The 2013 Heisman Trophy finalists were recently announced, and the big names in college football were at the top of the list. Perhaps there are some Georgia Tech fans who look at that list and think how great it would be for one of their very own to win the Heisman, and bring that national recognition to the Flats.
The Yellow Jackets have never had a player finish higher than second in the Heisman voting, and since 1963, only Joe Hamilton was even in the running, finishing second in 1999.
A player that could quite possibly make a run at the Heisman is redshirt sophomore QB, Vad Lee, who impressed a lot of people this season with both this legs and his arm. Many outside of the ACC don’t know him by name, and even amongst his conference foes he may be more recognizable by his jersey number. Lee still has a couple more years to grow and stay at the helm of this Georgia Tech offense to become someone who is more easily recognizable.
Vad Lee is a solid 6’1″ 215 lbs with a cannon arm capable of making some extremely difficult throws down the field, hitting his big receivers on the outside such as DeAndre Smelter and Darren Waller. He’s also got the wheels to make him a dangerous runner in Paul Johnson‘s vaunted option offense.
In High School, where he was a 4-star recruit out of Hillside HS in Durham, N.C., Lee earned four varsity letters and served three years as a team captain. In his senior year he compiled 1,300 rushing and 3,223 passing yards, which is incredible for any player at any level. Among the awards he earned at Hillside were the AP North Carolina Player of the Year and first team All-State honors. He appeared in a few recruit showcases such as the North Carolina-South Carolina Shrine Bowl Game and the Offensive-Defensive Bowl, in which he won the MVP.
Since coming to Georgia Tech, Lee has had the eyes of everyone moving towards him, including coaches and fans from around the country, who are both starting to take notice of what this young dual-threat quarterback can bring to the table.
So what will it take to find a path to the Heisman for Lee? He’ll need to continue to develop in the option offense, and become much better at making his reads, and finding a burst on the dive play when he keeps it. He’ll need to focus on his passing accuracy, since the Jackets don’t pass the ball often, he’ll need to make every opportunity count and make defenses respect his arm.
But most importantly, he’ll need to lead the Yellow Jackets to a place of prominence in the ACC and in the nation. Georgia Tech needs to be in contention for a conference title and to be in the discussion for a playoff spot in the coming years for Lee to be recognized as a viable Heisman candidate. Without the tons of passing highlights that other quarterbacks will have, Lee needs to show his ability to lead a team to a championship.
Could Vad Lee become Georgia Tech’s first ever Heisman winner? He’s got the tools, and the talent. If he puts them all together with the right supporting cast, there is no reason why he couldn’t make a trip to New York in an upcoming December.