The 2015 Heisman Trophy finalists were announced on Monday, December 7, and while there may be few surprises in this year's crop of candidates, the athletes who earned an invitation this Saturday exemplify all that is right with sports. Alabama's Derrick Henry, Stanford's Christian McCaffery, and Clemson's Deshaun Watson have all made their cases on the field to earn college football's highest individual honor, but how do they stack up as men? Here's a wrap-up of what the media are saying about the 2015 Heisman Trophy finalists.
Running Back - University of Alabama
1,986 Yards Rushing | 23 Touchdowns
Head football coach Nick Saban in comments after the SEC Championship Game, a 29-15 win over the Florida Gators. "I don't know that I've coached many players that actually set a better example to affect other people. He doesn't really do it for himself. He does it for them."
Henry on setting the SEC single-single rushing record with 1,986 in 2015, surpassing legends Herschel Walker and Bo Jackson: "It's a blessing, and God is good," Henry said of the achievement. "I'm still going to give credit to my teammates and coaches because without them it wouldn't be possible. But they are like my heroes, my football heroes. Growing up and hearing their name and just watching what they did is incredible. For my name to be mentioned with theirs, it's an honor and a blessing."
Henry on being selected a Heisman finalist: "First, I want to thank God for blessing me with his opportunity. The Heisman Trophy has been a dream of mine since I was a little kid and the chance to go to New York as a finalist is amazing, but none of this would be possible without my coaches and teammates."
Running Back & Return Specialist - Stanford Cardinal
1,847 Rushing Yards - 3,496 All-Purpose Yards
Rod Sherman, McCaffery's high school coach at Valor Christian in Colorado. "His character's important. He has values and it proves he's not about stats, or wins or losses. It's about the journey."
Stanford head coach Davis Shaw on McCaffery following Standford's 41-22 win over USC in the PAC 12 Championship Game: "To my left here is the best player in the nation. I don't know if that's even a question. There's nobody in the nation doing what he's been doing. It's not even a debate."
McCaffery, son of Denver Bronco great Ed McCaffery, on learning "I thought maybe people that have relatives that played in the NFL would have an advantage, but you find out real quick, coaches get paid to win football games, and they don't care where you come from. It's their job to evaluate the best players. His dad isn't going to play for you."
Quarterback - Clemson Tigers
3,512 Passing Yards | 30 Touchdowns
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney comments after learning of Watson's selection as a Heisman finalist: "I am so happy for Deshaun Watson. This is recognition for a great performance on the field and for the hard work he has put in over the last year after suffering a torn ACL. Deshaun Watson is the epitome of what the Heisman Trophy is all about. He has been the leader of the only undefeated team in college football in every way."
Watson giving his thoughts on being named a Heisman Trophy candidate: "It has been a dream of mine to bring my mom to New York and be a Heisman finalist. We have never been to New York. I am honored to be the first Heisman finalist from Clemson. This is a team award as much as anything. Being undefeated and No. 1 ranked has everything to do with this. I want to give congratulations to the other finalists and I look forward to seeing them next weekend."
Watson on his success following ACL surgery in 2014: "When I came here and had the injuries, I really didn't know what was going on, but I kept faith in God, and I knew he was going to take me on the right path, and this time last year I was getting ready for ACL surgery, and now look at me."