Northern Illinois University quarterback Jordan Lynch finished 7th in Heisman Trophy voting last year, as he was second to Johnny Manziel in total offense. Both men topped the 4,900 mark. Jordan Lynch was named to a bunch of QB and best overall college football player award watch lists, so it makes sense that NIU are marketing him as a Heisman Trophy candidate.
NIU has launched a Heisman Trophy campaign for Lynch for 2013 centered around the theme, “Jordan Lynch for 6,” including a website, JordanLynchfor6.com, Facebook page, Jordan Lynch for 6 and Twitter account, @LynchFor6.
And….a lunch box a you’ll see here. “Jordan Lunch” (CC Dave Wischnowsky CBS Chicago)
It takes a lot of creativity to market a Heisman Trophy candidate. In the past, schools have sent out all kinds of interesting swag, like matchbox cars. Northwestern gave the media 7 pound dumbbells as part of their Dan Persa Heisman program. Of course, in the modern era, all members of the Heisman Trophy fraternity have hailed from big marquee programs in the biggest power conferences. Andre Ware of Houston in 1989 and Ty Detmer of BYU in 1990 are the exceptions. No one from Northern Illinois, the MAC conference or Northwestern has ever won the Heisman Trophy, and it’s highly unlikely that any body who plays there ever will.
Still, Heisman Trophy campaigns aren’t all about winning the prize; they’re great marketing tools for the school and the program. And it can raise the NFL Draft stock of the player. “I think it’s great for our community, and everybody, it’s really a positive for everybody,” NIU coach Rod Carey said.
Last season, the Chicago native ranked fourth in the nation in rushing and had more 100-yard games (12) than any other player in Division I. Lynch became the first Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) in NCAA history to pass for more than 3,000 yards (3,138) and rush for more than 1,500 yards (1,815) in a single season. He broke 14 NIU school records and four NCAA marks a year ago.
Paul M. Banks is the owner of The Sports Bank.net, a Fox Sports affiliate. He is also an analyst for 95.7 The Fan, and writes on Chicago sports media for Chicago Now. President Obama follows his Twitter account (@paulmbanks)