Monday, May 3, 2010

Dion Vs. Jonathan

So Pitt has one of those 'good' problems on their hands - who to promote for the Heisman? Dion Lewis or Jonathan Baldwin? Personally, I expect them to start off promoting both. Lewis appears to be the clear true candidate, but Pitt won't want to have egg on its face by only promoting him if Lewis would go down with an injury or if Baldwin should step up and really become a viable contender.

Frankly, I don't believe Baldwin is really the candidate some may make him out to be. He had 57 catches, 1,111 receiving yards and eight TDs last year. Good, but not great. Heck, Fitz couldn't get the Heisman with numbers that dwarfed Baldwin's (92, 1,672, and 22 TDs).

Being a wideout puts him at a huge disadvantage. There have only been four wideouts that won the Heisman in the award's 75-year history. The biggest thing of note is that they've all played other positions as well. Charles Woodson was also a DB and Tim Brown, Desmond Howard, and Johnny Rodgers were also kickoff and punt return specialists. To win as strictly a wideout, you'd need to put up incredible numbers or at the very least, put up great numbers on an incredible team.

Let's break down the numbers of the two players a bit. Baldwin's 1,111 yards were only good for 19th in the country and because his numbers are dependent on the quarterback's ability to get him the ball, is prone to having games with low outputs. He had only 44 yards against Buffalo, 17 against Rutgers, and 5 yards against Syracuse. In most years, Heisman winners can't have large lapses in production like that.

Now look at the other player. Dion Lewis is a running back - a position which has won the Heisman more than 50% of the time in the award's history. He's coming off a year with 1,799 yards and was an All-American. He finished a close third in the nation in rushing yards and the two players ahead of him are now in the NFL. Perhaps even more important, he had huge games of 150+ yards in more than half of the games he played in. Plus, he's not dependent on the quarterback getting him the ball as a WR is. Finally, his 17 TDs beat Baldwin's last year and I'd expect him to top him again this year.

Dion Lewis is not only Pitt's best candidate, he's the school's only realistic candidate for the Heisman. I say promote him, and promote him alone.


  1. Hey - we agree on something. If we have to back one horse let it be Lewis. He is clearly the more impressive of the two statistically and literally.

    It is nice to read some realistic writing about Baldwin. The truth is just as you state - as well as he played in some games, in some others he couldn't shake free if his life depended on it. Take away his deep threat by rotating a safety to double up on him and his production dropped dramatically. Part of that, of course, was that we didn't have a strong second option really - DD did well the first half of the season and after the defenses figured him out it our production swung back to Baldwin in the latter part of the year.

    Hopefully this season we go out with three viable WR threats right off the bat - Baldwin, Shanahan (who I can see being very productive ) and either Cross or Street.

    The problem with that is - and no one wants to address it - if Sunseri will have the wherewithal to get through his progressions to his second and third options. I think that will be tough for him especially in the beginning of the season.

  2. Yeah, I think Baldwin will be productive, just not a Heisman candidate. I'm still trying to wrap my hands around how he's being touted by some as such. He can be a very good receiver this year, but I don't see him putting up the numbers needed to win the award. As I said, if Fitzgerald couldn't with the season he had, it will be tough for any WR to do it.