10.15.2010 / Martinez for Heisman. Blog Posting by Mike Babcock, Huskers Illustrated Magazine

Granted, Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez is a long shot Heisman Trophy candidate. No freshman has ever won college footballs most prestigious individual award, though the last three winners have been sophomores Tim Tebow, Sam Bradford and Mark Ingram, Jr.

"I think Taylor and (Eric) Crouch are similar in speed, Osborn said."

Plus, the season is still young. Martinez has played in only five games. Nevertheless, the redshirted freshman from Corona, Calif., has attracted enough attention to be considered a Heisman candidate, along with other quarterbacks Denard Robinson of Michigan, Terrelle Pryor of Ohio State, Cam Newton of Auburn and Kellen Moore of Boise State.

Martinez showed his skills to the nation in the Huskers’ 48-13 victory at Kansas State, rushing for 241 yards and four touchdowns and teaming with tight end Kyler Reed on a 79-yard touchdown pass. The game was televised by ESPN. And immediately afterward, the Heisman talk began. His five-game totals would be good season statistics: 737 yards rushing, a 10.8-yards-per-carry average, 12 touchdowns, three touchdown passes and 1,397 yards of total offense.

Nebraska Athletic Director Tom Osborne was asked if Martinez reminded him of any past Husker quarterbacks. "I think Taylor and (Eric) Crouch are similar in speed," the Hall of Fame coach said. "But Taylor hits full-speed probably faster than anybody I’ve ever seen. "I think in three steps, he’s going full-speed. And the thing that’s kind of amazing is that he clears that line of scrimmage and guys who would normally be tackled, he’s one step past that point."

Because of Martinez, opposing defenses are "starting to crowd the line of scrimmage to stop the run, and that means your safeties aren’t very deep," said Osborne. "(If) those safeties are a little bit out of position or somebody bumps them, you’re gone."

Against Kansas State, Martinez had touchdown runs of 14, 35, 41 and 80 yards. In addition, I-back Roy Helu, Jr. had a 68-yard touchdown run. "So it was a game that probably had more big plays in it than I can remember," Osborne said. Martinez is "pretty unique," said Osborne. "But every game’s a new experiment, and every team’s going to try to stop him in different ways. It’s not always going to be like it was (against Kansas State)."

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Do you think Taylor is the next Eric Crouch to play at Nebraska? Do you think his name should be in the running for the Heisman already? The longhorns are coming to town- any game predications? Come on Huskers fans, post your comments NOW!

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