Here we go with the moment you have all been waiting for: The 2008 Heismanpundit.com Preseason Heisman Watch. There are a million Heisman lists written up every preseason, but this is the only one that matters!
Unlike a lot of Heisman watches, my preseason list is intended to determine which players have the best chance of actually winning the trophy at season’s end. If a player does not have a realistic shot at winning the Heisman, he is not on this list.
Therefore, the following ranking is NOT a prediction of the eventual order of the voting (so calm down Gator fans), but a gauge of the strengths of each of the top candidates based on The Ten Heismandments. Other players who are not on this list will get votes and finish high in the race but won’t win. I will put out top 10 updates predicting the order of the vote from time to time, but this is not one of those times.
I can say with extreme confidence that the Heisman winner will come from the following group of players. THESE ARE THE GUYS WITH THE BEST CHANCE! Here we go:
1. Chris ‘Beanie’ Wells, Jr., RB., Ohio State–A perfect candidate. A top talent from a traditional power that will compete for a national title. Has the schedule and the name recognition to run away with this. His stiff arm could be more famous than the trophy’s by season’s end.
2. Chase Daniel, Sr., QB, Missouri–Outside of Tim Tebow, he’s the top returning vote getter from last season. Well-known quarterback playing in an exciting offense and an emerging program. Will put up big numbers once again and could win the Heisman if the Tigers make a serious title run.
3. Patrick White, Sr., QB, West Virginia–Might end up as one of the biggest winners in college football history. Dangerous runner who could win the Heisman if he can up his passing stats and lead his team to yet another 11-win season.
4. Stafon Johnson, Jr., RB, USC–The last seven USC tailbacks to top 1,400 rushing yards at some point in their careers have either won the Heisman or finished second in the voting. Johnson looks like he may break out from a crowded running back corps and have that kind of year.
5. Percy Harvin, Jr., WR/RB, Florida–Can do-it-all when healthy. He’ll benefit from Tebow’s exposure and the explosiveness of the Gators offense. If he gets 1,000 rushing and 1,000 receiving, look out.
6. Colt McCoy, Jr., QB, Texas–If he can regain his freshman year form, he could be a top contender. Has added more rushing yards to his repertoire, but must cut down on his interceptions.
7. Keiland Williams, Jr., RB, LSU–With the LSU quarterback position unsettled, look for the Tigers to lean on Williams in the early going. That could mean a hot start and a chance to emerge as a serious Heisman candidate.
8. Graham Harrell, Sr., QB, Texas Tech–To have a chance at the Heisman, he basically has to break every single-season passing record in existence while leading TTU to the Big 12 title and beyond. If anyone can do it….
9. Matt Stafford, Jr., QB, Georgia–A top pro prospect who has yet to put it together for a whole season. Plays in a system that doesn’t produce big numbers, but could still get attention based on his team’s success.
10. Marlon Lucky, Sr., RB, Nebraska–Once upon a time, the Nebraska I-back was a shoo-in Heisman contender. But Lucky won’t get a single vote unless Nebraska somehow revives under Bo Pelini. If that happens, Lucky will probably be seen as one of the main reasons why. And Heisman voters may take notice.