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White has earned right to be candidate along with nation's elite players

By Jenni Carlson Published: November 15, 2003
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This article originally appeared in the Sept. 13 edition of The Oklahoman.

NORMAN Jason White is a Heisman Trophy candidate.

Go ahead and laugh.

I did.

No disrespect to the Oklahoma quarterback, but the transformation from Humpty Dumpty to Heisman candidate seems so unlikely, so unbelievable that it is comical. But according to at least two watch lists, White would receive votes if the season ended today. In voting conducted by the Rocky Mountain News and ESPN.com, White finished in the 11th and 13th respectively.

He's in the bottom half of the lists, but he is on them.

A sampling of players he ranked ahead of: Brock Berlin, Eli Manning, Frank Gore and John Navarre.

Crazy?

Maybe not. White has quite a few things going for him.

His team. Playing for the top-ranked Sooners is bound to bring exposure. White has already played on national television once and could play six or eight more times on it. Articles will be written, and photos will be taken. Folks will know who Jason White is.

More important than exposure, though, is success. The last four Heisman winners played for teams that qualified for a BCS bowl.

His position. Quarterbacks often take too much blame, but they also receive lots of credit. If the Sooners win, chances are good White will get a good line of credit. The last three Heisman winners were quarterbacks.

His ability to throw deep. Who knew the kid had it in him? Billed as more of a scrambler, White has shown himself accurate on long throws. He threw six deep passes against Alabama and completed three, including touchdowns that went for 46 and 47 yards. Top-flight quarterbacks must be able to throw deep.

Makes for good highlights, too.

His offensive system. White plays in a system that minimizes mistakes. Offensive coordinator Chuck Long will take his chances the touchdown at Alabama right after the fake punt is a prime example but the Sooners don't take foolish chances. That should keep interceptions to a minimum.

The one White had against North Texas was on fourth down and was essentially like a punt.

His story. The local high school hero playing for his dream college finally got his chance and blew out his knee.

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