Tim Tebow added another Heisman first to his long list of accomplishments just by being selected a finalists for this year's trophy.
Tebow has become the first player to be invited to the Heisman Trophy presentation ceremony in New York three times over the course of his career. The Florida Gators' quarterback was named a finalist Monday along with Texas Longhorns' quarterback Colt McCoy, Stanford Cardinal running back Toby Gerhart, Alabama Crimson Tide running back Mark Ingram, and Nebraska Cornhuskers' defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh.
"Having the chance to go back to New York means a lot to me," Tebow said in statement. "It is a special honor but it wouldn't be possible for me to have this opportunity without my teammates and coaches."
The Heisman trophy will be awarded this Saturday, and while at least three finalists have been coming to the final ceremony since 1982, the last time the 'race' was close enough for five finalists to attend was in 2004, when USC quarterback Matt Leinart won the award.
Tebow has already gotten himself into the Heisman lore by being the first underclassman to win the award, when he did so as a sophomore in 2007. Now he looks to become the first player to win it twice since Ohio State running back Archie Griffin achieved the feat in the 1960's
Colt McCoy looks to become the first player to finish second in the balloting one year, and win it the next, since 1982 after finishing behind Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford in 2008. McCoy led his Longhorns to the BCS national championship game thanks to a last second field goal in a win over Nebraska in the Big 12 championship game last weekend.
Ingram has rushed for 1,542 yards and scored 15 touchdowns for top ranked Alabama and will square off against Texas for the National Title in January.
Stanford's Gerhart, leads the nation in rushing yards and touchdowns, but his team has the worst record (8-4) of any of the Heisman contenders, and winning games has always been an unwritten qualifier for a Heisman winner.
Nebraska's Suh had 4 1/2 sacks in an attention-grabbing statement game against Texas in the Big 12 title game. Suh is the first full time defensive specialist to be a Heisman finalist since corner back Charles Woodson won the award in 1997. However, Woodson also added kick and punt return duties to his resume, while Suh does not play on special teams. If Suh did win, he would be only the third defensive player ever to win the award in it's 70 plus years of existence.
McCoy has passed for 3,512 yards with 27 touchdowns and 12 interceptions, but was hounded all game in the Big 12 title by Nebraska's defense lead by Suh, completing just 20 of 36 passes for 184 yards and three interceptions, and no touchdown passes. While he did rush for a touchdown, he was also sacked nine times, and ended with minus 20 yards on the ground. By far his worst performance of the season.
Ingram would become Alabama's first Heisman Trophy winner should he win on Saturday. He gave his Heisman campaign a late boost by running for 113 yards and scoring three touchdowns in the SEC title game against Florida.
"I'm looking forward to the experience and appreciate the opportunity to represent our team at the Heisman ceremony," Ingram said in a statement.
Gerhart also ended his season with a late push, running for 205 yards and three touchdowns and throwing a touchdown pass in a victory against Notre Dame.
"I am most pleased that my efforts along with those of so many others this year have put Stanford Football back on the national map," Gerhart said.
While it's completely unofficial, a Foxsports.com poll currently has Ingram and Suh tied for the lead in the Heisman race, at 26 percent a piece. Gerhart and McCoy are tied for third with 18 percent, and Tebow finishes fifth with 12 percent.