Heisman talk

I’m sure many of you by now know that Cal’s athletic department has launched a web site to promote wide receiver/kick returner DeSean Jackson for the Heisman Trophy. History says Jackson will need all the promoting he can get.

In the history of the award, only two wide receivers have ever won — Tim Brown in 1987 and Desmond Howard in 1991. Of course, the one thing Jackson has going for him is his explosiveness as a kick returner, something that helped Howard win the award (of course, this also raises one of the compelling questions going into the season — why in the world would anyone ever kick to Jackson?)

Jackson may be the most exciting player in college football this season, but that may not be enough to get him the Heisman. The funny thing is quarterback Nate Longshore may be the more practical candidate. Quarterbacks have won the Heisman 26 times, including six out of the last seven seasons. Longshore figures to put up some gawdy numbers this season. He also figures to be overshadowed by USC quarterback John David Booty.

The link to the Jackson website: http://www.the1towatch.com

Jonathan Okanes

Jonathan Okanes is in his fourth year covering Cal's football team. Previously, he covered Cal's men's basketball team for four years. He can also be followed on Twitter at twitter.com/OkanesonCal.

  • ca\

    please give us some info on who is on campus. Are all freshman there? How about the rest of the team? We don’t have any Dennis Dixon’s on our team do we? What is the team up to? Are they working out individually or as a group/passing league?
    We need some info baby!

  • paul

    Regarding Dennis Dixon, are you crazy? Maybe he has more “upside” because of athletic ability, but I’d take Longshore & his performance last year over Dixon any day. Having to replace Marshawn, Hughes & Bishop are bigger needs than having a Dennis Dixon!

    JO, your question about kicking to Desean, will he get any shots at kick-offs with the tee being moved back to the 30?


  • LaughingBear

    For those that geek-out on EA NCAA Football, here is how the top 10 receivers rank, note “Cal #1” overall ability is a 97 out of 100. Basically, they made jackson a complete stud in the simulation.

    The chart highlights the top 10 wide receivers in NCAA Football 08.

    Rank- School: Number -> OVR
    1- Cal: 1 -> 97
    2- Vanderbilt: 10 -> 95
    3- Michigan: 86 -> 94
    4- Texas: 4 -> 93
    5- Rice: 81 -> 93
    6- Purdue: 9 -> 93
    7- Hawaii: 7 -> 93
    8- Oregon State: 19 -> 92
    9- LSU: 9 -> 92
    10- Arkansas: 85 -> 92

  • calbear03

    Paul, what ca\ actually meant is someone who’s thinking about playing other sports professionally. Dennis Dixon is playing summer minor league baseball and it’s a pretty good chance that he’d quit football.

  • build-a-bear

    I love EA Sports NCAA games. Thanks laughingbear!

  • ThePlay

    I know it’s a long way back, but you forgot about Johnny Rodgers, Nebraska, in 1972. The Heisman site has him listed as a RB, but he was a Wing Back or Slot Receiver. Charles Woodson was a CB/WR too in 1997. The common denominator is they all excelled at returning kicks and punts. If Jackson can return several punts for TDs and Cal can beat Tennessee, USC or both, he’s got a shot.

  • paul

    my bad.

  • Jonathan Okanes

    Many of the freshman are on campus because usually they go through the “summer bridge” program, where they take classes before their freshman year begins to get them acclimated to college life. Most of the players who are around are simply doing conditioning/weightlifting, although occassional pickup 7-on-7 pickup games are taking place.
    As far as Jackson returning kicks, I haven’t heard about that possibility but I wouldn’t bet on it. One intriguing possibility is to use incoming freshman Jahvid Best in that role to allow him to utilize his blazing speed. But the Bears have several other qualified athletes to use at that position.
    And good points, ThePlay. Really, Brown was the only one who was a pure wide receiver. Howard likely wouldn’t have won if he hadn’t doubled as a return man.

  • paul

    It surprised me how many opportunities Desmond Howard got to return punts. He seemed like he was on the verge of returning each kick for a TD.

    Why not put DeSean back for KO’s? Is there a greater injury risk? Otherwise, I believe it would totally alter the other team’s kicking strategy. It would almost seem worth it just to get the other team to squib kick it or kick out of bounds. If the other team can still kick it into the end zone, there’s no return anyway.


  • LaughingBear

    It would be freakin’ amazing to see Jackson on kick-offs this year, but he is a relatively light at 166lbs to risk running full speed into the return wedge.

    It’s just not worth the risk of putting him on kick returns — especially with the number of speedsters on the roster.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m a 100% beleiver that Jackson is one of the best players in the country, I’d just prefer he show it with a Cal Pac10 (or national?) title than a heisman. both would be ok as well.


  • DaBears

    Let’s not forget that Teddy Ginn returned KO’s last year and he’s 170 at best. He did get hurt on a KO, but it was during a celebration after returning one to the house.

    It cannot be underestimated how much impact it makes when a team can start from the 35-40 instead of the 20-25. I’m hoping Tedford puts DJAX back there instead of some freshman who may be susceptible to fumbles.