Vick to be first freshman to attend Heisman ceremony
Posted: Tuesday December 07, 1999 01:29 AM
Even Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer is surprised that freshman QB Michael Vick is among the Heisman finalists. Doug Pensinger/Allsport
ROANOKE, Va. (AP) -- Virginia Tech quarterback Michael Vick has a
date in New York Saturday as the first freshman invited to the
Heisman Trophy show.
And Thomas Jones, a Virginia senior who rewrote the Atlantic
Coast Conference single-season rushing record and was expected to
be on hand at Manhattan's Downtown Athletic Club, will stay home.
Vick led the Hokies to an 11-0 record, a No. 2 national ranking
and a berth in the Sugar Bowl to play Florida State for the
national title on Jan. 4.
In his first season, he was the nation's top-rated quarterback,
completing 90 of 152 passes for 1,840 yards and 12 touchdowns. He
ran for 585 yard and eight more touchdowns.
"This whole season has been great, but I never thought this
would happen," Vick said. He is the first freshman to be invited
to the Heisman ceremony since it started being televised in 1981.
"I'm just going to enjoy this moment. I've got a couple of
exams this week that I have to prepare for and I don't know how I'm
going to handle that. But I'm definitely going to enjoy the
moment," he said.
Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer said he was shocked that his
star -- a redshirt a year ago -- had achieved such esteem so fast.
"No one had him on the list when season started," he said. "What he did on the field this season and the fashion that he did
it in, really caught the attention of everybody."
Other Heisman finalists who will join Vick in New York are
Wisconsin running back Ron Dayne and quarterbacks Joe Hamilton of
Georgia Tech, Drew Brees of Purdue and Chad Pennington of Marshall.
The finalists were invited Monday based on the returns from the
921 Heisman voters.
Jones rushed for 1,798 of Virginia's 2,106 yards to break a
29-year-old ACC single-season rushing mark. He also was an
unanimous selection to The Associated Press all-Atlantic Coast
Conference football team for 1999.
"The most important thing to me all along has been the success
of our team and I'm happy I'll have one more game with my teammates
against Illinois on Dec. 30," Jones said in a statement released
by the university.
"Michael Vick had a great season and the Heisman should be
based on what a player has done in one particular season and not
career achievement," said Michael Colley, a spokesman for the
Cavaliers. "Unfortunately some people are going to be left out,
and in this case it was our guy."
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