I wrote last December about the emergence of what I call the Super Quarterback and how that archetype has come to dominate the Heisman race of late.
The salient point was this:
The five Heisman-winning quarterbacks since 2007 have averaged 4,676 yards of total offense and 51 touchdowns (including their bowl games). Each won the Heisman despite having to overcome historic obstacles in their way — like being underclassmen or playing for non-traditional powers — and each had profound impacts on their school’s success before going on to become first-round picks in the NFL draft (with the possible exception of Johnny Manziel, who is still in school as of this writing).
Of course, this year’s Heisman race has continued in that vein. Let’s look at some of the main contenders:
Heisman front runner Marcus Mariota is currently on pace to have 5,082 yards of total offense and 56 touchdowns running and passing, which would arguably be among the great seasons in college football history.
Jameis Winston is on pace for 4,718 yards of offense and 54 touchdowns running and passing. This would be on par — and in some ways superior — to what Manziel did last season.
Bryce Petty is on course for 4,498 total yards and 43 total touchdowns, but would do so while playing in one fewer games than both Mariota and Winston (because the Big 12 does not have a conference title game).
Sean Mannion is on pace for 5,551 yards and 54 touchdowns (all of it in the passing game), which would be among the great passing seasons of all time and easily the best ever in a non-Air-Raid offense.
And Manziel himself is on pace for another 5,148 yards and 45 touchdowns.
The one player still hanging on in the race who hearkens back to the bygone era of more conventional Heisman stats is AJ McCarron, who is on pace for 3,178 yards and 28 scores.
The Super Quarterback-types I’ve mentioned never would have never been serious candidates 20 years ago, either because their programs weren’t taken seriously or because they would’ve foundered in different offensive schemes or because their class statuses would’ve worked against them.
But all that has changed. More than likely, the Heisman will go to Mariota, Winston, Petty or Mannion, continuing the recent trend of the Super Quarterback.
As the numbers get better and better each season, it makes us wonder where we will be five years from now. Will we see the first 3,000-yard passer/2,000-yard rusher? How about someone who puts up 6,000 yards of offense and 60 touchdowns?
The mind reels.