A few days ago Dom posted his Heisman Candidates ranking the Top 15 with an added bonus of 5 sleeper picks for your enjoyment. Being as competitive as I am I want to have more candidates left on my list than him as the season progresses. This is proving pretty difficult considering how early it is and the fact that Dom apparently paid attention to my Heisman Buster Articles over last season. Regardless, I have managed to put together a list of guys to watch.
Note: I am not even going to humor anyone by adding in WR’s, if Crabtree wasn’t in the running than no other WR in the foreseeable future will be either.
The Default Three: Finalists/ Past Winners
Exactly the same as Dom had put it, except with a different order.
QB Colt McCoy: Texas
QB Tim Tebow: Florida
QB Sam Bradford: Oklahoma
Why is Colt the early Favorite?:
Colt McCoy should have won the Heisman this past season for the same reason that Tebow deserved to win it the year before. Bradford was probably the best pure quarterback in the nation, but McCoy did more for his team to win. The Heisman isn’t the Davey O’Brien and it is not the Doak Walker, it is the best College Football Player. From my perspective McCoy embodied that notion and did all the things needed to put Texas in the best position to win as a player, not just a quarterback.
Tebow. When the media starts debating whether or not a player is the best ever it should make other candidates nervous. Two National Championships and Two Heismans provides for a pretty solid story line. Especially, in a time when “athletes are so out of control” and good ol’ home schooled Tebow is standing right there ready to accept the honors.
The Rest of the Pack
QB Terrelle Pryor: The Ohio State University
2008: 631 Rush Yds, 1,311 Passing Yds, 6 Rush Tds, 12 Passing TDs, 4 INTs, 1 Receiving TD, 145.62 QB Rating
Pryor made an immediate impact on the Buckeyes last season and gave the nation a taste of what he is capable of doing. It has been a long time since I have seen a freshman quarterback step into such a huge role and handle himself the way Pryor did. The scariest thing about his performance was how quick his learning curve. While he did have freshman moments there is no doubt that his athleticism will land him a Heisman before he leaves Columbus.
RB Jahvid Best: California
2008: 1,580 Rush Yds, 246 Rec Yds, 2,247 All Purpose Yds, 16 Total TDs, 131.7 Rush YPG, 8.14 YPC
Best was on my list of Heisman Busters for the majority of last season, and deservedly so. His 2008 numbers are impressive especially considering that he missed a game due to injury and his touches were limited because of it. If he can stay healthy and Cal can keep on track Best is poised to be the premiere back in the nation.
RB Noel Devine: West Virginia
2008: 1289 Rush Yds, 185 Receiving Yds, 1537 AP Yds, 4 TDs, 99.15 Yds PPG
Were still waiting. The follow up to powerhouse Slaton was supposed to be the sequel that everyone actually wanted to see. Unfortunately, he has been in White’s shadow and his rushing numbers may have been affected by his quarterbacks happy feet. Look for the sophomore slump to be over and Devine to be on top of the Big East rushing board.
RB: Joe McKnight: USC
2008: 89 Attempts, 659 Yds, 2 TD, 21 Rec, 193 Yds, 1 TD
This was a tough call for me. McKnight might be one of the most physically gifted backs in the nation, but he has been stuck in a role player position. With the face of USC changing, McKnight might finally have a chance to shine.
QB: Max Hall: BYU
2008: 3,957 Passing Yds, 330/478 69%, 35 TD, 14 INT, 156.88 QB Rating
I was leading the Max Hall bandwagon last year, and am big on Non-BCS school getting some recognition for their performances. Fortunately, he fell short against Arizona in the Vegas Bowl. I thank him for that. That being said I think Hall has the skill to put up huge numbers again, and be considered a solid sleeper throughout the majority of the season.
QB Kellen Moore: Boise State
2008: 3,486 Yds, 281/405 69.4%, 25 TD, 10 INT, 157.11 QB Rating
Try as I might to stray away from the Boise phenomenon Kellen Moore really gets my attention. His numbers are really impressive considering he was just a freshman. Boise will continue to get better while maintaining national coverage left over from a Fiesta Bowl that seemingly ended ages ago. Moore just needs to keep doing what he has been doing and eventually the accolades will start to come his way.
QB Zac Robinson: Oklahoma State
2008: 562 Rush Yds, 3,064 Pass Yds, 8 Rush TDs, 25 Passing TDs, 10 INTs, 235 Passing YPG, 166.84 QB Rating
Zac Robinson had a brief stint in the limelight last year and his OK State team made some noise. The fact of the matter is that being a Big 12 quarterback comes with some huge expectations these days. Were Robinson playing in another conference he may garner more attention towards Heisman Candidacy than he will in his current conference.
RB Evan Royster: Penn State
2008: 1,236 Rush Yds, 160 Rec. Yds, 12 TDs, 6.47 YPC
Royster is another guy that was on my Heisman Busters list last season. Towards the end of Penn State’s run it started to appear that Clarke’s presence was more important than Roysters and he started to fall out of the spot light. I was able to watch a good amount of Penn St football last year, and it appeared that Royster was feeling the effects of sharing the work load. If Royster is able to be the main back and get his touches he will be near the top of the Big Ten Rushing board.
RB Jonathon Dwyer: Georgia Tech
2008: 200 Attempts, 1,395 Yds, 12 TD, 8 Rec, 209 Yds, 1 TD
No one could have seen the success that the newly implemented triple option would have at GTech. Dwyer was a big part of that getting 200 touches in 2008. Georgia Tech is a sleeper team and every underdog needs a face for national coverage. I think Jonathon Dwyer should be it in 2009.
QB Tony Pike: Cincinnati
2008: 2,407 Passing Yds, 199/324 61.4%, 19 TD, 11 INT, 136.39 QB Rating
Cincinnati earned a bid to their first BCS Bowl game last season, and although they fell to Virginia Tech it is a big step for the program. Pike is a guy that the Bearcats will be relying on to be successful in 2009. He is a long shot for Heisman, but hey the Big East gets an automatic bid so anything can happen.
QB Andy Dalton: TCU
2008: 2,242 Passing Yds, 182/307 59.3%, 11 TD, 5 INT
Not a lot to say, but think that his name should come up considering the majority of people probably don’t recognize it. The Mountain West is an interesting conference that shouldn’t be overlooked. Keep in mind that you can thank the MWC for one of the most over used phrases in College Football: “BCS Buster”.
RB MiQuale Lewis: Ball State
2008: 322 Attempts, 1,736 Yds, 22 TD, 35 Rec, 325 Yds, 0 Fumbles
You have to give it up for the little guy. MiQuale gets it done week in and week out and it is great to see a MAC team getting some national recognition. Unfortunately, he does play in the MAC and that is reason enough to not give him a shot at the Heisman.