George Rogers, South Carolina’s Heisman trophy winner, said Wednesday he voted for Auburn quarterback Cam Newton to win this year’s award.
Rogers chose Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck second, but his third-place vote might come as a surprise — freshman Gamecocks running back Marcus Lattimore.
“He has the ability to make first tackler miss,” the 1980 Heisman winner said. “(Great backs) all have a way of doing it.”
Lattimore, who collected 1,562 all-purpose yards and 19 touchdowns this season, has won several Freshman of the Year awards — including one selected by SEC coaches Wednesday.
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Rogers expects accolades to keep coming to the Duncan native in future seasons.
“He’s going to move up the (Heisman) ladder,” Rogers said. “He will do as well as South Carolina does.”
Rogers said he did not hesitate to vote for the front-runner Newton, a fellow Georgia native who was cleared last week after an NCAA investigation into a pay-for-play recruiting deal involving his father.
Rogers said he would not punish Newton for anything his father might have done. Rogers’ father spent time in jail.
“He’s eligible to play,” Rogers said of Newton.
The State’s football beat writer, Josh Kendall, and sports columnist, Ron Morris, said they also voted for Newton, who led Auburn to a 56-17 victory against USC in Saturday’s SEC Championship Game and competes next in the BCS title game.
The Heisman Trophy winner will be announced Saturday.
Meanwhile, Rogers said he disagreed with former Southern California running back Reggie Bush’s decision in September to forfeit his 2005 Heisman Trophy.
An NCAA investigation ruled this year that Bush was ineligible in 2005 for taking money and gifts from agents. At the time, Heisman voters did not know about Bush’s rules violations, and the back was the best player that year, Rogers said.
“That came five years after he was out of college when some agent was trying to get revenge,” Rogers said. “If he was still in college, yes, do it.”