Oregon junior quarterback Marcus Mariota leads the 2014 preseason HeismanPundit.com Heisman Straw Poll, released on Wednesday (Aug. 27).
This year’s early survey saw the Ducks quarterback collect six first-place votes from the 10-person panel of Heisman voters from around the country. Mariota totaled 24 points to finish five points in front of last season’s trophy winner, Jameis Winston of Florida State, who had three first-place votes and 19 total points.
“It’s Mariota’s turn,” said one voter. “He’s a really talented player who should have a great season for a Ducks team that should challenge for a national title. If he stays healthy, he’ll win.”
Thought Mariota is the front runner, Winston’s strength in the survey shows that, just like Billy Sims, Ty Detmer, Jason White, Matt Leinart, Tim Tebow and Johnny Manziel before him, he’s not going to go down quietly in his quest for that elusive second Heisman.
UCLA junior quarterback Brett Hundley was third in the balloting with six points, while Baylor senior quarterback Bryce Petty was fourth with five points. Hundley’s teammate, linebacker/running back Myles Jack, picked up the panel’s other first-place vote to place fifth.
Running back Melvin Gordon of Wisconsin, defensive tackle Leonard Williams of USC and wide receiver Ty Montgomery of Stanford also appeared on ballots.
It’s important to keep in mind that the HeismanPundit Heisman Straw Poll is merely a snapshot of what voters are thinking at the moment. No preseason top selection in the poll’s history has ever gone on to actually win the Heisman.
“It provides a starting point for the race and shows us what voters are thinking heading into the season,” said Chris Huston, who runs HeismanPundit.com. “But historically it hasn’t been a prediction of where the race will end up.”
Now in its ninth season, the HeismanPundit.com Heisman Straw Poll is the college football world’s most trusted gauge of Heisman voter sentiment. It has been the most accurate Heisman poll in the country during the past eight seasons, with the final 2012 edition correctly picking the top five finishers while the final 2011 survey nailed the top seven. This year’s poll is made up of 10 anonymous Heisman voters from across the country selecting three players each. Tabulations for the preseason poll are tabulated like a real Heisman ballot, with three points awarded for a first-place vote, two points for a second-place vote and one point for a third-place vote.
Each week’s poll is released on Tuesdays throughout the season at HeismanPundit.com.
The 2014 preseason HeismanPundit.com Heisman Straw Poll
Total Points (with first place votes in parentheses)
1. Marcus Mariota, Jr., QB, Oregon — 24 (6)
2. Jameis Winston, So., QB, Florida State — 19 (3)
3. Brett Hundley, Jr., QB, UCLA — 6
4. Bryce Petty, Sr., QB, Baylor — 5
5. Myles Jack, So., LB/RB, UCLA — 3 (1)
6. (tie) Leonard Williams, Jr., DT, USC — 1
Melvin Gordon, Jr., RB, Wisconsin — 1
Ty Montgomery, Sr., WR, Stanford — 1
Previous preseason straw poll selections (with eventual finish in parentheses)
2013 — Johnny Manziel (5th)
2012 — Matt Barkley (n/a)
2011 — Andrew Luck (2nd)
2010 — Mark Ingram (n/a)
2009 — Tim Tebow (5th)
2008 — Tim Tebow (3rd)
2007 — Darren McFadden (2nd)