Vol duo in Heisman chase

Tennessee hasn't had a football player contend for the Heisman Trophy in five years. This year, however, the Vols will have two. So say the folks at Collegefootballnews.com.

Pete Fiutak and Richard Cirminiello agree that UT running back Gerald Riggs, Jr., will be one of the top 25 Heisman candidates. Fiutak tabs Riggs 22nd on his hot 100, while Cirminiello lists him at No. 14. The CFN.com experts also agree that Tennessee's quarterback will be one of the top 20 candidates; they just can't agree on who that might be.

Cirminiello hedged and listed the eventual winner of the competition between Erik Ainge, Rick Clausen and the soon-to-depart Brent Schaeffer as No. 18 on his Heisman list. Fiutak tabbed Ainge to win the job and rated him No. 5 on his list of Heisman hopefuls. Still, Fiutak qualifies a bit by noting: ''First, Ainge has to beat out Rick Clausen for the starting job. Next, he has to win at Florida and at LSU. If he does those three things, he'll be the number two man behind Matt Leinart all year long.''

Fiutak's top five picks are 1) Leinart, the Southern Cal QB who won the Heisman in 2004, 2) USC running back Reggie Bush, 3) Minnesota running back Laurence Maroney, 4) Oklahoma running back Adrian Peterson and 5) Ainge.

Cirminiello's top five are 1) Leinart, 2) Texas quarterback Vince Young, 3) Peterson, 4) Bush and 5) Florida quarterback Chris Leak.

Here's a look at all of the SEC players mentioned by the CFN.com analysts (The number at left is Fiutak's pick, with Cirminiello's rating in parenthesis):

5. Ainge, QB, Tennessee (18)
8. Leak, QB, Florida (5)
22. Riggs, RB, Tennessee (14)
27. D.J. Shockley, QB, Georgia (41)
45. Alley Broussard, RB, LSU (52)
61. JaMarcus Russell, QB, LSU (35)
64. Brodie Croyle, QB, Alabama (43)
67. Ken Darby, RB, Alabama (59)
69. DeShawn Wynn, RB, Florida (not listed)
71. Thomas Brown, RB, Georgia (26)
77. ???????, QB, South Carolina (75)
79. Tre Smith, RB, Auburn (62)
80. De'Arrius Howard, RB, Arkansas (not listed)

Cirminiello tabbed two SEC players that Fiutak did not -- Mississippi State running back Jerious Norwood (No. 87) and Florida's top receiver (No. 93). Cirminiello hedged on the latter by noting that the Gators' top pass-catcher could be Andre Caldwell or Dallas Baker.

Other players of note who made at least one of the two lists include:

• Memphis running back DeAngelo Williams (No. 9 on each list), who will visit Neyland Stadium on Nov. 12.

• Miami quarterback Kyle Wright (Fiutak's No. 21, Cirminiello's No. 25), a player heavily recruited by UT out of high school.

Louisville quarterback Brian Brohm (Fiutak's No. 25, Cirminiello's No. 44), another player heavily recruited by UT.

Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn (Fiutak's No. 43, Cirminiello's No. 31), who will face the Vols Nov. 5 in South Bend.

Penn State receiver Derrick Williams (Fiutak's No. 66, Cirminiello's No. 97), another player UT recruited heavily.

• Alabama Birmingham quarterback Darrell Hackney (Fiutak's No. 94, Cirminiello's No. 53), who will visit Neyland Stadium for the Vols' Sept. 3 opener.

Virginia linebacker Ahmad Brooks (Cirminiello's No. 74), another player UT recruited heavily.

• Southern Cal receiver Steve Smith (Cirminiello's No. 85), another player UT recruited heavily.


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