The Heisman trophy is the highest individual athletic honor in college football, but Baylor nation celebrates as a group tonight as junior quarterback Robert Griffin III just won the school’s first in history.
Griffin received 1,687 points, beating out Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck (1407), Alabama running back Trent Richardson, Wisconsin running back Montee Ball and LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu.
Griffin joins a group, known as the “Heisman fraternity,” that includes some of the greatest names in football history, including Roger Staubach, Barry Sanders, Earl Campbell and other historic football players.
Griffin first gained national Heisman attention after Baylor’s opening game of the season, when the Bears defeated then-No. 14 TCU . . .
It was the worst of times, it was the worst of times.
But that was then.
Students and fans can celebrate the best of times with junior quarterback Robert Griffin III’s Heisman victory and the overall success of Baylor football today. Alumni, moreover, can look back at how Baylor football performed during their years and be even more thankful.
“This is just unbelievable,” said Russell Trippet, class of 1977. “This is the proudest I’ve ever been of Baylor. Can’t imagine it getting better than this. It’s worth all the down times.”
Trippet said he grew up in Waco and started going to Baylor games when he was 5 years old, more than 50 years ago. His father was a team doctor, and Trippet would sit on the sidelines. He was in New York when the Heisman winner was announced.
“I just went crazy,” he said. “We were at the Baylor network dinner. Everybody went nuts. There were 100 alumni in the room.”
Trippet was not the only Bear outside Texas with a celebration story. Whitney Wilson, a political science major from the class of 2000, lives in Denver, Colo., and said she was at a neighborhood grill when the announcement was made.
In an email to the Lariat, Wilson said everyone in the place was rooting for Griffin. Many people teared up during his acceptance speech . . .
Faith: something that holds the promise of a better tomorrow. Something shown by Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III and the reality of the tomorrow promised by head coach Art Briles when he came to Baylor in 2008.
In its first 12 seasons in the Big 12 conference, Baylor won a total of 11 conference games.
The year before Griffin came to Baylor, 2007, the Bears were 3-9 with no conference wins.
In 2011, the Bears are 9-3 with six conference wins.
For the freshmen, a 9-3 football team is all that they know.
“It’s just a really exciting experience to be here and be a part of it,” Scottsdale, Ariz., freshman Caelen Demos said. “Our class has never seen failure from Baylor. We just saw RG3 win a Heisman, and that’s all we know coming in.”
For the sophomores, their first season in the . . .
Ten moments that helped shape Robert Griffin III’s career, plus images to remember from Baylor’s historic 2011 season
May 17, 2008
Griffin wins the Big 12 400-meter hurdle race at the conference meet after graduating Copperas Cove one semester early.
Aug. 28, 2008
In the Bears’ season opener against No. 23 Wake Forest, coach Art Briles replaces starting quarterback Kirby Freeman with Griffin. Griffin breaks a 22-yard run, during which he fakes out a defender and dodges the tackle, and makes national highlights despite the Bears losing 41-13.
Nov. 15, 2008
Fans receive a breath of fresh air when Griffin helps Baylor rout Texas A&M 41-21 to snap the Bears’ four-game losing streak and keep the team from finishing the Big 12 in last place . . .