He's been a strong hardware contender since midseason and a sure thing for weeks now, and tonight in Times Square the world learned what the rest of us already knew: Cam "Cameron" Newton is the most outstanding player in Division I-A college football, and as such has been awarded the 2010 Heisman Trophy.
The path has not been easy, on or off the field. Questions of Newton's eligibility and amateur status have dogged him for weeks now. The Auburn Tigers have battled through an unusually deep SEC West. But an undefeated regular season, an SEC Championship, and a handful of broken records speak for themselves, to say nothing of the Walter Camp, Maxwell, and Davey O'Brien Awards.
The character may be questionable, depending on how strictly you read the Heisman Trophy Trust's mission statement, but the numbers are unassailable:
• 2,589 passing yards (10.5 yards per attempt), 28 touchdowns, six interceptions
• 1,409 rushing yards (5.8 yards per carry), 20 touchdowns
• 199.2 passing yards per game, 108.4 rushing yards per game, 3.77 touchdowns accounted for per game
• 3,998 yards of total offense, 307.5 yards of total offense per game, 61.8% of team's total offense
• 8.2 yards per play
• Best game: 17-for-28 for 335 passing yards and four touchdowns, 14 carries for 73 yards and two touchdowns in SEC Championship Game against South Carolina
• 13-0 team record, SEC Championship, BCS National Championship Game berth
In the final Heisman Trophy voting, Newton beat out Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore, Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, and one candidate he'll be facing in the BCS title game: wee running back LaMichael James of Oregon. Newton succeeds fellow Iron Bowl combatant Mark Ingram as a Heisman Trophy winner, and is the third Auburn players so honored, following Pat Sullivan and Bo Jackson.