Future Heisman Candidates from the Class of 2009

Signing Day is upon us.  There are many of you out there, I believe, who prefer following recruiting more than watching your team play.  Just another reason to argue about who has the best players, right?  And on Signing Day, all the teams are undefeated and hope springs eternal.

Now, to get you even more excited, here is a list of the players from the 2009 class who I believe we are most likely to see mentioned as Heisman candidates in the coming years:

Bryce Brown, RB, Miami or Oregon–Where Brown ends up could eventually determine his Heisman future.  On the one hand, going to Miami could potentially give him more media exposure but, on the other, playing in Chip Kelly’s offense could result in some big-time yardage.   He reminds me of a Jonathan Stewart type, though maybe a bit shiftier and with not quite as much home run speed.   Will probably take a season to adjust to the level of competition–he played HS football in Kansas, after all–but once he adjusts, look out!

Matt Barkley, QB, USC—He’s a throwback to the days when quarterbacks were statues back there in the pocket, but he’s got the passing skills to put up big numbers in USC’s offense, which prefers that its quarterbacks not run anyway. Not an especially exciting player, but a real solid technician who played in a high level of competition in high school.

Russell Shepard, QB, LSU—
One of the most exciting dual-threat quarterbacks to come out of high school in the last few years. Should be very effective in the spread after a couple seasons of maturing. The best player in LSU’s top-rated class.

Garrett Gilbert, QB, Texas–If Colt McCoy never wins a Heisman, then Gilbert might be the first Longhorn quarterback to do so a few years from now. He should thrive in the Texas scheme, which seems to be tailor-made for his skills.

Tate Forcier, QB, Michigan—You might wonder at this pick, but Forcier should be a pretty good fit for Rich Rodriguez’ offense. He is very quick and athletic and he can throw, too. He’ll be in Ann Arbor for spring ball, so he has a chance to very quickly take over the reins of the offense.

Jordan Reed, QB, Florida—A big, mobile quarterback in the mold of Tim Tebow and former Florida backup Cameron Newton. Has a quicker release and stronger arm than Tebow, though not quite as nimble running downfield. At 6-3, 235, he can be another Tebow-style quarterback, which may mean another Tebow-style Heisman run.

Mike Gillislee, RB, Florida—Ho-hum, another running back with great breakaway speed has signed up for duty in Gainesville. This guy can flat-out run (and catch, too) and should be an immediate contributor next season.

Fitzgerald Toussaint, RB, Michigan—At some point, a star running back will emerge for the Wolverines and Toussaint looks like he can be the guy to do it. He’s the tallest (5-10) of an army of waterbugs that Rich Rodriguez has brought into Michigan in this class and he’s quick, shifty and can go downtown with the ball. And anyway, with that kind of name, he has to be good, right? Go to this link for his highlights.

These are my elite guys.  I’ll add to this list more in the next couple days.

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Chris Huston, A.K.A. ‘The Heisman Pundit‘, is a Heisman voter and the creator and publisher of Heismanpundit.com, 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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20 Responses to Future Heisman Candidates from the Class of 2009

  1. AUman76 February 3, 2009 at 9:07 pm #

    Not a bad short list HP. Brown is rumored to be waiting till after signing day to chose a team. Auburn is also has an outside shot at this kid. He seems interested is seeing what teams sign which players before he selects a school. He want’s to be with a winner and seems interested in being the only big name back signed by that team.
    Just a lil info from a friend of a friend of a friend. lol I know that sucks but it’s also true. My source is usually right unless he was mislead.
    Miami is still in the lead but for his duties but he is looking at several 2nd choices.
    HP, who do you think will be the best defensive prospects in this class of 2009? Give us some sleepers from each region of the nation that you believe will excell at the college level.

  2. Anonymous February 5, 2009 at 8:28 am #

    So you’re a Michigan fan then?

  3. Vince Gagliano February 5, 2009 at 4:05 pm #

    Urban Meyer’s type of spread has not been conducive to running backs appearing on Heisman lists.

    Gillislee is going to have to share carries with Tim Tebow, Jeff Demps, and the rest of the Gator Backfield Gang in carrying the ball.

    And while I don’t doubt that Jordan Reed is a special talent, John Brantley is likely going to be the better Heisman candidate during his time in Gainesville.

    One, JB is more of a pro-style quarterback, and can more easily distinguish himself from Tim Tebow precisely because throwing the ball is his strong suit. And two, Scot Loeffler is known for developing pro-style QBs.

    In the end, Matt Barkley has the greatest chance of a Heisman in his future…for now. He plays on a Heisman power, there will be competition for starting at the quarterback slot, and he immediately gets to play with a bevy of talent to help him along to stardom.

    What more does a future candidate need?

  4. Anonymous February 5, 2009 at 8:28 pm #

    McCoy or Gilbert would not be the first Longhorn to win a Heisman…Earl Campbell had that honor.

  5. SteveInHouston February 5, 2009 at 11:57 pm #

    And Ricky Williams won after Earl.

  6. Leland February 6, 2009 at 9:35 am #

    I think he meant to say “first Longhorn quarterback” to win a Heisman (in light of what happened to Vince and Colt).

  7. Heismanpundit February 6, 2009 at 12:52 pm #

    Thanks Leland. That is what I meant. Now corrected.

    Oh, and I am not a Michigan fan, but I do have confidence that Rich Rod will have that thing humming soon.

  8. JMB February 6, 2009 at 11:05 pm #

    HP, any comments on Lane Kiffin’s embarrassing display this week regarding Urban Meyer? Please spend another blog update ripping into him for our enjoyment.

  9. AUman76 February 7, 2009 at 8:45 pm #

    No need for ol HP to tie into Lame Kitten. No sir….. cause the rest of the SEC will rip him a new one right off the bat. Meyer and Lil Nicky at will teach the new kid he ain’t the big dog on this block! Tennessee ain’t USC but he’s gonna learn that the hard way. He’s also gonna learn what having to be ready to play top quality teams more than twice a year is about. Matter of fact the Old Ball Coach will make Montie’s son regret opening that big mouth. Lame Kitten has to face UF, UGA, USC, Auburn and Alabama this season. Hell he better not sleep walk against Kentucky and Vandy or he could wake up in a real nightmare. But only time will tell, huh? Turn over the hour glass cause I can’t wait to see this thing play out. My prediction, Tennessee 6 Florida 73. That is if the Vols QB shows up if not it will be a goose egg for the boys from Rockie Top. How come Lame Kitty and Al Davis couldn’t get along? They are like two peas in a pod….neither seems to care about speaking the truth.

  10. Leland February 8, 2009 at 10:47 am #

    Lame Kitten?

    OK, as a non-SEC (and thus hopefully unbiased) observer, I gotta says that’s a pretty good nickname.

  11. AUman76 February 8, 2009 at 3:10 pm #

    Thanks Leland. It’s all in good fun but some just don’t get it. Way to many sensitive folks. In this case it’s just a lil creative thinking in a somewhat mean spirited way. When all is said and done Lame Kitty may do ok but never he’ll live up to what dem thar orange suckers up on Ol Rocky Top will expect. Then again not many of our coaches ever do win every game like we’d love to see. He just doesn’t realize what he’s gotten himself into at this time however the 2009 season will educate him very quickly.
    I’m an Auburn man but I can’t imagine what dah Bahr would’ve done to a Tennessee team with him making those kind of statements. There was real hate in Bryant’s heart for Tennessee and he would’ve shown an out manned Vols team no mercy. Don’t think the Ol Ball Coach will sit iddlely by when he rams his Cocks down Lame Kitty’s throat. I have no love for Meyers or the damn Gayturds as we call em in the SEC but I can’t wait to see Tiny Tim wipe that silly smirk off Kitty’s face. Gonna be a lot of Vol fans regretting the hiring of that big mouthed kid.
    I’m like you in one respect, he hasn’t bad mouth Auburn yet so us Tiger fans are just sittin back and enjoying the show. This ain’t the PAC 1 and USC he coaching. He could talk the talk and walk the walk while there but he’s about 3000 miles of course to be flappin his gums before he even blows a practice whistle.
    He’ll recruit well with Orgeron’s kids but daddy’s defense doesn’t have the time to do what he did in the NFL. He can’t install the entire defense due to practice time limits and also limited skill levels of some players. Don’t get me wrong Tennessee will have talent but they won’t win the SEC anytime soon. Don’t believe me? Just ask Urban Meyer! lol
    Ole Miss will be the winner of the SEC’s Wild Wild West if their QB shows up every game and a few kids step up on the defensive side of the ball. If not LSU or Auburn will sneak back in the SEC championship game. Nope no bammer. They will lose at least 3 games and probably 4 in 2009. My my how quickly the mighty fall!

  12. bucknut February 9, 2009 at 8:40 am #

    You’re a trip Auburn76. Lame Kitten will get his. If there’s one thing you don’t do is give your rival anymore ammunition than they already have. Urban will pour it on, and Kitty’s career when it’s all said and done might be worse than his record with the Raiders. And he hasn’t even coached a game in the SEC yet.

  13. AUman76 February 9, 2009 at 8:49 pm #


    Just havin a lil fun twisting words in the wind. lol I actually think Kitty can coach but he best close that trap in this conference. To many good teams with tallent to match anything he will ever recruit to UT to piss off a two time National Champ and Two other coaches that also have a crytal ball. I may be wrong, but don’t believe so, I just can’t see the Vols winning it all under Lame Kitty. Not many teams or coaches in this conference are pussy whupped. lmao
    Take care bucky and congrats on another good recruiting class.

  14. Travis February 26, 2009 at 9:28 pm #

    As a graduate of Deland High, I just want to show some love for Gillislee.


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