Sunday, November 28, 2004

There's the Heisman and Then There's

The Good Man.

Everyone knows who the Heisman favorites are, and those players are all good players in their own right. I haven't watched enough college football to have a favorite, know that sometimes regional writers vote for their players because familiarity can bring some favoritism, and that unless there's a real consensus pick, anything can happen. I also don't think that this trophy has the luster that it once had. Maybe it's because there are so many games, so many awards and so many bowls, that I'm oversaturated with both good reporting and inaccurate hype about college football. Whatever the analysis, the player who wins the Heisman is an outstanding college football player.

I frequently look for a different story, one about a kid who has hung in there, who has beaten back adversity, and who rises to the occasion when the opportunity presents itself. And that's a rare story. Because there are enough kids of character who get hurt early in their career who stay at it, make good contributions, and are the types of people that all programs just love to have. All of those kids deserve publicity, and many get them at the local level.

But there's one kid this past season who deserves a good bit of recognition. To be fair, in the weekly reports about his team's play, this player gets his share of attention because he plays a skill position and because he plays it very well.

Alvin Pearman, Jr. is a senior RB at Virginia who went into the season as a back-up behind Wali Lundy, only to replace Lundy as the feature back after a few games. He had suffered a serious knee injury a few years ago, but he stayed at it, rehabbed, and, well, he's rushed for over 1000 yards this season and has 26 catches to boot. Do a Google search, and you'll see blurbs about how Alvin Pearman led the way with 100 plus yards and a few touchdowns.

You can't do much better than that. Especially if you didn't start the season as number one on the depth chart. Pearman's is a very nice story, and he gets my award as one of the good men in college football.

I don't know whether Mel Kiper, Jr. has him on any draft boards, but one would think that his fortitude and his numbers, taken together, will get him a long look in an NFL camp in the summer of 2005.

Dave Sez is one of blogdom's resident ACC experts, so I'd welcome his take on UVA's now-star running back. But from this vantage point, Pearman is one of the many players that Cavalier fans have had to crow about all season long.

But in my book, he gets a Good Man.


Jamie Jones said...

Just passing through, following the link from DaveSez.

Having watched all of AP's career (being in charlottesville the past 4 years) I have to say he is my favorite player.

2 years ago he played the last half of the season with a broken hand/wrist (and about a 6 inch cast). Carrying the ball with a full cast, and still holding onto it?

He has a workman like attitude, and you can count on him for getting another yard or 2 almost every time he makes contact.

He doesn't get the press that Lundy gets, he isn't flashy like Wali, or have the speed of some of our other backs, but he does the little things. He runs from the backfield. He rolls out for the screen or wheel. He even plays wide reciever, and lines up out wide for a good portion of plays.

I can't put my finger on it, maybe it is his hard running style. Maybe it is his no hype, no dance, just do your job and go about your business attitude. But whatever it is, Pearman will be truely missed.

Lee J. Cockrell said...

Alvin is an awesome player that the statistics can't fully explain. Not only is he a 1,000 yard rusher, he played wide receiver one game, returns punts, returns kicks, plays on the punt coverage team, played fullback against Florida State, etc., etc. He runs relentlessly, caught 16 passes against FSU last year, ran for a near school record 223 yards against Duke this year, went for 50 yards on a kickoff return the first time he touched the ball in college, caught a game winning lateral with seconds remaining against Georgia Tech in 2001. He was our best back in 2002 until he tore an ACL. He came back in 2003 and amazingly didn't lose a step.

On top of that he is no showboat, does anything the coaches ask, and took a back/side seat to true freshman Wali Lundy for 2.5 years without a single complaint.

A lot of Hoos hope he gets ACC Offensive POY or the Dudley award (Virginia state POY), but unfortunately it may be a stretch for either.