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.