1.) Oregon Quarterback Marcus Mariota.
|courtesy of cbssports.com|
33 carries, 214 yards, 3 rushing TDs.
Mariota and the number two ranked Oregon Ducks had a big scare, but were able to pull away and defeat an unranked Washington State team on the road last Saturday night to improve to a 4-0 overall record. Despite the team's close call, Mariota was dynamic as he completed 21 of 25 passes for 329 yards and five touchdowns with ZERO interceptions. He's completed almost 75 percent of his passes this season, a big jump from 2013 when he completed just 63.5 percent.
It appears that Mariota made the right decision to come back to school for one more year because he has improved in throwing the ball from the pocket and with his accuracy. He is the best quarterback in the country right now and has to be the frontrunner for the Heisman. The schedule is going to get even tougher for Mariota and the Ducks with looming games against undefeated Arizona, UCLA and a one loss Stanford team on the horizon.
|courtesy of usatoday|
2014 Season Stats: 41 carries, 402 yards, 4TDs
While the Georgia Bulldogs completely destroyed Troy by a whopping 66-0, running back Todd Gurley did not see much playing time in the game as he ran just six times for no touchdowns. However those six carries led to 73 yards so if he was given more playing time, the numbers would've been insane. Even though it might be helping Gurley long-term by saving his body for the NFL and not having it take punishment against a terrible Troy squad, all of the Heisman momentum has gone to Mariota.
I still think Gurley is the most explosive player in college football right now and he's been proving it by averaging 9.8 yards per carry. Upcoming conference games against Tennessee and Vanderbilt will give him chances to put up big numbers once again.
|courtesy of fishduck.com|
2014 Season Stats: 43 receptions, 655 yards, 5TDs.
Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper was solid in 2013 (45 receptions, 736 yards, 4TDs). But he has almost eclipsed those numbers already this season. In the Crimson Tide's 42-21 win over Florida, Cooper had a monster game with 10 catches for 201 yards and three touchdowns! In every game this season, he has had at least 130 yards receiving and in three of the four games has caught the ball at least 10 times.
It's gotten to the point where opposing defenses and even everybody in the stadium know that the ball is going to Cooper on a big play and the wideout still gets the job done. He has rocketed up the Heisman board and even though wide receivers rarely win, Cooper has a great chance with a big showdown against #10 Ole Miss on October 4th. Is he the next A.J. Green or Julio Jones? It'll be fun to find out.
4.) Texas A&M Quarterback Kenny Hill.
|courtesy of businessinsider|
Kenny Hill, or 'Kenny Trill' as he prefers to be called, has been lighting it up for Texas A&M so far in the 2014 season. To go with the stats mentioned above, Hill has completed 73.3 percent of his passes and has a QBR of 181.3. This past week in a blowout win over SMU, Hill completed 16 of 22 passes for 265 yards and two touchdowns, along with his first interception this season.
Hill has done a great job in allowing Aggie fans to temporarily forget about heralded Heisman winning quarterback Johnny Manziel leaving, but can both of their successes be attributed to the system that they play for under head coach Kevin Sumlin? The schedule will start to get a lot harder for Hill and the Aggies as four of their next six games will be against ranked opponents in the SEC.
5.) Mississippi State Quarterback Dak Prescott.
|courtesy of bleacherreport|
62 carries, 378 yards, 3TDs.
Don't look now, but the Mississippi State quarterback has launched himself into the Heisman race, thanks to his ability to both throw and run with the football. Last Saturday, Prescott and the Bulldogs pulled off a huge upset on the road by defeating the eighth ranked LSU Tigers. He was the difference maker, completing 15 of 24 passes for 268 yards with two touchdowns and zero interceptions. He also ran for 105 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries.
To go into a hostile playing environment, like Death Valley, and play with the confidence and poise that Prescott displayed was very impressive. The Bulldogs are undefeated with a 4-0 overall record and the win against LSU has proven to be Prescott's breakout moment on the national stage. If he puts up similar performances in their next two games against Hill and #6 Texas A&M and #5 Auburn, Prescott will be vaulted to the forefront of this race.
OTHERS TO WATCH FOR
6.) Nebraska Running Back Ameer Abdullah.
2014 Season Stats: 92 carries, 625 yards, 5TDs. 5 catches, 108 yards, 2TDs.
7.) Notre Dame Quarterback Everett Golston.
2014 Season Stats: 62/96, 780 yards, 7TDs and 0INTs.
29 carries, 83 yards, 4TDs.
8.) Florida State Quarterback Jameis Winston.
2014 Season Stats: 47/67, 626 yards, 3TDs and 2INTs.
7 carries, 11 yards, 1TD.