Notre Dame's Raghib "Rocket" Ismail wielded 1,726 all-purpose yards and six touchdowns to beat a brace of quarterbacks and capture the 1990 Walter Camp player of the year trophy.
"It's a tremendous honor, and I feel very privileged," Ismail said Wednesday as he accepted the honor.The junior from Wilkes-Barre, Pa., outpolled Virginia quarterback Shawn Moore, who finished second in the balloting among Division I-A coaches and sports information directors for the honor.
Quarterback Ty Detmer of Brigham Young and Colorado running back Eric Bieniemy finished third and fourth, ahead of quarterbacks Craig Erickson of Miami and David Klingler of Houston.
"He's the most exciting player we have seen play in many, many years," said Kevin O'Brien, president of the Walter Camp Football Foundation in New Haven, Conn., during the presentation.
Ismail "has demonstrated that he is a dedicated competitor who has made effective use of his athletic talent to enhance the great American game of college football," O'Brien said. "He is an outstanding young man."
Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz said Ismail's talents as a return specialist, receiver and tailback are unquestionable.
"There's not been any controversy over Rocket this year," he said. "He's an incredible athlete, but he's been an incredible person."
Ismail declined to speculate on his chances of becoming the eighth Notre Dame player to capture the Heisman.
"There's nothing I can do going in there Saturday," he said. "Hopefully the best man will win, and that'll be that."
No. 7 Notre Dame (9-2) finished the regular season Saturday with a 10-6 victory over Southern Cal. The Irish will play No. 1 Colorado (10-1-1) in the Orange Bowl.
Ismail is the third Notre Dame player selected for the Walter Camp honor since it was first awarded in 1967 to O.J. Simpson. Ken MacAfee won the award in 1977 and Tim Brown received it in 1987, the same year he became Notre Dame's seventh Heisman winner.
Indiana's Anthony Thompson won the award last year.