Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron, the undisputed leader of a team that is going for its third straight national championship, may make a claim for the Heisman Trophy if Alabama defeats LSU on Saturday night in what has become college football’s most anticipated showdown in recent years.
On Saturday, Alabama coach Nick Saban simply said McCarron was the most underrated player in college football.
“I think A.J.’s probably the most underrated player in college football. People talk about statistics all the time, and maybe his statistics are not what somebody else’s are. But really what you should equate things with are production, performance, efficiency, consistency and winning,” Saban said on ESPN’s College GameDay. “That’s really what it’s all about. He’s done that better than I think anybody in college football.”
McCarron may have had his Heisman moment in Alabama’s second game of the season when he calmly led Alabama back at College Station against reigning Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel after Texas A&M had stormed out to a 14-point lead.
Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota was knocked out of contention for the Heisman Trophy by a suffocating Stanford defense on Thursday night in the Cardinal’s win. He has since been diagnosed with a sprained knee. Florida State freshman quarterback Jameis Winston is most likely the Heisman front-runner, but may have hurt his knee in Saturday’s blowout win against Wake Forest. Should Florida State lose this season, McCarron may be in prime position to collect the hardware.
McCarron, like Tom Brady and Winston, is a good ambassador for the sport, and that may make voters even more receptive to vote for him.