Advertising a Heisman Candidate

The Heisman Trophy is the most coveted award in all of college football. The trophy epitomizes a superb player, and is the paragon of on-field success. And with the undeniable prestige of the award comes undeniable publicity.

When, exactly, Andre Williams began to seriously emerge as a Heisman contender is somewhat nebulous. True Boston College fans might tell you it was at the beginning of the season. The rest of the sports world might say it was the last couple of weeks, with awe-inspiring performances against Virginia Tech, New Mexico State, North Carolina State and Maryland.

For the purpose of this article, let us agree that the weighty, cast bronze trophy that is the Heisman started to seem oh-so-attainable directly after Andre was ranked No. 2 in an ESPN Experts’ Poll, published on Nov. 25. And after this accolade became feasible for a college player, any rational college would rally around such an opportunity.

And Boston College students, faculty, alumni and supporters certainly did not disappoint.

Courtesy of Doug Flutie.

Photo Courtesy of Doug Flutie / Twitter.

Nearly every genre of media absolutely blew up. That actually might be an understatement. Thousands of people followed the page ‘Andre 44 Heisman’ on Facebook. On Twitter, the account @Andre44Heisman emerged and subsequently gained over 1,700 followers. So too, did #Andre44Heisman.

Facebook and Twitter are the tip of the iceberg. YouTube, ESPN, Sports Illustrated, College GameDay, an Andre Williams website and a profusion of sports-related websites made it apparent that Andre was not only a Heisman contender, but a legitimate one.

Among a frenzy of media attention, especially notable videos include "Andre Williams Runs Like He’s Got a Super Mario Invincibility Star" and a feature on College GameDay.

The creator of "Andre Williams Runs Like He’s Got a Super Mario Invincibility Star" took Williams’ highlights and dubbed in the Star Theme from Super Mario Bros (NES), among other sound effects. Though this video is clever and hysterical, it clearly displays the adroitness with which Andre Williams plays football.

Williams’ feature on College GameDay was utterly enthralling. Including several interviews with a player who seems far too modest and unassuming to be a Heisman candidate let alone a Divison I football player, this sub-five-minute video has the ability to make any football fan an Andre fan. Just watch the video—no description can do it justice.

BC alumni have also been enormous proponents for Andre Williams. The Twitter account @Andre44Heisman has displayed an array of photos of well-known alumni sporting #Andre44Heisman T-shirts. Matt Ryan, Anthony Castonzo, Chris O’Donnell and 1984 Heisman winner Doug Flutie are among many BC alumni who have shown support for Andre.

On Tuesday, Dec. 3, ESPN updated its Experts’ Poll. Andre dropped to No. 3 (24 votes) as compared to No. 2 Jordan Lynch (49 votes) and No. 1 Jameis Winston (80 votes). Is it likely that Andre will win the Heisman? Absolutely not. In fact, it would take a heck of a lot for Andre to still have a chance. But at times like these, it’s imperative for Boston College fans to step back and holistically assess the season.

After a 2012 season in which the Eagles went 2-10 overall and 1-7 within the ACC, doubt confined BC’s hopes. A deplorable season combined with the firing of head coach Frank Spaziani made for a 2013 season that seemed all but promising.

Yet as the 2013 season has unfurled, Andre has done the impossible. He has joined the 2000-yard club. He has hugely contributed in turning a lifeless 2-10 team into a zealous 7-4 team. And he has emerged—seemingly out of nowhere—as one of the best players and the leading rusher in the NCAA. In the words of Boston College head football coach Steve Addazio, his “stats are unbelievable, and that’s with 9-man fronts and 10-man fronts, and everybody in the stadium knows he’s going to run it, and he still runs it.”

Ultimately, Andre Williams’ success is only half of the story. True, Andre has appeared as one of the frontrunners for the Heisman trophy, all while being a devoted student and an exemplary person. But the fact that a medium-sized university in Chestnut Hill, Mass. has so proudly and indefatigably rallied around Andre Williams is something very, very special.

We may not be ranked, we may not win in a bowl game, and Andre may not win a Heisman. But for now, let’s enjoy the ride.

Follow @BCGavelSports on Twitter for the latest updates on Boston College athletics.

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