Three of the last four Heisman winners have been quarterbacks who were first-time starters. To most observers, they seemingly came out of nowhere.
Could it happen again in 2014?
We’re taking a look at the first-time starters around the country to see if any of them have what it takes to challenge for the Heisman. If any of these players go on to win the Heisman, you won’t be able to say they came out of nowhere because we’re taking a good look at them now, right?
We previewed the new SEC starters a couple days ago…now on to the Pac-12. We’ll rank them — all two of them! — in the order of how likely they are to mount an out-of-nowhere Heisman run.
1. Cyler Miles, Sophomore, Washington
Miles is an elite talent with great size, mobility and arm strength. His skill set is similar to that of Cam Newton’s. He started a couple games last season for the Huskies when Keith Price was hurt and he did a decent job, throwing for 418 yards and four touchdowns with two picks. He also ran for 200 yards on the year and averaged almost 9 yards per carry. He has to sit out the first game of the season against Hawaii due to an off-season altercation, but he should take up the starting mantle after that (or it could be Jeff Lindquist, a burgeoning talent in his own right). Miles has a chance to be a great college football player and, eventually, a high NFL draft pick — assuming he can develop the mental side of his game. Chris Petersen has a fantastic track record of developing quarterbacks and I’m sure he is salivating at the prospect of building his offense around Miles. Keep an eye on Miles, who could end up being one of the Pac-12’s best quarterbacks before the season is through.
2. Jerrard Randall, Junior, Arizona
Randall has actually made an appearance on HeismanPundit before, as I touted him as a future Heisman candidate from the class of 2011. He has had a checkered career, bouncing from Oregon to LSU to junior college and now to Arizona, where there’s no guarantee he’s even going to win the starting job for the Wildcats. But if he does, Randall’s combination of athleticism, speed and rocket arm should eventually produce big numbers in the Rich Rodriguez scheme. He has a chance to be scary good.
That’s it for the Pac-12 starters. Everyone else is back, including two or three Heisman candidates in their own right.