The First Heisman Watch of 2009

With all the early entry candidates announced, here’s how I see the Heisman race shaping up right now.  These are the guys who I think have the best chance to actually win the Heisman:

1.  Colt McCoy, Texas–He was last year’s Heisman runner up and was about 2 seconds away from winning it (before he was foiled by Crabtree and Tech), so I can see Heisman voters giving him prime consideration this season.  It helps that guys like Jordan Shipley and Malcolm Williams are back to catch his passes and, no doubt, he’ll still be getting some yards with his feet as well.  Also, the Longhorn schedule is favorable and they could well go undefeated.

2.  Tim Tebow, Florida–He could become the Grover Cleveland of the Heisman, winning the trophy twice but in non-consecutive seasons.   Voters obviously have tremendous respect for the guy, but let’s not forget that Tebow fatigue is a real issue and voters tend to gravitate toward the fresher face.

3.  Jahvid Best, Cal–The nation’s most exciting running back, he’ll put up highlight run after highlight run.  If he stays healthy–a big if–a 2,000-yard season seems feasible.  The biggest hurdle that voters will be watching for:  How he does against USC.

4.  Terrelle Pryor, Ohio State–He showed his talent against Texas in the Fiesta Bowl, when he nearly led the upset.  I can see him coming back next year as a better thrower, which will make him even more dangerous.  He’s got a big early game with USC to establish his Heisman credentials.

5.  Daryll Clark, Penn State–He showed he was a big time player in his first season as a starter and he should continue to grow in 2009.  If he can lead the Nittany Lions to another Big Ten title, he’ll get some Heisman acclaim.

6.  Jevan Snead, Ole Miss–The talented quarterback of a hot, up-and-coming team, he could be like Eli Manning, who finished third in the Heisman for the Rebs in 2003 and then was the first pick in the draft.

7.  Joe McKnight, USC–His place here is more the result of his potential rather than his production.  No player at USC has been hyped more in recent seasons, so if he ever lives up to it, he’ll reap the rewards of being a Trojan tailback.

8.  Noel Devine, West Virginia–With Pat White gone, the spotlight is all on Devine.  He quietly had a 1,300-yard sophomore season.  Look for him to make a big jump as a junior.

9.  Zac Robinson, Oklahoma State–A very efficient passer and nimble runner, he could be all that stands in between Texas/Oklahoma and a possible undefeated season.  As underrated as they come in college football.

10.  Sam Bradford, Oklahoma–If anyone is going to win two Heismans, I’d think it would be Tim Tebow, not Bradford.  It will be hard for Bradford to duplicate his success of this past season, what with four of OU’s linemen departing.  He’ll be in the conversation for the Heisman–especially early–but winning it is a long shot.

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Chris Huston, A.K.A. ‘The Heisman Pundit‘, is a Heisman voter and the creator and publisher of, a site dedicated to analysis of the Heisman Trophy and college football. Dubbed “the foremost authority on the Heisman” by Sports Illustrated, HP is regularly quoted or cited during football season in newspapers across the country. He is also a regular contributor on sports talk radio and television.

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22 Responses to The First Heisman Watch of 2009

  1. Old Ducker January 16, 2009 at 7:04 pm #

    The case for Jeremiah Masoli:

  2. Robert January 16, 2009 at 9:40 pm #

    Thank you for getting back on the Tebow bandwagon.

  3. Roby January 17, 2009 at 12:21 am #

    That comment doesn’t make any sense.

  4. Hoag January 17, 2009 at 12:41 am #

    No love for Masoli? For shaaaame

  5. Leland January 18, 2009 at 7:21 am #

    It’ll be like ’05 over again.

    I get the feeling that Tebow will beat out McCoy, even though the Horns will go undefeated next season.

    I’d like to see Colt win, but hey, Colt says he’d much rather have a crystal football than a stiff-arm statute….

  6. Bob January 18, 2009 at 10:53 am #

    Come on… McKnight has no chance, with Johnson and Gable sharing time.

    Surely there’s a darkhorse out there worth mentioning.

  7. ross January 18, 2009 at 4:14 pm #

    I’d say a shot in the dark could be Mallet at Arkansas. If he is able to take full control of Petrino’s offense, then he could put up some nice numbers.

    I’d also throw Corp or Mustain’s name into the hat, whoever the QB is for USC will always get a little heisman buzz

  8. A-Train January 19, 2009 at 12:31 am #

    Demarco Murray Ya heard

  9. trex January 19, 2009 at 3:19 pm #

    How about we wait until Mallet takes a snap in the SEC before crowning him a Heisman candidate?

  10. tigercpa January 20, 2009 at 9:52 am #

    Spiller, now that he is returning could be a dark horse…

    As the feature back, he’ll need a much improved o-line in order for this to happen.

    He’ll likely get 25-35 touches a game, including RB, KR, PR, and some receptions as well.

  11. slippy January 21, 2009 at 3:40 pm #

    For Spiller to win Clemson would probably have to go undefeated…if all the other candidates have down years maybe 10 wins would do it.

  12. Adam January 22, 2009 at 9:48 am #

    Any non-BCS darkhorses HP?

  13. jayhawkhomer January 23, 2009 at 11:25 pm #


  14. TorBear January 26, 2009 at 6:23 pm #

    Dan LeFevour – There’s a dark horse non-BCS player for you.

    I know, I know: fat chance. But Adam asked.

  15. Leland January 29, 2009 at 7:03 pm #

    Jordan Shipley for Heisman!

    (Just kidding; of course Colt will be going back to New York)

  16. Cody January 29, 2009 at 9:44 pm #

    Really? No Joe Cox? 🙂

  17. Auman76 February 1, 2009 at 12:46 pm #

    HP, forget the 2009 Heisman talk it’s time to talk about recruiting! You’re missing out on a lot of conversations and hits for your site. In years past you had some good info and reliable sources on who is going where. Afterall, one of these kids will eventually win the Heisman so get the ball rollin old man and give us something new to discuss.
    By the way a QB will win again in this sling the ball around 50 times a game enviroment. Being a Gaytor (to all: screw PC this BS is for fun and if you don’t have a sense of humor you don’t deserve to breath the air in your lungs, so exhale and allow someone who knows how to enjoy life to use it!) Hater I hate to admit it but Tebow will post huge stats in ’09 and be the leader most of the season. We saw that the lil12 stats are due to no defense at all so not so Tiny Tim will recieve a few extra brownie points for his performance. That will put him over the top and make him the second two time trophy winner.

  18. willhclark April 15, 2009 at 12:30 am #

    Case Keenum of Houston should be the front runner. That he is’nt just shows how screwed up college football is with all these bowls, no playoff, and absurdity of style points.

  19. WDH August 9, 2009 at 8:51 am #

    LeFevour should get a shot.


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