It's official: a Baylor Bear is the best player in college football.
Just three hours before this issue went to press, junior quarterback Robert Griffin III was named the winner of the 77th annual Heisman Memorial Trophy Award in a ceremony televised live on ESPN.
"You don't ever see yourself right here," said Griffin earlier in the week when asked about the possibility of winning the Heisman. "You dream it, you want to be there, but when you actually get there you're still like, 'I can't believe this is happening.' I'm blessed to be able to represent Baylor, blessed that I came to this university, and just blessed that the guys on this team showed the grit that they did to get us nine wins and get our name out there.
"It's big for our program and shows the direction that we're going in... It'll show recruits that you can come to Baylor and make a difference. That's why Coach [Art] Briles and I came here, and that's why a lot of [my teammates] are here, to make a difference, and we're doing it."
Griffin bested Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, the heavy preseason favorite for the award who finished second, and Alabama running back Trent Richardson, who finished third.
The man known as "RG3" is the first Heisman winner in Baylor history. The only previous Bears to receive significant support in the balloting came half a century ago; Larry Isbell finished seventh in 1951, and Don Trull finished fourth in 1963.
"I think it's just a tribute really to Robert, how he's prepared, and how our team has played and progressed and grown on the national scene in a positive manner," said Briles. "All those things have to happen for him to have this opportunity. This didn't just start today. ... He's just gotten better all the way through, and he's not through yet."
In leading No. 12 Baylor to its first nine-win season since 1986, RG3 passed for a school-record 3,998 yards and 36 touchdowns with just six interceptions (with the Bears' bowl appearance yet to come). He had also rushed for 644 yards and nine touchdowns, making him the nation's leader in points responsibility with 22.67 per game.
Griffin also led the nation at press time with a 192.31 passing efficiency that was on pace to shatter the NCAA record. He ranked second nationally in total offense with 386.83 yards per game, fourth in touchdown passes with 36, and fifth in completion percentage at 72.36.
For his career, Griffin is one of three players in FBS history with 10,000 passing yards and 2,000 rushing yards, joining Dan LeFevour of Central Michigan and Colin Kaepernick of Nevada. This season, Griffin is the nation's only player with at least 3,300 passing yards and 300 rushing yards.
In five games against teams ranked in the final BCS top 25, Griffin passed for 1,929 yards with 17 touchdowns and four interceptions and completed 68.9 percent of his passes for a passing efficiency of 197.03. He also rushed for 175 yards and three touchdowns in those games.
This season, RG3 led Baylor to nationally televised wins over then-No. 14 TCU, then-No. 5 Oklahoma and then-No. 22 Texas. In the win over Oklahoma, he passed for a school-record 479 yards and four touchdowns, including a game-winning 34-yard touchdown pass with eight seconds remaining. That game was his fourth 400-yard passing game this season, giving him five of the nine 400-yard passing performances in Baylor football's 110-year history.
For more of Griffin's records, honors and awards, as well as an in-depth look at his Baylor experience, click here.