College football season is winding down, and with just one regular season game left, I think we can make a proper judgement on this week's burning question. The question, being who wins the "local Heisman" this year? The best player out of the three local D1 FBS schools, Missouri, Kansas, and Kansas State. I will talk briefly about each school's nominee, and introduce a little segment that I want to incorporate when the 2nd anniversary of blog comes around...
Kansas: #4 Devin Neal, Running Back
Devin Neal has shined this season, having back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing campaigns. The junior racked up 1,103 yards on 173 carries, averaging 6.4 yards a carry, and scoring 13 touchdowns. He's also caught 24 receptions for 214 yards on an average 8.9 yards/catch and 1 touchdown. Neal, in my humble opinion, was snubbed for a Doak Walker semifinalist spot, and can still show that by finishing out the season strong. He's the best player on a Kansas football team that is just a few bad breaks away from being 9-1 this season. Not bad for a team that finished at the bottom of the Big 12 for over a decade straight.
Kansas State: #50 Cooper Beebe, Offensive Line
These picks are going to become progressively tougher as you'll soon see. With Kansas State, it came down between three players: running back DJ Giddens, quarterback Will Howard, and offensive lineman Cooper Beebe. I chose Beebe because he's been consistently one of the best offensive linemen in not only the Big 12, but in the country. He has been the leader both on and off the field for this team and is a main reason why Kansas State's rushing attack has been so stellar these past few years. He creates holes the size of Texas and commands the line of scrimmage, making him a hot prospect for next year's NFL Draft. He's cemented himself as the next great Kansas State offensive lineman, putting his name alongside the likes of Dalton Risner, Cody Whitehair, Damion McIntosh, and others. I'm intrigued to see where he goes.
Missouri: #7 Cody Schrader, running back
This one was the toughest choice of them all, as Missouri has a ton of weapons this year, hence why they're ranked #9. Specifically, their weapons on offense are what got them there and what I came down to in terms of best player. My top choice was running back Cody Schrader, who just edged out Brady Cook and Luther Burden III with his 1,272 yards rushing, 12 touchdowns, Doak Walker semifinalist nod, and SEC leadership in rushing yards. Believe me, this one came down to the wire, as Burden was a close second with a Biletnikoff semis nod, 1,142 receiving yards, 14.8 yards/catch, and 8 scores. Schrader though has meant more to this team I think, he's a leader on and off the field, has a great story (that I mentioned over at College Football Dawgs, check it out here) and opens up a new dimension to this Missouri offense known for its wide receivers. Schrader has the ability to shine on Sundays and has shown that this year.
Now for the real reason behind the Burning Question this week though. While I am curious to see who you think is the best FBS college football player in the area (Don't worry UCM's Zack Zebrowski, I see you breaking records in the NAIA) this vote has a bit more importance to it. I am introducing the inaugural BURNY awards! This will be an awards show I put on annually starting March 28th, the birthday of The Burn KC, and will allow you, the fan, to select your choices for nominations such as CFB player of the year, CBB player of the year, Chief of the year, Royal of the year (of whom I have taken liberties as owner of the blog and nominated saving us some time. Should be pretty obvious...), SKC player of the year (of which I will ask here soon!), and more. This will all culminate in the Burn KC Athlete of the Year, who will be determined by you all and myself as the best pro or college athlete in the Kansas City area. I may include a junior Burny to nominate high school athletes, but I will leave that up to you all if you were interested. Please participate and cast your vote, I can't wait to put on the show for you and show you my hosting skills!