convincingly while losing MAXIMUM two games and he has to rush for at least 1,700 yards. The only way for him to win is if he is seen as the guy who helped bring Nebraska 'back' to glory. If he has a big year and Nebraska wins the big 12 and beats some good teams along the way, while getting back into the top 10, he can win the Heisman if no other player from a better team has a superior case to make (an important element as none of this takes place in a vacuum).
How much of a turn-around season do we need to get Lucky noticed?
If the Huskers go 10-2 and Lucky has an excellent season (1,700 yards or more), he could at least get to New York, but probably wouldn't win.
There are a lot of Nebraska fans who feel that Lucky hasn't lived up to his recruiting hype, one knock on Lucky being that he doesn't run between the tackles well, is not a dominating, physical runner. Does the school's fan support make much of a difference to Heisman voters?
Fan support doesn't really have anything to do with the Heisman. Winning and performance on the field takes care of everything.
Are Heisman campaigns done primarily by schools who have no Heisman winners, and do they help as much as those schools would like to believe?
Heisman campaigns of various degrees are done by most schools with serious candidates. Most at least have a web site, or conduct some sort of behind-the-scenes email campaign to media. Those who don't think Heisman campaigns help are probably the same people who don't believe political ads help political candidates. In other words, they absolutely help in that they aid in building name recognition and awareness. We can't quantify it exactly, but it helps.
Nebraska is probably reticent about doing any sort of honors campaign until it can prove to itself and the rest of CFB that it is 'back'. Otherwise, you can look a little silly touting a guy from at team that ends up underachieving.
Does Lucky have much of a presence in the media?
Not really. He's a known quantity, but not a name that is on the lips of a lot of writers. A few early-season big games can quickly change that. It helps that the Big 12 is resurgent again and there are more key games to highlight a player. I think one thing that will help Lucky is his NFL potential. That will become more apparent as the season progresses.
What realistic chance does Marlon Lucky have of winning the Heisman in 2008?
I would rate his chances as miniscule, mostly due to the cloudy outlook for his team. Nebraska is in rebuilding mode and he might be gone before they are a real power again. I'd put his chances at about 3 percent.
Thanks for the insight and the time, HP!