Monday, September 14, 2009 PTI: Early Heisman Watch

With the top three vote-getters in last years Heisman Trophy Award returning to college in 2009, this year’s Heisman race is very exciting. With two weeks under our belt this season, Chris and Adam have decided to examine the Heisman Race to see who might end up with some hardware at the end of the year.


Colt McCoy finished 2nd in last years Heisman Race, and he very well could be the favorite this year. He led his team in both passing and rushing yards last year, so he basically just strapped the Longhorns’ offense on his back and carried them to the Fiesta Bowl. There is no reason to believe that his performance from last year wont be repeated. His favorite target, Jordan Shipley is back and McCoy is already off to a good start. He has thrown for 654 yards and 5 touchdowns through 2 games and Texas looks very good so far this season. McCoy only has 41 rushing yards so far, but he can win the Heisman on his arm alone.

Tim Tebow actually had more first place votes than anyone in last year’s Heisman voting, but finished 3rd in total points. Tebow is still very popular with the voters and he is looking to become only the second player in college football history to win 2 Heismans along with Archie Griffin of The Ohio State University. Tebow lost Percy Harvin and Louis Murphy this season, so he is missing some of his favorite weapons from a season ago. Look for Jeff Demps, Deonte Thompson, David Nelson, Riley Cooper and Aaron Hernandez to step up if Tebow wants to get his 2nd Heisman. With Florida’s recruiting ability it is almost a given that at least one of these players will emerge as a star, so Tebow should be fine even without Murphy and Harvin.

Running back Jahvid Best, of the University of California, has 281 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns in two games this season and he is currently ranked 5th in rushing yards. He has only rushed 27 times which means he is averaging 140.5 yards per carry. Not too shabby. Once the Bears find themselves in tight games, Best will be their main option and his numbers shoot improve. The Bears have been turning some heads early this season. They put up 52 and 59 points in their first two games this year and they are currently ranked 8th and will likely move up in the rankings. Best’s chance at the Heisman will likely be won or lost in two back to back games when the Bears play Oregon on September 26 and USC on October 3.

Penn State running back Evan Royster is another player to watch for this year’s Heisman Trophy race. Royster is so good that he even has his own fan club at Penn State games. “The Blue Royster Cult” will tell you that this running back is the real deal. If you watched his performance last year against Michigan, you know this kid is capable of breaking a game wide open. Royster rushed for 174 yards on 18 carries in that performance. If he can put up a couple of games like that this year and the Nittany Lions are as good as many people think they are, Royster could find himself in the thick of things when the Heisman is awarded this year.

Georgia Tech running back Jonathan Dwyer was named the ACC Player of the Year in 2008, and he could be the best player in college football this season. Georgia Tech’s option scheme fits Dwyer’s flashy style perfectly and many believe he is the best back in football this season. D-Train rushed for 1,328 yards last year to go along with 12 touchdowns. Dwyer has only 161 yards and 2 touchdowns through the first 2 games of the season, but he sat out the entire second half of the first game against Jacksonville State so his numbers are misleading to this point.

Darkhorse: Todd Reesing, QB of the Kansas Jayhawks. I really like tiny Todd Reesing. He has thrown for 468 yards and 3 touchdowns in the Jayhawks’ first two games. He threw for 3,888 yards and 32 touchdowns last season and his numbers should be slightly better this year. I love the way Reesing plays, moving all over the place in the backfield and slinging the ball downfield to his receivers. I think it is a long shot for him to win the Heisman simply because he is playing with a supporting cast that is not really all that great. If Kansas is going to have a good season in 2009, it will be because Reesing carries them. But with his explosive playmaking ability and pocket presence, who knows just how far he can carry the Jayhawks.


I agree with the top two from Chris’s list. Colt McCoy, my favorite to win this year and who I thought should win last year, and Tim Tebow are the easy favorites. McCoy is the rare quarterback who can lead his team in rushing and had less weapons around him than both Tebow (Percy Harvin) and Bradford (two 1000 yard backs and a stable of wide receivers) had last year.

Oregon State running back Jacquizz Rodgers is the top player in the next tier of elite college players this year. After leading Oregon State to an upset over USC last year as a freshman, Rodgers has continued to impress early this season. Following a week one win against lowly Portland State in which Rodgers ran for 103 yards and 3 touchdowns on only 16 carries (6.4 yard average), Jacquizz followed up with 166 yards and 1 touchdown in a close win at UNLV. On the season Rodgers has 269 yards and 4 touchdowns rushing to go with 14 catches for 97 yards receiving out of the backfield. Rodgers already has a third of the touchdowns he had last year and half of the receptions. If Rodgers can keep up his 6.4 yard per carry average rushing and continue to be productive as a receiver out of the backfield, he has a chance to crash the quarterback party in New York in December.

Jarrett Brown sat behind Pat White for the last few years at West Virginia, but it is now his turn to shine in the Mountaineers spread offense. At 6’4” and 220 pounds, Brown has more size than White did and has a better arm. He is not as fast as White, but in two games this season, Brown has 142 yards and a touchdown on only 19 carries (7.5 yards per carry). Brown has also shown that he can be productive through the air with 243 yards in week one against Liberty and 334 yards and 4 touchdowns over East Carolina in week two. In those two games, Brown is averaging over 10 yards per attempt. Playing in the Big East, Brown and West Virginia have a good chance to win the Big East and maybe even run the table. Brown should have a BCS bowl around the corner when the voters choose the winner this year and the voters usually favor players from the top teams.

Mid-major quarterbacks Kellen Moore of Boise State and Max Hall of BYU have a chance to crash the BCS party and the Heisman party this year. I couldn’t decide which one has a better chance at the Heisman because they both have been impressive and have earned big wins early this season. BYU was ranked 9th going into the games this weekend after knocking off #3 Oklahoma and Boise State was close behind at #12 after beating then #18 Oregon. So both quarterbacks are playing for highly ranked teams and have already shown their abilities in big time wins. Statistically, in two games, Moore has thrown for 504 yards and 5 touchdowns (197 and 1 TD against Oregon and 307 and 4 TDs against Miami (OH)) and should be able to put up even bigger numbers playing in the Western Athletic Conference for the rest of the season. Hall has 638 yards and 4 touchdowns (329 and 2 TDs at Oklahoma and 309 and 2 TDs at Tulane). However, Hall has 3 interceptions in those two games. The main knocks against Moore and Hall is that they play for mid-majors and neither one has the running ability that McCoy, Tebow, and Brown have. If BYU or Boise State can run the table, the quarterback should be able to earn an invitation to New York.

Darkhorse: Tate Forcier, Michigan QB and Aaron Opelt, Toledo QB
Again, I couldn’t make up my mind between the two. Forcier has a legitimate chance to earn an invitation to the Heisman ceremony at the end of the year, but Opelt will need everything to fall in place to be in the conversation at the end of the year.
Forcier has led Michigan to a 2-0 start as a freshman in Rich Rodriguez’s spread offense at Michigan, possibly saving RichRod from the hot seat early in the season. Following a 179 yard, 3 TD performance in week one, Forcier led the Wolverines to an upset of #18 Notre Dame 240 yards passing and 2 TDs to go with 70 yards and another TD rushing. On the year, Forcier has 419 yards and 5 TDs passing with only one interception, while running for 107 yards (4.5 per carry) and another TD. If Forcier can lead UM to the top of the Big Ten and the Rose Bowl (or the BCS championship game), he has a good chance to be the first freshman to win the Heisman.
I included Opelt as a darkhorse due to the absurd statistics that he has put up against some solid BCS conference teams in Purdue and Colorado. Opelt threw for 423 yards and 3 TDs in a 52-31 loss at Purdue in week 1. At home against Colorado in week 2, Opelt led the Rockets to a 54-38 victory by throwing for 319 yards and 4 TDs while running for 109 yards (on 8 carries) and 2 TDs. If the Rockets could play some defense, Opelt may be able to lead the Rockets to a better record, but giving up 90 points in two games could torpedo Opelt’s campaign because it will be hard to average enough points to overcome that porous a defense and win enough games to garner attention from the voters. On individual statistics alone though, Opelt is in a different stratosphere. Against solid teams from two major conferences, Opelt already has 742 yards and 7 TDs through the air and 132 yards on only 12 carries (11 yards per carry) and 2 TDs on the ground. All together, that is 874 yards and 9 TDs in only 2 games. While not a serious candidate, Opelt could sneak in if he can keep these numbers up all year (around 4500 yards and 42 TDs passing and 800 yards and 12 TDs rushing assuming he plays 12 games).

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Marc Edelman said...

As far as Tebow goes, I went to my first U of Florida football game this Saturday and have never seen anything like it.As the team walked into the stadium, Tebow had two police officers serving as his personal escort.

For his sake, I hope he gets as much protection on the field as he does off it.

Crazy Canton Cuts said...

like to see a defensive player win this for once

Bloglifetime said...

Thank you SO MUCH for this post. I loved it. Thank you for having the courage to be real......

Adam said...

I would have liked to include a defensive player on the countdown, but I was greatly disappointed with safety Taylor Mays of USC against Ohio State on Saturday. I was at the game, and even before he got hurt in the middle of the game, Mays was not an impact player as Ohio State was able to get big passing plays down the middle of the field.
The best defensive player in the game in my opinion was OSU defensive lineman Cameron Heyward who was everywhere. He hit QB Matt Barkley a few times and stuffed the run all night while helping the Buckeyes hold USC's offense without a real scoring drive until 5 minutes were left in the game.

Adam said...

To clarify, I am not saying Heyward should be on the Heisman short list. I am just explaining why I left Mays, whom I thought was the best defensive candidate, off the list.

rakeback said...

I think Tim Tebow ties Archie this year. His team is ranked number 1 and there is no other clear cut contender aside from Colt McCoy and hes playing about average this year.