There really wasn’t much question going into Saturday’s Heisman Trophy ceremony that Cam Newton was going to win the hardware. The only question was whether Cecil Newton’s admission that he tried to get Mississippi State to pay for Cam Newton’s services would affect the quarterback's vote total. The NCAA has found nothing to link Cam Newton to the pay-for-play scheme.
And despite an impressive winning margin by Newton, it looks like he was brought down a little bit by the questions.
Newton won every region and garnered 93 percent of the first-place votes among those who put him on the ballot. But therein lies one of the catches, and the apparent fallout from the recruitment questions following Newton: 105 of the 886 ballots returned left the Auburn quarterback off entirely.
If those 105 ballots had put Cam Newton at the top of their lists at the same rate as the rest of the nation, according to ESPN, Newton would have been the second-highest vote-winner among all Heisman winners. Instead, he’s fourth, with 79 percent of possible first-place votes.
Another 40 ballots weren’t turned in, 18 more than didn’t get sent back to the trust last year.
Of course, it’s impossible to say how many of those voters left Newton off or didn’t turn in their ballots did so because of the recruitment stories, but it’s probably a fair assumption that the number is significant. You can also wonder whether the 93 percent number was pulled down a bit by the questions.