We are in a new Heisman era, as the last three winners have all been sophomores.

Let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that the trend continues.  If we were to look at the pool of available sophs, which one stands the best chance of winning?

The best way to look at it is to break down the sophomores into three groups:

1. Second year players who have already established themselves as stars in college football thanks to outstanding freshman seasons.

In this group, I’d include the following players:

  • Ryan Williams, Virginia Tech
  • Dion Lewis, Pittsburgh
  • LaMichael James, Oregon
  • Andrew Luck, Stanford

2. Players who didn’t go crazy as freshmen, but who built up some name recognition and will now start for high-profile teams or traditional powers, making them potential contenders in the event of a breakthrough sophomore season.

In this second group, I would include these players:

  • Matt Barkley, USC
  • Garrett Gilbert, Texas
  • Tate Forcier, Michigan
  • Trent Richardson, Alabama
  • Landry Jones, Oklahoma

3. Players on high profile teams or traditional powers who didn’t make much of an impact (if any) as freshmen, but who could be primed to make a splash in year two.  These are the least likely sophomores to contend for the Heisman.

In this third group, I’d list:

  • Jermie Calhoun, Oklahoma
  • Tre’ Newton, Texas
  • Mike Gillislee, Florida
  • Jamaal Berry, Ohio State

I have yet to make my overall preseason list, but if I had to rank just these sophomores alone, it would look like this:

1. Ryan Williams, Virginia Tech

2. Dion Lewis, Pittsburgh

3. Garrett Gilbert, Texas

4. Matt Barkley, USC

5. Tate Forcier, Michigan

6. Trent Richardson, Alabama

7. Landry Jones, Oklahoma

8. Andrew Luck, Stanford

9. LaMichael James, Oregon

10. Tre’ Newton, Texas

11. Jermie Calhoun, Oklahoma

12. Jamaal Berry, Ohio State

13. Mike Gillislee, Florida

Powered by

About Heismanpundit

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.

Follow HP

Find us on Twitter, Facebook and Youtube!

6 Responses to Sophomoritis

  1. Hoag May 11, 2010 at 4:50 pm #

    Big fan of LMJ, but missing the first game of the season on top of sharing carries with Kenjon Barner doesn’t help his chances.

  2. dth May 11, 2010 at 5:50 pm #

    Forcier over Luck is pretty freaking crazy. Michigan won’t be as good as Stanford next season, Forcier isn’t even guaranteed to start, and Luck just happens to be much better than Forcier.

  3. HP May 11, 2010 at 10:38 pm #

    Luck is better, but it is far easier to win a Heisman playing for Michigan than it is to do so playing for Stanford.

  4. HP May 11, 2010 at 10:38 pm #

    LMJ’s other problem is his brush with the law. Heisman voters probably won’t take to that very well.

  5. slippy May 18, 2010 at 2:31 am #

    Jamaal Berry redshirted last year…so he’s technically a Frosh.


  1. Bevo’s Daily Roundup – May 26, 2010 | - May 26, 2010

    […] The Heisman Pundit has the most promising sophomores. Two Longhorns made the […]