ATLANTA — Dashingly and debonairly dressed and surrounded by young women from Georgia Tech’s dance team, a suave Joshua Nesbitt is proclaimed “the most interesting player in college football.”
Welcome to the 21st century of Heisman Trophy campaigning.
On Tuesday, moments after the conclusion of Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson’s first weekly news conference, officials at the Institute unveiled a web-based promotion to recognize the senior quarterback as a candidate for the race for college football’s most coveted award.
To see the complete campaign, log on to www.nesbitt4heisman.com .
“I was happy for the whole situation, but overall, it’s putting the team out there,” Nesbitt said following Tuesday’s practice. “When you see the site, you also see Georgia Tech and it’s great for the program.”
The promotion is headlined by a video that is a comedic takeoff on beer label Dos Equis’ currently popular ads heralding the “most interesting man in the world,” a classically-dressed, sophisticated-looking gray-haired gentleman who sits in clubs surrounded by attractive women. Featuring music markedly similar to the Latin flair that make the Dos Equis commercials memorable, Nesbitt’s creative promo is designed to give voters a unique look at a player whose runs an offense that is different than what most past Heisman winners ran.
“I don’t often get thirsty,” Nesbitt says at the end of the video, “but when I do, I thirst for success.
“Vote for me, my friends.”
The closing line is a tribute to the Dos Equis commercial which ends with the protagonist always saying: “Stay thirsty, my friends.”
“It’s catchy, it’s good; he’s certainly deserving,” Johnson said of the promotion. “Hopefully he’ll have his best year.”
On the website heismanpundit.com, a weekly-updated look at the Heisman race through the eyes of credentialed sports journalists, Nesbitt currently isn’t listed in the preseason top 10. Alabama running back and defending Heisman winner Mark Ingram tops the list along with Ohio State quarterback Terelle Pryor. Ingram, however, could take a hit in the race this week, as it was announced Tuesday that he underwent minor knee surgery and will at least miss Alabama’s first game.
Last season, Nesbitt rushed for 1,067 yards and became the Yellow Jackets’ first 1,000-yard quarterback rusher. That also made him Georgia Tech’s first quarterback to run for 1,000 yards and pass for 1,000 yards in a season.
Paired with running back Jonathan Dwyer, he also gave the program its first quarterback-running back tandem to each rush for more than 1,000 yards.
“He deserves (to win),” junior defensive end Jason Peters said of Nesbitt. “He’s a great quarterback and he works extremely hard. I hope he has a really good chance to do his thing and show what he can do. Once people see that, they’ll understand why that kind of video is there.”
In the video, Nesbitt’s accomplishments are praised by former Yellow Jackets Gary Guyton, Calvin Johnson, Cord Howard and Darryl Richard.
Guyton compares Nesbitt’s arm strength to an atomic weapon, saying that he “breaks the sound barrier” when he throws. Howard went on to add somewhat half-sarcastically: “(Nesbitt) once fumbled the ball just to see how it felt. He realized he didn’t like it, so he snatched the ball back from the defender.”
As Howard says that, a clip of Nesbitt stealing a fumbled ball back from Florida State linebacker Nigel Carr last year is shown.
When it comes to Heisman races, Georgia Tech appears to have long been on the cutting edge of campaigning.
In 1999, when the Yellow Jackets tried to sway voters to select quarterback Joe Hamilton for the award, it marked the first time a school had ever used a CD to broadcast a player’s accomplishments, former Georgia Tech sports information director and current ACC media relations chair Mike Finn said.
Finn said it cost Georgia Tech a couple thousand dollars to fund Hamilton’s whole campaign. Current sports information director Dean Buchan said his office spent less than $500 on Nesbitt.
Nesbitt’s videos were all shot at Opera, a popular midtown Atlanta club where the Yellow Jackets have hosted past signing day parties.