Well we are a little over half-way through the College Football season and there have been some great games, great players and great plays that have defined the season up to this point. As little as two weeks ago, we had roughly 13 undefeated teams still left and then within the blink of an eye, we were down to 10. Now after last week, we are down to just 8 and that list will shrink by at least 2 or 3 more of the next couple of weeks. There is also no shortage of individual star power throughout the nation either. You have QBs like Andrew Luck (Stanford), Kellen Moore (Boise St.), Russell Wilson (Wisconsin) & Denard Robinson (Michigan) among others. Then you have RBs like Trent Richardson (Alabama), LaMichael James (Oregon) and Marcus Lattimore (South Carolina). Then the WRs group may be as strong, if not stronger than last year’s group was with the likes of Alshon Jefferey (South Carolina), Robert Woods (USC), Malcolm Floyd (Notre Dame), Justin Blackmon (Okla. St.) and Russell Shephard (LSU). With this group of talent, some of these guys will be great players at the next level and making an impact for whatever team they play for. With that being said, let me give you “My Top 5 Heisman Candidates” as we head into week 9 of the season.
- Andrew Luck (QB) – Maybe two weeks ago, he was not #1 but whether he is #1 or #5, he is one of the best QBs, if not the best in the nation. Even though he lost his coach for the past two seasons (Jim Harbaugh) to the NFL, Luck has continued to do exactly what he did last season, carve up opposing defenses with his arm mainly, and occasionally his feet. He has his team once again in the National Title hunt and after his Cardinal crushed Washington last week, they have their sights set firmly on USC this weekend. Luck is projected as the “next great” pro QB and he seems ready to fit that bill. Of course only time will tell but for a guy whose TD to INT ratio is somewhere around 4 or 5 to 1, I wouldn’t bet against this guy because he has been doing for three seasons now.
- Kellen Moore (QB) – To Boise St.’s opponents it probably seems as if Moore has been playing for close to 10 years in college but the reality is you are looking at a guy that has been knifing up opposing defenses for 4 seasons now. Like Luck, Moore has a lot of attributes that go into the making of a “star” QB on the next level. Unlike, Luck, Moore (5’11) lacks the actual physical status often associated with the prototypical NFL QB. But if nothing else, Moore reminds some of a “new age” Doug Flutie that just knows how to play the position and get his team in the position to win games. Some will say Moore’s Broncos didn’t play the greatest of competition week in and week out but when he has played the “big boys”, he has acquitted himself very well….just ask the Georgia Bulldogs (2011) and Virginia Tech Hokies (2010).
- Trent Richardson (RB) – Richardson split a lot of time / carries in the backfield with Mark Ingram for the Tide last season and they were a force to be reckoned with. But you always wondered how good would Richardson be once Ingram left…I think he silenced any doubters, if he had any. Richardson has the size to run between the tackles and the speed to get to the corner. He is bigger and faster than his former backfield mate and like Ingram, would like to hoist the Heisman Trophy above his head on the way to a possible National Title. Richardson reminds some of former Penn St. RB, Curtis Enis (hopefully his NFL career will not mirror Enis’s) but then others say he looks more like a faster version of former Michigan RB, Anthony Thomas. Regardless of who Richardson reminds you of, one thing is clear, he is a versatile back that can make opposing defenses game plan just for him.
- Russell Wilson (QB) – Some thought Wilson’s collegiate football career would end largely unfulfilled (played / started at N.C. State for a couple of seasons) as new head coach, Tom O’Brien just did not seem comfortable with Wilson at the helm of the team he took over. So as early as March of this year, the versatile Wilson appeared to be ready to embark on the pro baseball career that he had been holding off on. Fast forward 7 months and up to just last week, Wilson and his new team, the Wisconsin Badgers looked like the best team in the Big Ten and were a threat to run the gauntlet and possibly finish undefeated. Now with a loss to Michigan St. last week, the Badgers must re-focus as a team. But for Wilson, he is still a contender for the Heisman; obviously he needs to bounce back with a stellar game this week but Wilson has been the best “game changer” in the nation thus far and his play has definitely been the reason the Badgers have been successful this season.
- Tyrann Mathieu (DB / PR) – Not since the days of Charles Woodson (former Michigan DB / PR – Heisman Winner) has a defensive back been able to impact games the way Mathieu does. He is only a sophomore and he already is LSU’s career leader in turnovers (forced / recovered) and he also returns punts. The one thing to note is even in the year Woodson won the Heisman, he also played WR a bit and that helped him in his campaign for the Heisman. So while the chances of Mathieu lining up on the offensive side of the ball are not likely, his ability to make plays and score TDs for the defense and special teams make him a legitimate candidate at this point in the season. He has scored TDs this season against Oregon, Kentucky and West Virginia.