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Heisman invites go to Tebow, Brennan, McFadden, Daniel

NEW YORK -- Florida quarterback Tim Tebow, trying to become
the first sophomore to win the Heisman Trophy, and Arkansas running
back Darren McFadden, the runner-up for last year's award, were
among the four finalists selected Wednesday.

Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel and Hawaii quarterback Colt Brennan were the other finalists. They will all be in New York on
Saturday night when the award is given to the top player in college
football.

"I think it's a good race," Brennan said at a news conference.
"I think anybody can win it. It's up to the voters. It will be
interesting to see how it plays out."

The Heisman race took a while to develop this season and seemed
wide open until the last month when Tebow, McFadden and Daniel
emerged as front-runners.

Since the first Heisman was given to Chicago's Jay Berwanger in
1935, all 70 players who have won college football's most
prestigious award have been juniors or seniors.

Tebow could break that trend. The ultimate dual-threat
quarterback at about 235 pounds, Tebow ran for 838 yards
and a Southeastern Conference-record 22 touchdowns.

He's also the nation's second-leading passer, having completed
68 percent of his throws for 3,132 yards, with 29 touchdowns and
just six interceptions in his first season as a starter.

Tebow's already had a historic season, becoming the first major
college player to run for 20 touchdowns and throw 20 TD passes in
the same season.

"He has done things that no one else in college football has
been able to do and I hope people realize the magnitude of his
accomplishments," Florida coach Urban Meyer said in a statement.

Tebow has never been to New York and he plans to have his
parents and some of his siblings along for the trip.

"I'm looking forward to seeing all of it, Central Park, the
Christmas tree [in Rockefeller Center], Ellis Island, the Statue of
Liberty, everything," Tebow said. "It's going to be cool, just
walking the blocks. I've never been to a city like that."

McFadden was one of the preseason favorites after finishing
second to Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith last year. His
candidacy lagged with a mediocre October, but he gave himself a
boost with a spectacular November. In the final month of the
season, McFadden tied the SEC record with 321 yards rushing against
South Carolina and ran for 206 yards and three TDs and also threw
a touchdown pass to lead the Razorbacks to a 50-48 triple overtime
victory over then-No. 1 LSU.

McFadden could become the fifth player to win the Heisman the
year after being the runner-up, joining Tom Harmon of Michigan,
Glenn Davis of Army, O.J. Simpson of USC and Herschel Walker of
Georgia.

Daniel was one of six quarterbacks to reach 4,000 yards passing
this season. He threw for 4,170 yards and 33 TDs to get the
surprising Tigers within a victory of reaching the BCS national
championship game.

"This shines a huge light, a shining light, on the University
of Missouri and the state," Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said in a
conference call with the Mizzou Tiger Club of St. Louis on
Wednesday.

This season, Brennan led Hawaii (12-0) to the only perfect regular season in
major college football and its first BCS appearance, but his
numbers were down from last year because he lost some time to
injuries.

In the Warriors' run-and-shoot offense, Brennan passed for 4,174
and 38 touchdowns. He also set the major college record for career
touchdown passes with 131.

"It's a great feeling because it's not like I'm the only one
getting rewarded here, it's everybody who played with me getting
rewarded," Brennan said.

The Heisman finalists are the top vote-getters among mostly
media members and former players.

McFadden and Brennan were among the players who received plenty
of preseason Heisman hype, along with Southern California
quarterback John David Booty, Louisville quarterback Brian Brohm,
Rutgers running back Ray Rice and Michigan running back Mike Hart.

Booty missed time with injuries and never made a serious run.
Injuries also held back Hart. Brohm and Rice had big numbers, but
their teams slumped.

Midway through the season, Tebow and Oregon quarterback Dennis Dixon started separating themselves from the pack in the Heisman
race. A knee injury ended Dixon's season early and probably cost
him a trip to New York for the award presentation.

Dixon and the Ducks were No. 2 in the country heading into their
10th game of the season. His left knee buckled early in a loss to
Arizona and he was lost for the season. Without him, the Ducks lost
their final two games.

Dixon finished the season with 2,136 yards passing and 20
touchdown passes and ran for 583 yards and nine touchdowns.

West Virginia quarterback Pat White was getting lots of Heisman
consideration late in the season, when he had four straight
100-yard rushing games and had the Mountaineers a win away from
playing for the national title.

But White and West Virginia fell flat in their season finale,
losing 13-9 to Pittsburgh. White missed about half the Pitt game
with a dislocated thumb on his right (non-throwing hand) and
finished the regular season with 1,185 yards rushing and 1,548
yards passing.