STILLWATER — Of the 73 Heisman Trophy winners, 68 of them played either running back or quarterback. So it’s fair to say that when the Heisman ballots go out, the odds are stacked against receivers.
But these days, when many teams run five-receiver sets more often than two-running back formations, maybe it’s time for the pass-catchers to get a little more love in the Heisman race. If there’s a receiver worthy of contending for college football’s most prestigious individual honor, it’s likely he’ll be in Lubbock, Texas, this weekend. Texas Tech’s Michael Crabtree and Oklahoma State’s Dez Bryant continue to define themselves as the most dangerous players on their respective teams. They will get a chance to try to outshine the other in a national setting when OSU and Tech meet Saturday night. But even reaching the Heisman’s top four still isn’t easy for a receiver. "The receiver-as-Heisman candidate is a tough one because the guy throwing him the ball obviously has some good numbers,” said the Kansas City Star’s Blair Kerkhoff, who voted Pitt receiver Larry Fitzgerald second in the 2003 Heisman race. "But I do think it’s possible for a receiver to be a serious Heisman candidate.” While Bryant might be at the forefront of any OSU-related Heisman discussions, Red Raider quarterback Graham Harrell is getting more attention than Crabtree. "I think it’s easier for a receiver to win in today’s world of offenses,” said Tom Shatel of the Omaha World-Herald, who voted for Notre Dame’s Tim Brown No. 1 in 1987. "The problem for Dez and Michael is their own division has the top three Heisman candidates right now — all quarterbacks.” Brown and Michigan’s Desmond Howard are the only true wide receivers to win the trophy, and both were return specialists as well.