April 4, 2008

Beanie ready to make a Heisman run

There might not be a more precious statue in all of college football for an individual award. It is rare that 25 pounds of bronze can me as much as it does when it is sculpted into the Heisman trophy, a design made famous by Frank Elsicu in 1934. Seven of these iconic trophies fill the atrium at the Woody Hayes Athletic Facility and if Chris Wells has his way in 2008 there will be an eighth one to find a home for.

A less than 100-percent Wells rushed for more than 1,600 yards last season missing significant chunks of playing time with a bad wrist and a bad ankle. Beanie has recovered nicely from the ankle and despite still wearing a cast during practice and a brace off of the field is primed and ready to make an assault on the prestigious award.

After a fumble plagued freshman year and an injury ridden sophomore season the sky is the limit for the 6-foot-1, 235-pound Akron (Ohio) native. Has winning the Heisman been a goal for Wells for long or some sort of lifelong dream?

"I thought about the Heisman my 10th grade year," Wells said. "(During) my 10th grade year me and my father were sitting in the living room and I told him I wanted to be the first freshman to win the Heisman (laugh). That didn't happen, so I just want to get it."

So it is safe to say that Wells thinks about what it will take to win the Heisman and use that as motivation to push through the spring practice period?

"I honestly do all the time and I am not going to sit here and tell you that I don't think about winning the Heisman (laugh) and winning the Doak Walker," Wells said. "That is something that I work hard to try and accomplish and something I want to do. I came here to play football and I came here to leave a mark. I didn't just come here to be a part of the team and just say I played for Ohio State or that I played college football. I want to leave mark and that is something I work hard every day for."

The Heisman campaign did not start today for Wells or a week ago or even a month ago though.

"It started when I walked on Ohio State's campus," Wells said.

Wells was able to witness firsthand what Troy Smith went through in his pursuit of the Heisman Trophy and knows that there are a lot of added distractions surrounded by a run at the award if you let yourself get caught up in it.

"That is just something that I am learning right now," Wells said. "As a player and a person you grow and you learn. You take it in stride and you have to go through something to be able to learn from it."

The Ohio State running back knows that being mentioned in pre-season conversation doesn't get a player any extra votes when it comes time to tabulate the results and that just being named to an unofficial watch-list doesn't earn you a sense of entitlement.

"I don't feel like I just should be there," Wells said. "I just look at it as a blessing and an honor to be mentioned next to the Heisman."

As a junior Wells would in theory have two seasons to make a push for the award but with so many players jumping to the pros after their junior season it was a shock for Wells to see players like James Laurinaitis and Malcolm Jenkins come back for their final season.

"I was surprised and a little shocked," Wells said. "Those guys could have both been top ten picks in the draft and it shows a lot of loyalty for those guys to say, 'Hey, we are not going to worry about the money and we are not going to worry about anything else we want to worry about the Ohio State Buckeyes,' it takes a lot of courage to do that."

Will Beanie have the courage to come back for a senior season especially if he accomplishes personal and team goals this season?

"It is not going to be my last year," Wells said. "I plan on being here four years."

And four years would give Wells a chance to write his own place into the Ohio State record books and that is something that would mean a lot to Beanie with the pedigree of past runners in the scarlet and gray.

"When somebody talks about Ohio State and the great players, I want my name to be mentioned," Wells said. "We have guys like Archie (Griffin), we have Eddie George, we have Keith Byars and Antonio Pittman and those are great guys, don't get me wrong but I want my name to be at the top."

With the 2007 Heisman trophy winner coming back in Tim Tebow will it be hard to unseat the incumbent in the race?

"You know it is always harder to do something twice (laugh)," Wells joked.

If all goes according to plan Beanie would like to see how hard it is to repeat come the 2009 football season.

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