The Top 3 Heisman Finalists Will All Be Back Next Year. This Should Be Fun.
Bradford joins the elite triumvirate of Heisman Trophy finalist QB's who will be back in school next year. Colt McCoy and Tim Tebow, who finished second and third in the Heisman voting, respectively, are also returning. McCoy led Texas to a win over Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl, and Tebow followed up a Heisman winning campaign in his sophomore year with a National Championship over Bradford's Sooners.
This will be the first time that the top 3 Heisman Trophy candidates will all be returning. There have been a few times where it was close, including 1949, 1968 and 1975.
In 1948, juniors Doak Walker and Charlie Justice finished first and second in Heisman voting, respectively. They both returned for their senior years, and Justice finished 2nd again, but this time behind Leon Hart. Walker finished third. The next closest player from the 1948 voting who returned was Emil Sitko, who finished seventh in '48 and eighth in '49.
In 1967, OJ Simpson finished second in Heisman voting, and LeRoy Keyes was third. They went on to finish #1 and #2 the next year, with Simpson leading the way again.
In 1974 and 1975, Archie Griffin won his 2 Heismans. Joe Washington finished third in '74, but dropped down to 5th in 1975.
Those are the closest that we've come to seeing the top 3 Heisman Trophy finalists returning for another year. That should give people something to look forward to, as these quarterbacks are arguably the best trio of college quarterbacks we've seen in decades.
This might have influenced Mark Sanchez' decision to turn pro. The USC QB was torn, according to teammate Taylor Mays, the USC safety who will spend one more year with the Trojans, despite being projected as a first rounder. With Bradford staying in school, it will likely boost Sanchez' draft status, as he will now likely be the 2nd QB taken in the draft, behind Matthew Stafford and ahead of Nate Davis, and others. Sanchez would likely have gone behind Bradford if the Sooners QB had declared, so he may have decided that it's time to take advantage of this year's dearth at the QB position, and strike while the iron is hot.
One thing that is safe to say is that next year should be an excellent one in college football!
Source: Bradford expected to return [ESPN]
Sources: USC QB Sanchez plans to enter NFL Draft [ESPN]