Louisville safety Gerod Holliman is having a pretty damn good year. Evidenced by his nation leading 13 interceptions, a new school record, and is currently more than, I can’t even believe this, 111 FBS teams. He is one interception shy of tying Al Worley’s record setting 14 picks back in 1968 (10 game season). Holliman is also the first player since 1991 to have more than 12 interceptions in a season. The last player to do so was Louisville DB’s coach Terrell Buckley.
There’s been a lot of Twitter discussion promoting Holliman’s case for Heisman trophy consideration. The hot handed safety was trending on Twitter nationwide after last nights hat trick performance against Boston College. But that wasn’t even Holliman’s best outing, according to the Courier Journal’s Adam Himmelsbach
Holliman has recorded at least one interception in every game this season except one, and has recorded multiple interceptions in four games this season. He has returned one for a touchdown.
In regards to those hopeful of Holliman getting legitimate Heisman consideration, it likely isn’t going to happen.
Let’s face it, the award is no longer given to the “most outstanding college football player.” Instead, it goes to the best quarterback or running back on the best team. It’s a love fest trap that has awarded some undeserving of college footballs highest award.
The only defensive player to ever win the award was Michigan cornerback Charles Woodson. He only had 8 interceptions during his Heisman campaign, however, his contributions on offense (Holliman doesn’t do), and punt returns (Holliman doesn’t do) were deciding factors along with his impact on defense.
Other defenders have been considered, namely Manti T’eo, who finished second to Johnny Manziel, Tyran Mathieu, and Ndomukong Suh. Al Worley, the record holder for interceptions in a season was not a Heisman candidate in 1968.
The real argument still remains, is Holliman the best player in college football? Is he even the best player on his own team? I’d love to see him and DeVante Parker square off in practice. Also worth noting, is if Louisville’s overall record will hurt Holliman’s chances. Not that the Cards are having a bad season, but being out of playoff contention could factor negatively against him. Voters have heavily favored those playing for national championships.
If Holliman does tie/break the record, that could generate the kind of PR buzz to at least make him a deserving finalist. Not that he isn’t already. Only 3 players in the last decade have recorded double digit interceptions in a single season.
With 2 games remaining, Holliman’s best chance will likely be Louisville’s next opponent on November 22nd, Notre Dame. Quarterback Everett Golson has thrown 11 picks in his last 6 games, including 4 against Arizona State on Saturday. His final opportunity will come against in-state rival, Kentucky, led by a young, gunslinging Patrick Towles. Unlike Golson, Towles has been much more careful when throwing the football, with only 6 interceptions. He only has one multi-interception game to date, a forgetful evening in Gainesville, throwing to the Gators defenders 3 times.
This has been a life changing season for the 6-2, 213 pound redshirt-sophomore safety from Miami. His Twitter profile reads, “Tryna be a first round draft pick (Why Not Me).”. And why not Gerod, indeed. Louisville put the first safety in the draft last year with Calvin a Pryor, and could do so again in 2015. According to Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller, Holliman has played himself into first round consideration.
There’s no certainty in predicting what a college player will ultimately decide to do, but it’s hard to imagine Holliman’s stock getting much higher. I’d be hard pressed to figure he returns for another season at Louisville.
Whether or not Holliman is the most outstanding player, or paying opposing quarterbacks to throw his way like his teammates jokingly suggest, he should be a lock for some notable awards other than the Heisman trophy. And eventually, he’ll achieve what he’s been trying to do all season, become a first round draft pick.