Cam Newton is the third player from Auburn to win the Heisman, after receiving 729 first-place votes and outpointing runner-up Andrew Luck of Stanford by 1,184 points.
NEW YORK — Cam Newton won the Heisman Trophy — as if there was any doubt.
Whether he gets to keep it is still to be determined.
Auburn’s hulking quarterback brushed off an NCAA investigation of his recruitment as he did so many tacklers this season and captured college football’s biggest individual award Saturday in a landslide vote.
The third player from Auburn to win the Heisman, Newton received 729 first-place votes and outpointed runner-up Andrew Luck of Stanford by 1,184 points.
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“Honestly, it’s a dream come true for me, something every child has a dream (about) that plays the sport of football, and I’m living testimony that anything is possible,” Newton said.
Oregon running back LaMichael James was third, followed by Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore of Prosser, the other finalist.
Newton didn’t look a bit surprised when his name was announced inside the Best Buy Theater in Times Square. A wide smile spread across his face and he dropped his head.
After exchanging handshakes with the other finalists, he and his mother, Jackie, shared a long embrace. His dad was not there.
When he reached the podium, he had to steady himself.
“Oh my God,” he whispered as he reached into his inside jacket pocket to pull out his speech.
On the field and off, Newton has been the story of the college football season. He’s carried the top-ranked Tigers to the BCS national championship game against No. 2 Oregon, running and passing over opponents who looked helpless trying to stop him. But his story is stained: Recently, the NCAA determined his father tried to peddle him to Mississippi State for $180,000.
Not even that ruling stopped Newton. The NCAA cleared him to play before the Southeastern Conference title game because it found no evidence that he or Auburn knew about Cecil Newton’s pay-for-play scheme. It also suggested that it was still investigating, as were the FBI and the Mississippi secretary of state’s office. Cam Newton has denied any wrongdoing.
Still, it invites speculation that the newest Heisman winner could perhaps be heading down the same path as Reggie Bush, who returned his trophy three months ago after the NCAA ruled that he and his family received cash and gifts while he was at USC.
Asked about the possibility during his news conference, Newton said: “Two letters for you, my friend — No.”
Cecil Newton did not attend the Heisman ceremony, saying he did not want to “rob Cam and the event of a sacred moment.”
Blending a linebacker’s body with a tailback’s speed and quickness, the 6-foot-6, 250-pound Newton led the SEC with 1,409 yards rushing and 21 touchdowns, and had 2,589 yards passing and 28 TDs. He’s the first SEC player to run for at least 1,000 yards and pass for at least 2,000 in the same season.
On the day Newton won the Heisman, he was left off the Football Writers Association of America’s All-America team. A panel of 12 FWAA members selected Boise State’s Moore for the team.