The Heisman is Ty's.
After a season in which he rewrote much of the passing and total offense sections of the NCAA record book, quarterback Ty Detmer became BYU's first Heisman Trophy winner in voting announced Saturday.It wasn't even particularly close. Detmer received 1,482 points, 305 points more than runner-up Raghib Ismail of Notre Dame. Colorado's Eric Bieniemy was third with 798. In fact, Detmer won every region.
Detmer heard the announcement from the garden-like patio of the Princess Kaiulani Hotel here, surrounded by several hundred BYU players, officials, fans and a lot of curious Japanese tourists.
Three other Heisman hopefuls - Ismail, Bieniemy and Virginia's Shawn Moore - were at the ceremony in New York, while another, Houston's David Klingler, was on hand via satellite from Tokyo, where his team had just beaten Arizona State. Detmer was also present via satellite, as were his parents, Sonny and Betty, from Kingsville, Texas.
While waiting to go on the air Detmer appeared nervous, quietly accepting handshakes and pats on the back from well-wishers. Many of the players and fans, meanwhile, were crowded around a TV in the hotel lobby, rooting for San Diego State to upset Miami.
When CBS' Heisman show finally started, Detmer was shown sitting in a rattan chair, wearing a Hawaiian shirt and a red, white and yellow lei. And he wasn't smiling. He said later that by that point he was "starting to tingle." Asked his opinion on the upcoming announcement, Detmer said, "I think it's about time BYU won one."
A few minutes later it was revealed that Detmer was the 56th Heisman winner, and a loud cheer went up from the crowd. Detmer's parents were shown in a tearful embrace, and the quarterback even received a hug from an uncharacteristically demonstrative Coach LaVell Edwards.
Detmer understood his coach's enthusiasm. "I really wanted to see him (Edwards) get a Heisman Trophy," he said. "It's not very often you get to see him excited like this."
"It's amazing how excited you get, how much anticipation you feel," Edwards said. "To be able to pull this off is really amazing."
Detmer summed up his reaction in one word, "Relieved," but of course he didn't get off that easily.
CBS interviewed him, followed by ESPN, CNN, Utah and Hawaii media. He answered questions in the same low-key manner he has all season, frequently giving credit to his teammates for helping him win recognition as college football's best player. Those teammates expressed their gratitude by tossing Detmer in the hotel swimming pool.
"I've said all along that I couldn't do it without those guys," Detmer said. "I look at this as an award for the team, for the program. BYU has probably been deserving of a couple of Heismans."
Asked if he could do anything to top winning the Heisman, Detmer said, "Win another one, I guess. Right now I have to go out and play well against Hawaii and make sure everyone knows I deserved it."
Former BYU quarterback Robbie Bosco, now an assistant coach, said there is no doubt that Detmer is deserving. "There's no question Ty has a little bit of the best of all of the BYU quarterbacks," Bosco said.
Edwards paid tribute to Detmer's ability to maintain control amid all the Heisman hoopla. "It's been so hectic all year long and he's handled it so well," he said.
The coach said he started thinking about three weeks ago that his QB would win it. "I really had a hunch right after the Wyoming game that things were going to work out," he said. "Up until that time I always felt like it was too much to hope for."
Detmer didn't feel confident about it until more recently. He said he has had a hard time sleeping lately, and admitted that "this was the hardest week I've ever had." On Friday, though, Detmer saw a USA Today survey of Heisman voters that showed him securely in the lead.
That's when he started to think it might really happen.
"This couldn't have happened to a nicer person," BYU athletic director Glenn Tuckett said. "Ty is the epitome of what college football should be about."
"What this means for our program is that all of our past players and current players can walk a little taller," Tuckett said. "It will have to give the program added stature in the future."