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December 5, 2011

Richardson named Heisman finalist

TUSCALOOSA | University of Alabama running back Trent Richardson was named a Heisman Trophy finalist on Monday by the Heisman Memorial Trust.

The Crimson Tide junior will join LSU defensive back Tyrann Mathieu, Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III, Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck and Wisconsin running back Montee Ball this weekend in New York City for the announcement of the Heisman winner, which goes to the nation's most outstanding player and is the most prestigious individual award in college football.

"It is a dream to be selected as a finalist for the Heisman Trophy," Richardson said. "There are very few people that can say they were a candidate for the Heisman Trophy and even less that can say they were a finalist. This is a tremendous honor, but one that wouldn't be possible without my teammates, especially my offensive line. As far as I'm concerned this is a team award."

Richardson has amassed 1,583 yards and 20 touchdowns in 263 carries in his third season with the Crimson Tide, which leads the Southeastern Conference and ranks fifth nationally at 131.9 yards per game. In his final game of the regular season, on the road at Auburn, Richardson rushed for a career-high 203 yards. The Pensacola, Fla., native has added 327 receiving yards and three more touchdowns on 27 receptions.

Ball security has also been a hallmark of Richardson's best season as a collegian, and his career as well. He has not lost a fumble all season and has lost only one in 614 career touches.

The Heisman winner will be announced on Saturday at the Best Buy Theater in New York City's Times Square on ESPN.

Richardson is the Tide's second Heisman finalist in the last three years, joining 2009 Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram. The two were teammates on Alabama's 2009 national championship team, and Ingram became the first Heisman winner in UA history that year. At 1,583 yards, Richardson needs only 76 in the BCS National Championship Game against LSU on Jan. 9 to eclipse Ingram's single-season school record of 1,658, set in his Heisman-winning year of 2009.

Richardson has said he learned to handle the pressure and hype that goes along with Heisman candidacy by watching Ingram go through the same process two years ago.

"He's a great guy, a great person, and he knows how to handle these situations," Ingram said on Nov. 19. "That's why he's handling it so well now."

Asked whether Richardson will get his vote (former Heisman winners each have one of the more than 900 ballots), Ingram would only say, "I'll vote for the best player in the country."

Also a finalist for the Maxwell Award and the Doak Walker Award, Richardson rushed for more than 100 yards in nine of 12 games this season.

Earlier in the day, Richardson was named the Associated Press SEC Offensive Player of the Year, and was a first-team pick for the American Football Coaches Association 2011 All-America team.


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