Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron is a realist.
During the college football awards media day on Wednesday, McCarron acknowledged that he thought Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston would probably win the Heisman, but noted that his career as a three-year starter and national champion should count for something as well.
“Of course it made me feel good,” McCarron said of getting the invite to the Heisman ceremony in New York. “I kind of smiled, proved a lot of people wrong. But I also feel like I earned it and I deserve it. I think if you look at the three years of me starting, I’d put my numbers up (against) anybody in the country. What, 13 interceptions my whole three years starting? I mean, a lot of guys throw that in one year. I feel like I’ve taken care of the ball, I’ve done all the right things on and off the field.
“So if the award goes by their mission statement, I feel like I fit it pretty well.”
Winston is the overwhelming favorite to win the award after leading the Seminoles to the BCS National Championship. The redshirt freshman has thrown for 3,820 yards, an ACC record 38 touchdowns and just 10 interceptions.
Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel, last year’s Heisman winner, Boston College running back Andre Williams, Auburn running back Tre Mason and Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch are the other Heisman invitees.
McCarron gained a little momentum after his team beat LSU and coach Nick Saban endorsed his quarterback during his on-field postgame press conference. And many thought McCarron could probably take the Trophy if Winston was charged after being investigated for sexual assault. However, a loss to Auburn – a loss that wasn’t McCarron's fault – derailed his Heisman chances.
Still, McCarron has no hard feelings. The fifth-year senior is happy with what he’s accomplished in his career, which includes three national championship rings and becoming the all-time passing leader in Alabama history.
“It doesn’t make me feel any way. I’m happy for those guys,” McCarron said of his competition. “Johnny’s one of my good friends. Jameis, I’d be happy for him, too. I don’t have any hatred against anybody, or against the Heisman committee or whoever votes on it. They’re going to vote how they’re going to vote.
“I’m happy, and like I said I go home at night and I can pull out my three national championship rings and smile pretty big and be pretty happy. I don’t need an individual award to tell me what I’ve achieved.”
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