Why McGowan Should NOT Win the Piesman

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Piesman. Fame and glory are no longer exclusive to guys 6'4, 250 and under. Your friendly neighborhood behemoth is now eligible to win an award that on its face seems like a really big joke, but actually carries a decent amount of merit.

If you don't know what I'm talking about, here's SB Nation's explanation for their brand new fat guy award. Although it's an obvious play on the revered Heisman Award, there are some obvious differences. The eligibility for the Piesman is limited strictly to players who are primarily linemen. The Piesman is granted for best overall play where a lineman throws, runs, or catches the ball, vice overall body of work. Players from all levels of college football can win the Piesman, not just FBS.

So LaQuan McGowan should be a shoo-in for the first ever Piesman Award, right?

Wait just a minute! Here's 3 reasons why LaQuan is above the Piesman:


  1. LaQuan McGowan is now a skill player. You read that right. As insane as that sentence looks, it's even more insane on the field. McGowan, all 400+ pounds of him, will be doing this and this on a semi-regular basis. Coach Art Briles has said they'd use him situationally to create mismatches with the defense. Tre'Von Armstead is respected enough league-wide to be on the media's Preseason All-Big 12 Team, and that's a guy you don't necessarily want to keep off the field. However, listing Armstead and McGowan as co-starters on the post spring depth chart highlights Briles the Elder and Briles the Younger's intentions of using their big man's skill set.
  2. It's hard to meme common occurrences. When McGowan caught that now famous touchdown against Michigan State in the Cotton Bowl, he set the world on fire. It's still hard to imagine how a player of that size covered that kind of ground at game speed. People went crazy about it. It's clear, based on spring scrimmage footage, that the pop pass we saw in the Cotton Bowl will be the most common route McGowan runs. It gives him a full head of steam to punish defenses for blitzing their linebackers, and punish a safety for stepping up to tackle him. If he has his number called more than twice a game (not unreasonable, given Baylor's high play counts), the novelty of him catching the ball wears away. Memes get less awesome the more play they get, and McGowan will be getting plenty of runtime this fall.
  3. The rebirth of the TE is the better goal. If CBSSports and the mad scientists at Baylor's growing football factory are to be believed, McGowan is just the harbinger of a new era in college football. One where literal giants roam the field for skill reasons, not just to fight in the trenches with other giants. Tight ends are extremely versatile weapons in the hands of skilled players and Offensive Coordinators who aren't afraid to use them. The Patriots were extremely difficult to stop using Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez simultaneously, and are still dangerous with just the former while the latter is in prison. The modern NFL is shifting slowly to a pass first league, and the TE is the weapon that separates the elites from the common teams (see: Jason Witten, Jimmy Graham, Gronk, Vernon Davis, etc). While college football has traditionally been more progressive in terms of developing schemes and utilizing unique players, it's time to take a cue from the next level. McGowan and Armstead (who is not small in his own right at 6'6 270) could be a terror for opposing defenses already fearing Baylor's receivers and backs like Shock Linwood, Corey Coleman, and KD Cannon. Baylor can show the world an offense truly capable of Thunder and Lightning.


Could McGowan win the Piesman? It's definitely possible, if the voters still consider him just a lineman who gets a little spotlight every now and then. I wouldn't count on that being the case.

McGowan as the nation's best Tight End? Now that is a goal worthy of Baylor's biggest secret weapon.

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