Even though the polish isn't even dry on this Sam Bradford's
Heisman, it's never too early to dive into next year's race.
Obviously the landscape quickly changes depending on who comes
back and who jumps early to the NFL.
Sports information departments, get ready to hype up these
playmakers. Remember, the Heisman almost always goes to a skill
player on a big-time team, so to keep this in the land of the
real, there aren't any defensive players here.
These stars from non-BCS teams will put up huge numbers, but
will likely be ignored
Arnold, RB Arkansas State; Bryce Beall, RB Houston; DeAndre
Brown, WR Southern Miss; Austin Collie, WR BYU; Damion Fletcher,
RB Southern Miss; Colin Kaepernick, QB Nevada, MiQuale Lewis, RB
Ball State; Bo Levi Mitchell, QB SMU; Kellen Moore, QB Boise
State; Aldrick Robinson, WR SMU; Harvey Unga, RB BYU; Andy
Schmitt, QB Eastern Michigan; Rusty Smith, QB Florida Atlantic;
James Starks, RB Buffalo; Trevor VIttatoe, QB UTEP; Joe Webb, QB
The Watch List
These stars could be this year's out-of-nowhere picks with the right
Jimmy Clausen, QB Notre Dame; Toby Gerhart, RB Stanford; Mike Goodson, RB Texas A&M; A.J. Green, WR
Georgia; Robert Griffin, QB Baylor; P.J. Hill, RB Wisconsin;
Julio Jones, WR Alabama; Jake Locker, QB
Washington; Ryan Mallett, QB Arkansas; Joe McKnight, RB USC;
Michael Smith, RB Arkansas; Adam
Weber, QB Minnesota
Gone to the league of mercenaries
The players in bold would be front-runners for the
Heisman, or at least in the early mix, but they're
almost all certain to be off playing in the National
Fantasy League, uh, National Football League, next year.
This is the top 25 if everyone chooses to return.
1. Sam Bradford, QB Oklahoma
Tim Tebow, QB Florida
Colt McCoy, QB Texas
4. Beanie Wells, RB Ohio State
5. Matthew Stafford, QB Georgia
6. Michael Crabtree, WR Texas Tech
7. Shonn Greene, RB Iowa
8. Percy Harvin, WR Florida
9. Knowshon Moreno, RB Georgia
10. Jeremy Maclin, WR Missouri
Terrelle Pryor, QB Ohio State
Javid Best, RB California
13. LeSean McCoy, RB Pitt
14. C.J. Spiller, RB Clemson
15. Donald Brown, RB Connecticut
Mark Sanchez, QB USC
Nate Davis, QB Ball State
Max Hall, QB BYU
Dan LeFevour, QB Central Mich.
Jacquizz Rodgers, RB Oregon State
Zac Robinson, QB Oklahoma State
22. Josh Freeman, QB Kansas State
DeMarco Murray, RB Oklahoma
Jeremiah Johnson, RB Oregon
Bryant, WR Oklahoma State
Jarrett Brown, QB West Virginia
Pat White was always hovering around the Heisman chase, but he
was never able to get over the hump. His backup, Brown, has been
around long enough to be able to hit the ground running, and he
has players in Noel Devine and Jock Sanders to work with.
24. Jevan Snead, QB Ole Miss
While Snead lost numbers
thanks to the Wild Rebel formation, he proved that he could lead
the way to big wins while improving as the year went on. If by
some chance he's able to get the Rebels by Alabama and into the
SEC title game, the attention will come.
23. Matt Grothe, QB South Florida
If he stops making weird
mistakes and if he's able to lead the way to more wins, he has
just the type of ability to make special things happen that get
Heisman voters excited. A Big East title is a must to even be
considered in the race.
22. Glen Coffee, RB Alabama
Will the offense rely even more on Coffee? It might be
tempting to throw to Julio Jones every other play, but Coffee is
the 100-yard steady rock who could see his numbers blow up with
a bit more work.
21. Charles Scott, RB LSU
The only way he's
remotely in the hunt is if he gets help from the quarterbacks.
No one respected the LSU passing game late in the year and Scott
got stuffed. Even so, he ran for 1,109 yards and 15 touchdowns
before the bowl.
20. Jonathan Dwyer, RB Georgia Tech
The ACC's leading rusher ran for 100 yards or more in five
of his final six games and finished with eight touchdown runs in
his last five games. In the Paul Johnson offense, he'll hit home
run after home run.
19. Case Keenum, QB Houston
Keenum led the nation in
total offense with 4,763 yards passing ant 25 on the ground. The
numbers are staggering, throwing for 43 touchdown passes and
running for five, but Conference USA stars are generally
ignored. Just ask Matt Forte, David Johnson, Kevin Smith, Jarett
Dillard and Chase Clement.
18. Taylor Potts, QB Texas Tech
The next in line, Potts
is a tremendous talent who completed 23-of-36 passes for 260
yards and two touchdowns with an interception in mop-up duty. He
completed nine of his last 11 passes this year.
17. Juice Williams, QB Illinois
The Big Ten's leader in
total offense didn't run as much this season as he did in the
Rose Bowl year of 2007, but that might change as the Illini
tries to rebound from this year's disaster. His passing game has
improved by leaps and bounds.
16. Caleb King, RB Georgia
Assuming Knowshon Moreno and Matthew Stafford are gone being
millionaires, King will likely be the focal point of the Bulldog
offense. While he's not Moreno, he's a big-time back who could
flourish with the heavy workload.
15. Todd Reesing, QB Kansas
The numbers will be
there, but will the team be better? If Kansas can find a little
of the 2007 magic, all of a sudden, Reesing becomes Chase Daniel
and will have an outside shot at being a finalist. With his
style and his numbers, voters would love to find a way to send
him to New York.
Tyrod Taylor, QB Virginia Tech
While he's not Michael Vick, he's a dynamic playmaker who
took over the ACC title game and showed just how much he has
grown as an all-around quarterback. If he's the ACC's star,
he'll be in the spotlight all season long.
13. Dez Bryant, WR Oklahoma State
With Michael Crabtree
almost certain to be off to the NFL, Bryant will take over the
role as the best receiver in the Big 12, and possibly the
nation. Everyone was introduced to him last year, and next year
could be his time to blow up into a mega-star.
LeGarrette Blount, RB Oregon
The touchdown machine should get most of the carries to
himself with Jeremiah Johnson gone. Blount isn't just a power
back; he can move. The numbers could be too impressive to
11. DeMarco Murray, RB Oklahoma
Assuming Sam Bradford is gone, all of a sudden, the OU offense
will lean on the running game even more. If Murray can stay
healthy, he has 1,500-yard potential to go along with the
potential to score 20 touchdowns.
10. Zac Robinson, QB Oklahoma State
It all depends on how much attention and respect the Cowboys
get compared to last year. With most of the star quarterbacks in
the league moving on, and with RB Kendall Hunter and WR Dez
Bryant coming back, Robinson should be in for a huge all-around
9. Jacquizz Rodgers, RB Oregon State
The best offensive
playmaker in he Pac 10 this year will be the featured star of
the conference going into next year. He was on a tear of seven
100-yard games in eight before getting hurt, but he still ran
for 1,253 yards and 11 touchdowns.
8. Dan LeFevour, QB Central Michigan
In what will seem like
his 11th year in the MAC, LeFevour will get both the rushing and
the passing numbers as he tries to get his Chippewas their third
MAC title in four years. If he reverts to his 2007 form, 20
rushing TDs and 20 passing scores will be within reach.
7. Max Hall, QB BYU
year was a problem for the Cougars with the meltdowns against
TCU and Utah killing any Heisman hope for Hall, but he'll have
his star weapons back both in the backfield and in the receiving
corps, led by the nation's leading receiver, Austin Collie.
Expect Bradford-like numbers.
6. Nate Davis, QB Ball State
While MiQuale Lewis and
the running game turned out take away from the passing numbers,
Davis was still special. He'll put up the stats, the team will
win, and he'll be the cause célèbre for those looking to get a
non-BCS player back into the mix.
5. Mark Sanchez, QB USC
Will he have any rstar
eceivers around him? The Trojan attack didn't exactly take off
as expected this season, relying mostly on the defense, but next
year, the Trojans will have to start scoring more to make up for
the losses on the epic D. Sanchez has the name recognition and
he has the talent. Next he'll need the numbers.
4. Javid Best, RB California
Uhhhhh, who? Non-USC Pac
10 players are normally ignored, Oregon's Dennis Dixon being the
exception a few years ago, and no one outside of the Left Coast
has any clue who Best is. That's going to change in a big hurry
as he'll be the hot under-the-radar-guy-who-suddenly-becomes-hip
candidate. Rushing for 512 yards and six touchdowns in the final
two games of the season will do that. Despite being hurt for
stretches, he finished the year with 1,394 yards and 13
3. Terrelle Pryor, QB Ohio State
The guy really is good.
With Beanie Wells almost certain to be off to the NFL, Pryor
will suddenly become the entire Buckeye offense. The coaching
staff will let him do far more, make far more downfield passes,
and will lean on him to be the nation's newest all-around
2. Colt McCoy, QB Texas
He says he's sticking
around, but don't be stunned if it becomes a last minute
decision based on what Sam Bradford and Matthew Stafford try to
do. If he's back, he's neck-and-neck with Tebow all season long
in one of the greatest Heisman races of all-time.
1. Tim Tebow, QB Florida
There's a reason the guy got the most first place votes in
the 2008 balloting. He'll spend the year trying to become more
of an NFL passer, but in the end, he'll end up carrying the
entire Gator offense when things get tight. There will be a
backlash because all the media attention will be off the charts,
and the entire act will be a bit grating, but the career might
be too good not to make the guy the second two-timer.