Texas Tech's Graham Harrell misses out on Heisman nod
07:59 AM CST on Thursday, December 11, 2008
By KATE HAIROPOULOS / The Dallas Morning News email@example.com
ORLANDO, Fla. – Texas quarterback Colt McCoy and Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford will represent the Big 12 as Heisman Trophy finalists at Saturday night's announcement in New York, along with Tim Tebow, the Florida quarterback and 2007 Heisman winner.
Nobody needed tarot cards to see that coming.
But Wednesday's announcement surprised some because it didn't include Texas Tech senior quarterback Graham Harrell of Ennis.
Harrell passed for more yards than any of the finalists and led the Red Raiders to an 11-1 season.
Harrell is in Orlando for tonight's The Home Depot/ESPNU College Football Awards and learned the news after meeting with reporters and a hallway chit-chat with McCoy, standing a few feet from Tebow.
"We had a special season," said Harrell, the surgically repaired fingers on his left (non-throwing) hand taped together. "That's what we focused on. ... We won as many games as anyone. ... If we don't get picked, that's the way it goes."
Harrell's coach, Mike Leach, didn't react as calmly.
"If Graham is not invited to the Heisman, they ought to quit giving out the award," he said in a statement. "It is a shameless example of politics ruling over performance."
Harrell said he hoped Tech's progress this season would help Red Raiders earn honors in the future.
"Programs' reputations have a lot to do with that," he said. "Texas Tech has never been a big-name program. Hopefully this year, winning as many big games as we have, Texas Tech can build on that."
The Heisman doesn't use hard science to determine how many invitations it extends to New York. It has invited as few as three and as many as six.
This is the first season since 2001 that all the Heisman finalists are quarterbacks. Bradford and Tebow will meet for the BCS championship Jan. 8 in Miami.
McCoy said if he wins the Heisman, his teammates plan on celebrating the honor. The junior said if he had a vote – as Tebow does as a former Heisman winner – he would vote for Tebow because he admires his leadership style.
Bradford, wearing a large, OU crimson cast on his left hand after surgery Sunday to repair a thumb ligament, took it all in stride.
"I'm going to have as much fun as I can on this trip," the sophomore said. "There's nothing I can do now that's going to change the way it comes out."
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