Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Given the press surrounding the soon-to-be-unveiled Nick Saban statue at Alabama and the new row of Heisman-winning quarterback statues at Florida, it was only a matter of time before some other school stepped forward to keep up with the Joneses in Tuscaloosa and Gainesville.
And this week, in a letter to fans and alumni, Tiger athletic director Jay Jacobs made it official that that school would be Auburn. The Tiger athletic department last year commissioned statues of past Heisman winners Pat Sullivan and Bo Jackson, before having to add another sculpture to their shopping list when Cam Newton picked up the program's third Heisman last December. "Little did we know we would need to add a third statue so soon," Jacobs wrote.
Newton's honor likely pushed the timetable for the unveiling back from this weekend's "A-Day" spring game to the 2011 season; the artist's website says the Sullivan and Jackson statues are already completed. If there's any positive to the delay from the Auburn perspective, it's that it will give the program another few months in which to avoid unveiling the Newton statue should anything come to light in the still-ongoing (as far as we know) NCAA investigation into his recruitment.
But obviously, Jacobs and Auburn aren't expecting any developments like that soon, or ever; it's hard to prove a belief in a player's innocence any more emphatically than setting a nine-foot tall, one-ton statue of him outside the stadium directly alongside the team's two greatest legends, isn't it?