The four 2019 Heisman finalists are in New York City at last. After having lunch together, they took part in a press conference for assembled media in Times Square on Friday afternoon.
Here are some selected quotes and pictures from the press conference:
LSU quarterback Joe Burrow
On being in New York for Heisman weekend
“It means so much to me — but not just me — also to LSU and to the state of Louisiana. I’d do it for them. My teammates have been great all year and I have a great coaching staff as well. (Winning the Heisman) would mean a lot to everyone that has helped me along the way on my journey, from youth coach to middle school to high school, to Ohio State, to LSU. I think it would mean a lot to a lot of people.”
On getting a letter from the family of the late Billy Cannon, LSU’s only Heisman winner.
“I actually met with them the day before we left. They’re great people. To get that from that family just means so much to me and my family.”
On what the family told him about Cannon
“They said he would be so happy looking down on me. That meant so much to me. I’m just trying to represent LSU to the best of my ability. Whatever I can do to help the state of Louisiana and LSU, I’m going to do it. They said he was a tough guy just like me. They said we would’ve been best friends. So I would’ve loved to have met him.”
Did he at some point in the season think he would get to New York?
“Honestly I never really thought about it. I just tried to do what I needed to do to win football games and this season it was to throw for 4,700 yards and 48 touchdowns and last year it was not that and we still won a lot of games.”
>On the biggest difference between this year and last year
“Just having an offseason with all the receivers and building that trust. I know exactly when they’re going to break their routes off, I know exactly where they’re going to be and when they’re going to be there and they know when the ball is going to be there, and when to get their eyes around. So that’s really been the biggest factor.”
Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields
As a kid did you dream about winning the Heisman?
“Of course. Cam Newton was my favorite player growing up. Watching him win the Heisman, that’s why I wear the number 1. Seeing him, and the success he had at Auburn, it was always a dream of mine to be here right now.”
When was the moment that you became convinced you could end up in New York?
“Probably after the (Michigan) game, after I made that play. That was the moment I knew I had a really good chance to come here. That was that one defining moment when I had that injury and came back to throw a TD pass.”
Was the decision to transfer nerve-wracking and tough for you?
“It was kind of a leap of faith really. Before I transferred, I’d never been to Ohio. I had never visited Ohio State. It was really just based off of faith and really just hope. It was kind of a scary moment in my life but really I just had to lean on God and my family for support.”
Have you thought about you and Chase splitting the Heisman vote? Do you think you could’ve won it if all the votes went to you or to Chase
“I’m not really sure. I just know that Chase has had a good year and I’ve had a pretty good year. I’m just happy for the opportunity to be here. To be here with these other great players is an honor.”
What advice would you give to a kid who has to go through the transfer process like you?
“I would say don’t listen to the outside voices. At the end of the day, they don”t know what you’ve been through. You have to do whatever you feel is best for you.”
Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts
On watching the playoff dominoes fall to enable OU to make it into the playoff
I always talk about controlling for the external factors. You can only control what you can control. That why we are in the position we are in right now.
On whether he felt pressure by OU fans to win the school’s first football national title since 2000
“Not really. I think every school in the country has that intent every year to win championships.”On being invited to New York as a Heisman finalist
“I’m tremendously blessed. God works in mysterious ways. He never puts you in a situation that he doesn’t think you can handle. I’m blessed to be here, blessed that I’ve overcome a lot. Blessed, but the journey is far from over.”
On what he looks forward to on Saturday
“It’ll be cool to put a nice little suit on and try to look nice and just enjoy the moment.”
Ohio State defensive end Chase Young
What’s it like to be here with Justin?
“It feels good to have a teammate with you. It’s a testament to Ohio State and how they develop (players) and how Justin developed so much more in one off-season.”
What does it mean to you to be on this stage?
“It means everything. I had told my mom, when you’re growing up as a kid, you don’t even dream about it because defensive players don’t make it here. It’s nothing you dream about. It’s crazy, but it’s definitely a blessing.”
What would you have said in September if you were told you would be here in December?
“I would have been surprised. I would have had no words. To me, it would have been all talk. I tried to go out in the off-season and work extremely hard and come out in the season and play the best ball I could play. I’m here, and it feels good.”
On being the only defensive finalist.
“Yea, I’m definitely out-manned (chuckles). It’s all good. I’m standing strong.”
What is something that all four of you share that brings you to this level?
“Love of the game. You have to love the game. To be here, you have to work extremely hard. You get to a place where you make sacrifices and everything you do is revolving around football and all four of us have made those sacrifices to be here.”
What do you recall of Joe Burrow being your teammate at Ohio State?
“You really can’t describe Joe. Joe is just Joe. He’s a cool dude. He’s relatable to everybody. Obviously, a great football player. Joe is a guy you can come talk to if you have a problem or about anything. He’s a good dude.”