NEW YORK – Jordan Lynch was just soaking everything in.
Northern Illinois’ Heisman Trophy finalist was in New York City for the first time Friday.
He got to see Times Square, meet four of the candidates – Johnny Manziel, Tre Mason, Jameis Winston and Andre Williams (AJ McCarron is in Baltimore attending the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award presentation), and had lunch with them before speaking to the media Friday afternoon.
Lynch’s parents – Jim and Sheila, who met him at LaGuardia Airport early Friday morning – were taking everything in as well. It was also their first trip to the Big Apple.
“They’re loving every second of it,” Lynch said before a group of reporters. “Their phones are actually dead right now from taking too many photos.”
After NIU’s 7 p.m. practice Thursday, Lynch went home to do laundry. He didn’t get much sleep because he had to get up around 3 a.m. for a 6 a.m. flight to New York.
With the situation he was in, the lack of rest didn’t really matter.
“This is keeping me awake,” Lynch said. “It’s kind of surreal. I’m happy to be here, and it’s an honor and a privilege.”
Friday night, Lynch was scheduled to take a tour of the city with his family, and he hopes to meet some of the previous Heisman winners Saturday.
In a way, he’s sort of the odd man at the event. Present are players from Florida State and Auburn, the two schools playing for the national title, and McCarron representing Alabama, winner of three of the past four crystal footballs. Even Boston College, which boasts running back Andre Williams as a finalist, has had a previous Heisman winner in Doug Flutie. Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel won the award last year.
Lynch is attempting to become the first player from a non-BCS conference to win the Heisman since Ty Detmer did so in 1990, though he’s a long shot.
Winston is a heavy favorite to win the award.
Lynch said his Huskie teammates were planning on getting together to watch the ceremony, and coach Rod Carey is scheduled to be with Lynch in New York on Saturday.
Friday, Lynch enjoyed the experience but really couldn’t put it in perspective.
“It hasn’t really sunk in yet. I really won’t look back on it until this season’s over with,” he said. “Twenty years down the road, I think it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, especially from the path I took and the journey, being at Northern Illinois, Mid-American Conference. It’s a dream come true.”