Howard Herman: Navy's Keenan Reynolds should have won Heisman Trophy


The college football regular season ended Saturday when Army played Navy and the Heisman Trophy was awarded.

There are a few things we know about the Heisman. One, it's not an award for the best player in college football, and two, the player who should win it won't be there.

If you just look back to 1990, 17 Heismans have gone to quarterbacks, six to running backs and one to a wide receiver. The outlier came in 1997, when Michigan defensive back Charles Woodson was awarded the Heisman. But I suspect part of his receiving the award came from his success as a kick returner.

To this date, Woodson is the only full time defensive player to win the Heisman. The late Ernie Davis of Syracuse won the Heisman in 1961, and he was listed as a halfback-fullback-linebacker. Otherwise, the Heisman is about the best quarterback or running back.

Which leads me to the fact that Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds should have been invited to Saturday night's Heisman ceremony. Heck, Reynolds should have won the Heisman.

Think of the opticals if Reynolds, in his Navy dress blues, was in the front row along with the other finalists. Think of what it would mean to the sport were he to have won the trophy.

When we think of college football at the Division I level, we think of coaches breaking contracts, players getting arrested for drunken brawls or worse, and schools cheating to get more wins. The vast majority of Division I coaches and players are above board and do their jobs in the classroom and on the field, but it is those exceptions that get all of our attention.

If any schools do it the right way on and off the field, it's our three service academies.

That's why Keenan Reynolds should have been in New York.

He deserves the Heisman because the trophy is for the best college football player. Not the best college football player who has a chance to become a star in the NFL.

Keenan Reynolds is only 5-foot-10 and runs that triple option that makes Navy so tough. But he has accounted for 187 total yards per game for the Navy team that was 9-2 going into Saturday's game with Army. The Middies were 21st in the Associated Press poll, 22nd in the coaches poll, and 21st in the final FBS playoff rankings.

Without Keenan Reynolds, Navy wouldn't be where it is at this year, and his numbers made him as worthy a candidate for the Heisman as anyone.


If you are a high school football player or the parent of a high school football player, you should have a poster of Temple linebacker Tyler Matakevich on your wall.

It's not because he and I share an alma mater, although that's not a bad reason. It is because he is what you want, or you want your young athlete to be.

Matakevich won the Chuck Bednarik award this past week that is given to the best defensive player in college football. Matakevich was the longest of long shots to win this award.

This is a football player who had a grand total of one, count 'em, one Division I-FBS offer coming out of high school in Connecticut.

To win the award ahead of all the four-star and five-star recruits that went to places like Alabama, Notre Dame or Ohio State, is proof positive that all you need is a chance.

I can't imagine that Matakevich ever dreamt of being the best defensive player in college football. But it shows what hard work, desire and good coaching can get you.

In fact, I'd say that if you want two posters on your wall, you could do far worse than both Keenan Reynolds and Tyler Matakevich.

Contact Howard Herman at 413-496-6253.


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