NEW YORK – Even though he didn’t win the Heisman Trophy on Saturday night, Dwayne Haskins will leave New York with fond memories of his experience as a Heisman finalist.
While Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray was the one who ultimately took the trophy home from Times Square, and Haskins finished third behind Murray and fellow finalist Tua Tagovailoa, the Ohio State quarterback said that just being able to participate in the Heisman ceremony would be a rewarding experience for him even if he didn’t win.
“It’s been a lot of fun, being able to do the things we did the past couple days and having a great time,” Haskins said Saturday evening before Murray was announced as the winner. “For me to be here is a blessing. For me to win or not, it’s not in my control, but I’m just happy to be here.”
Haskins certainly would have loved to take home the Heisman Trophy, but that was only one aspect of his experience as a finalist. After arriving in New York on Friday, he and his fellow Heisman finalists had the opportunity to visit the New York Stock Exchange and ring the closing bell. He also spent time touring New York City with his girlfriend and his family and hanging out with previous Heisman winners, including three in attendance from Ohio State – Archie Griffin, Eddie George and Troy Smith – as well as Billy Sims (Oklahoma, 1978) and Paul Hornung (Notre Dame, 1956).
“Hanging out with the fellow Buckeye Heisman Trophy winners like Troy and Eddie and Archie, being able to spend time with them, that was pretty fun,” Haskins said. “I met a lot of Heisman Trophy winners. Billy Sims was one of them that was probably the funniest one I met. Probably the most impactful to me would be Paul Hornung, and being able to spend time with him. He was one of the first people to win the Heisman, and he’s a really great guy. It was just cool meeting him.”
Haskins said it meant a lot to him to have his family – including his parents and his sister Tamia – in attendance, and to be able to share the experience of being a Heisman finalist with them.
“It was a lot of fun for them to be here to support me,” Haskins said. “We’ve been at it for a long time now. Went through a lot of trials and tribulations to get here. And just to see the smiles on their face, win or loss, makes me happy.”
Dwayne and Tamia Haskins have a beautiful brother-sister relationship. pic.twitter.com/uARNw3Ac8c— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) December 9, 2018
Two days in New York went by fast for Haskins, as the Heisman finalists had a busy schedule that included a slew of media appearances, but he did his best to follow the advice of Griffin and George and Smith, which was to enjoy the moment.
“Just trying to take it all in at once, but still enjoy the moment,” said Haskins, who will fly back to Columbus on Sunday morning. “It happens fast … but it’s been a lot of fun, being able to do the things we did the past couple days and having a great time.”
“To spend time with my family, spend time with my girlfriend, her first time in New York and getting to hang out with the Heisman guys, meeting new Heisman finalists, you get to meet all the greats, so it’s been a great experience.”– Dwayne Haskins
As most of the national media coverage going into Saturday night’s ceremony focused on Murray and Tagovailoa, drawing outrage from many of his teammates and Ohio State fans alike, Haskins understood that he was the underdog among the finalists to win the award. He said he didn’t let that bother him. But he did say he appreciated the support from those thought he should win.
“The support, it’s been overwhelming, I will say that,” Haskins said. “And my teammates text me, coaches call me, like ‘Why aren’t you being talked about?’ I’m like, ‘I don’t know, I’m not watching TV right now.’ But meeting (2007 Heisman winner Tim) Tebow and meeting all these Heisman guys, saying that they gave their vote for me, just shows that I have a special place in people’s hearts.”
Haskins felt like he did what he needed to do to win the Heisman, and he didn’t feel like there was anything more he could have done during the season that would have changed Saturday night’s outcome, so he wanted to enjoy the moment and accept the result for what it was.
“I mean, I did break Drew Brees’ record (for single-season passing touchdowns in the Big Ten),” Haskins said. “Broke the (single-season) passing (yards) record for the Big Ten. Did everything I could do. Sure, I could have thrown for 400 yards every game, but that’s impossible. But I’m having fun, and that’s all that matters.”