Bo Jackson will vote for Cam Newton
For 25 years, Bo Jackson has been looking for a way to cast his Heisman Trophy vote for an Auburn player.
He's found his man.
Jackson, who won the Heisman Trophy at Auburn in 1985 and is considered one of the greatest players in SEC history, said Cam Newton has his vote and then some.
"I've looked for a chance for the past 25 years, and it never happened," said Jackson, now a businessman living in suburban Chicago. "So I don't have to tell you who I'm voting for this year. I've already got the ballot marked with an exclamation point."
Bo Jackson hasn't been this excited about college football in a long time, writes ESPN.com's Chris Low in his SEC blog.
Jackson, still the standard in the SEC when it comes to sheer athletic ability, said he hasn't seen a player quite like the 6-6, 250-pound Newton, who has already rushed for 1,077 yards and passed for 13 touchdowns this season for the No. 1 Tigers.
"Cam has woken up the SEC, and I'll say that Auburn has woken up the SEC," Jackson said. "Cam can't do it all by himself. It might seem like he has. But like any other great football player, you have to depend on those other 10 guys out there on the field with you."
Jackson attended the Arkansas game earlier this season at Jordan-Hare Stadium. His two youngest children currently attend Auburn.
Even for a player of Jackson's ilk, he said watching Newton carve apart defenses this season has been something special.
"When he's out on the field, it's almost like he's a man amongst boys," Jackson said. "He's patient. He knows what he's doing, and he's having fun doing it. That's the thing about it. Everybody is having fun. Look at those stands. We haven't seen that in a long time at Auburn."
Jackson said it's obvious that Newton has helped elevate the play of everybody around him, but that one great player can't do it alone.
"Any conversation about Cam Newton should always integrate Auburn and the rest of his teammates," Jackson said. "Like I said, one man can't drive that bus by himself. And even though Cam is the workhorse, and he's definitely a stallion, he needs help like every other great running back or every other great quarterback or every other great player."
Every time he watches Newton, Jackson concedes that he wonders what other black quarterbacks might have done in the SEC had they been given more chances through the years.
"I'm not trying to sound controversial or anything, but in the past only a minute selection of black quarterbacks have been recruited in the SEC," said Jackson, who finished his career with 4,303 rushing yards and 43 touchdowns.
"I'm not saying there weren't talented white kids. There were, some great white quarterbacks. But I don't think the black high school quarterbacks have been given as many opportunities to come to the SEC to play football until recently."
Chris Low covers the SEC for ESPN.com.