The HeismanPundit 2014 Heisman Trophy Watch List (Post-Spring Edition)

Reigning Heisman winner Jameis Winston highlights the first edition of HeismanPundit’s 2014 Heisman Trophy Watch List released on Tuesday (May 6).

The prestigious annual list gives football fans an early glimpse at a great crop of Heisman contenders for the coming season. This year’s post-spring watch contains 25 players. HeismanPundit will consider other players for the 2014 Heisman Trophy Watch List and will also delete players as the season progresses.

The Heisman Trophy, presented annually since 1935, is the most prestigious award in sports.  It is named after famed college football coach John W. Heisman. The 2014 winner will be announced in New York on Saturday, Dec. 13.

The 2014 HeismanPundit Post-Spring Heisman Watch List

(in alphabetical order)

Ameer Abdullah, RB, SR, Nebraska

Javorius Allen, RB, JR, USC

Rakeem Cato, QB, SR, Marshall

Alex Collins, RB, SO, Arkansas

Mike Davis, RB, JR, South Carolina

Everett Golson, QB, JR, Notre Dame

Melvin Gordon, RB, JR, Wisconsin

Todd Gurley, RB, JR, Georgia

Christian Hackenberg, QB, SO, Penn State

Derrick Henry, RB, SO, Alabama

Taysom Hill, QB, JR, BYU

Brett Hundley, QB, JR, UCLA

Chuckie Keeton, QB, SR, Utah State

Trevor Knight, QB, SO, Oklahoma

Sean Mannion, QB, SR, Oregon State

Marcus Mariota, QB, JR, Oregon

Nick Marshall, QB, SR, Auburn

Braxton Miller, QB, SR, Ohio State

Bryce Petty, QB, SR, Baylor

Thomas Tyner, RB, SO, Oregon

J.W. Walsh, QB, JR, Oklahoma State

Jake Waters, QB, SR, Kansas State

Jonathan Williams, RB, JR, Arkansas

Jameis Winston, QB, SO, Florida State

TJ Yeldon, RB, JR, Alabama

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Future Heisman candidates from the recruiting class of 2014

keller chryst

The recruits from the high school recruiting class of 2014 have signed their letters of intent.

Not all of them are going to live up to their lofty recruiting rankings this season. Some will take time to adjust to the rigors of college life and go on to redshirt. Some will find ways to contribute as backups or on special teams. Others will be pressed into action due to injuries. Only a select few will become stars this fall.

Here at HeismanPundit we are always on the lookout for future Heisman candidates, so it’s a tradition of ours to try to pick out the players from each recruiting class who best fit that bill. It’s an inexact science, but in 2007, we had a guy named Cameron Newton on our list. Here are our picks from 200820092010 , 20112012 and 2013.

It’s important to remember that not every recruiting class will produce a Heisman winner, or even a Heisman candidate. Johnny Manziel was from the class of 2011, while Robert Griffin and Mark Ingram were from the class of 2008. Cam Newton was in the high school class of 2007.  The classes of 2009 and 2010 were somewhat devoid of serious candidates. In other words, it’s possible that Heisman glory passes over this group.

Selecting the candidates is not as simple as checking off some 5-star players from the recruiting sites.

First off, we narrow the list down to quarterbacks, running backs and multi-purpose athletes. No matter what anyone says, you can forget about tight ends, linebackers or linemen winning the trophy.

Second, we assess the abilities of the players in question. Do their skills translate to the next level? How quickly will they make an impact? Do they have the physical measurables and the intangibles needed to succeed?

Third, how well does the player fit into the system in which he will be playing? Does his team’s system produce the numbers needed to win a Heisman?

Let’s see what’s in store for this year’s class, along with a few of their highlights. Keep these guys on your radar and expect at least one of them to make a strong run at the Heisman within the next four years. Here they are (in no particular order):

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The 2014 HP All-American team

Now that the season is finally over, it’s time for the latest edition of the very prestigious HP All-American team.

First, the offense:

QB

1st team – Johnny Manziel, So. Texas A&M

2nd team – Jameis Winston, Fr. Florida State

3rd team – Marcus Mariota, So. Oregon

Honorable Mention: Jordan Lynch, Northern Illinois; Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville; Bryce Petty, Baylor; Derek Carr, Fresno State.

RB

1st team – Andre Williams, Sr., Boston College; Tre Mason, Jr. Auburn

2nd team – Bishop Sankey, Jr., Washington; Ka’Deem Carey, Arizona

3rd team –  Melvin Gordon, So., Wisconsin; Kapri Bibbs, So, Colorado State

Honorable Mention:  Ameer Abdullah, Nebraska; Carlos Hyde, Ohio State; Antonio Andrews, Western Kentucky; Tyler Gaffney, Stanford; Jeremy Hill, LSU

WR

1st team – Brandin Cooks, Jr., Oregon State; Sammy Watkins, Jr., Clemson

2nd team – Devante Adams, So., Fresno State; Mike Evans, So., Texas A&M

3rd team – Antwan Goodley, Jr., Baylor; Paul Richardson, Jr., Colorado

Honorable Mention: Allen Robinson, Penn State; Tyler Lockett, Kansas State; Odell Beckham, LSU; Willie Snead, Ball State; Kelvin Benjamin, FSU; Jace Amaro, Texas Tech

TE

1st team – Eric Ebron, Jr., North Carolina

2nd team – Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Jr., Washington

3rd team – C.J. Fiedorowicz, Sr., Iowa

Honorable Mention: David Funchess, Michigan; Nick O’Leary, FSU; Troy Niklas, Notre Dame; Jeff Heuerman, Ohio State.

OFFENSIVE LINE UNIT

Per HP tradition, we will not choose individual All-Americans, but rather a single unit for our offensive line honors.

Face it: There are no individual stats to go by. Highlights rarely show what they do. We could go purely off of hearsay, but wouldn’t that be dishonest? What’s more, there are 600 starting offensive linemen in Division One. It’s almost impossible to have seen enough of them to know who is really the best.  So, while other All-American teams choose linemen based almost solely on reputation, we will not.  Instead, we look at a combination of factors, including sacks allowed, rushing offense, tackles for loss allowed, etc., to come up with our All-American unit.

1st team – Arkansas

2nd team – Stanford

3rd team – Notre Dame

Honorable Mention: Florida State; Alabama; Oregon; Toledo; Baylor

Now, the defense:

DE

1st team – Michael Sam, Sr., Missouri; Vic Beasley, Jr., Clemson

2nd team – Jackson Jeffcoat, Sr., Texas; Leonard Williams, So., USC

3rd team – Shilique Calhoun, So., Michigan State; Trevor Reilly, Sr., Utah

Honorable Mention: Kareem Martin, North Carolina; Marcus Smith, Louisville; Scott Crichton, Oregon State; Dee Ford, Auburn; Noah Spence, Ohio State; Demarcus Lawrence, Boise State

DT 

1st team – Aaron Donald, Sr., Pittsburgh; Kelcy Quarles, Sr., South Carolina

2nd team – Ra’Shede Hageman, Sr., Minnesota; Tim Jernigan, Jr., Florida State

3rd team – Will Sutton, Sr., Arizona State; Michael Bennett, Jr., Ohio State

Honorable Mention: DaQuan Jones, Penn State; Ego Ferguson, LSU

OLB

1st team – Trent Murphy, Sr., Stanford; Anthony Barr, Sr., UCLA

2nd team – Ryan Shazier, Jr., Ohio State; Khalil Mack, Sr., Buffalo

3rd team – Kyle Van Noy, Sr, BYU; Denicos Allen, Sr., Michigan State

Honorable Mention: Shaquil Barrett, Sr., Colorado State; Eddie Lackey, Baylor; Telvin Smith, Florida State; Myles Jack, UCLA; Devon Kennard, USC

ILB

1st team – C.J. Mosley, Sr., Alabama; Chris Borland, Sr., Wisconsin

2nd team – Shayne Skov, Sr., Stanford; Lamin Barrow, Sr., LSU

3rd team – Preston Brown, Sr., Louisville; Stephone Anthony, Jr., Clemson

Honorable Mention: AJ Tarpley, Stanford; AJ Johnson, Tennessee; Yawin Smallwood, Connecticut; Dee Dee Lattimore, South Florida

CB

1st team – Darqueze Dennard, Sr., Michigan State; Lamarcus Joyner, Sr., Florida State

2nd team – Justin Gilbert, Sr., Oklahoma State; Jason Verrett, Sr., TCU

3rd team – Vernon Hargreaves, Fr., Florida; Aaron Colvin, Sr., Oklahoma

Honorable Mention: Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Oregon; Kendall Fuller, Virginia Tech; Stanley Jean-Baptiste, Nebraska; Rashaad Reynolds, Oregon State

SS

1st team – Deone Bucannon, Sr., Washington State; Ahmad Dixon, Sr., Baylor

2nd team – Anthony Harris, Jr., Virginia; Jimmy Ward, Sr., Northern Illinois

3rd team – Landon Collins, So., Alabama; Hakeem Smith, Sr., Louisville

Honorable Mention: Alden Darby, Sr., ASU; Craig Loston, LSU; Brock Vereen, Minnesota; Isaiah Lewis, Michigan State; Sean Parker, Washington.

FS

1st team – Ha Ha Clinton Dix, Jr., Alabama; Calvin Pryor, Jr., Louisville

2nd team – Karl Joseph, So., West Virginia; Ed Reynolds, Jr., Stanford

3rd team – Terrance Brooks, Sr., Florida State; Derron Smith, Jr., Fresno State

Honorable Mention: Kurtis Drummond, Michigan State; Dion Bailey, USC; Tra’Mayne Bondurant, Arizona.

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Happy New Year!

Happy new year to everyone out there from everyone here at HP!

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Cool it on the Winston ballot thing

A phony meme has circulated since Jameis Winston won the Heisman this past Saturday.

Namely, that the 115 Heisman voters who left the Florida State freshmen off their ballots are somehow defective people who have it in for the Seminoles quarterback.

Former Heisman winner Ricky Williams sure isn’t happy about it:

Williams is so certain that Winston deserved the honor that he has some doubts about the brains of those who didn’t see it that way.

“When you get a Heisman vote it doesn’t mean you’re intelligent or smart or anything like that,” Williams said with a smile on Monday when asked by HuffPost Live host Josh Zepps about the 115 voters who left Winston off their ballots

Blacksportsonline was also miffed:

“They really should make everyone who left him off the ballot explain themselves.”

Deadspin noted in its lede on Saturday that Winston was left off of 115 ballots, as if it was a particularly newsworthy point.

The problem with raising a stink about Winston being left off of that many ballots is that it’s a completely normal occurrence in Heisman voting. In fact, Winston was left off of fewer ballots than many past Heisman winners.

Barry Sanders, who was a landslide winner of the Heisman after producing one of the greatest seasons in college football history, was left off of 224 ballots in 1988.

Archie Griffin was left off over 200 ballots in 1975. Marcus Allen was left of off over 300 ballots in 1981. So was Herschel Walker in 1982.

RG3 was left off more ballots in 2011.

So, please. Stop complaining about Winston being left off of these ballots. It’s something that happens to every Heisman winner. Not everyone has the same opinion on who’s the most outstanding player in college football.

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Why the Heisman is better than ever

Check out my column from Al-Jazeera America on why the Heisman is better than ever.

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An early Heisman list for 2014

bryce-petty-baylor-bears-heisman-watch

Jameis Winston’s reign as the 2013 Heisman winner is less than 24 hours old, but it’s never too early to start thinking ahead.

Who are the front runners for the 2014 Heisman?

Here’s an early top 10 list based on the information we have now. We think most of these players should be back in 2014. If so, they should enter next fall as serious contenders for the Heisman:

in alphabetical order

Melvin Gordon, Jr., Wisconsin* — With backfield mate James White graduating, Gordon could be set for a monster season in Madison, if he chooses to return for his junior year. He had 1,466 yards and 10 touchdowns while averaging eight yards per carry in 2013.

Todd Gurley, Jr., Georgia — When healthy, Gurley might be the best running back in the country. His combination of size and speed are impressive. He rushed for 903 yards and 10 scores and caught 30 passes for five more TDs despite missing three full games and parts of others.

Brett Hundley, Jr., UCLA* — As a sophomore, Hundley had over 3,400 yards of total offense and 31 touchdowns with a very young supporting cast around him. Those players will be a year older and it should result in excellent production for Hundley if he chooses to return.

Myles Jack, So., UCLA — Jack was the Pac-12 freshman of the year on both offense and defense. Heisman voters love throwback players who excel on both sides of the ball — see: Woodson, Charles — and assuming he continues to play both running back and linebacker, he’ll get lots of attention.

Marcus Mariota, Jr., Oregon — Mariota was the Heisman front runner for a large chunk of this season. Losses to Stanford and Arizona knocked him out of the race, but he should be better in 2013. If he can finally get Oregon past Stanford, he’ll probably make a trip to New York.

Nick Marshall, Sr., Auburn — No quarterback in the country improved as much as Marshall did over the course of this season. His 2014 campaign could begin by leading the Tigers to a national championship in January.

Tre Mason, Sr., Auburn* — If Mason chooses to return for another season, he’ll join his teammate as a front runner for 2014. He finished sixth in the Heisman vote this season while rushing for 1,621 yards and 22 scores.

Braxton Miller, Sr., Ohio State* — Miller might’ve won the Heisman this year if an injury hadn’t forced him to miss the better part of three games. Assuming he returns for his senior season, he’ll probably be the early Heisman favorite. He is 24-1 as a starter in the past two seasons.

Bryce Petty, Sr., Baylor — Petty finished seventh in the Heisman vote after throwing for 3,844 yards and 30 touchdowns with just two interceptions while leading Baylor to the Big 12 title. He could have even better numbers as a senior and, assuming Baylor is again a national title contender, he’ll be in the Heisman conversation.

Bishop Sankey, Sr., Washington* — Sankey is very quietly putting together a brilliant rushing career for the Huskies. He’s got 3,401 yards and 35 touchdowns in three seasons and was third in the country this year with 1,775 yards and 18 scores. If he chooses to come back for another season, he should really flourish in Chris Petersen’s system

T.J. Yeldon, Jr., Alabama — Yeldon notched his second-straight 1,000-yard season despite being limited in some games by an ankle injury. With the Tide set to break in a new quarterback, he could become the main weapon for Alabama in 2014.

* – could enter NFL draft

Wait, what about Jameis Winston?

I don’t have Winston on this list because I believe there will never be another two-time winner of the Heisman. Archie Griffin of Ohio State is the only player to do it, way back in 1974-1975. Since then, Ty Detmer, Jason White, Matt Leinart, Tim Tebow, Mark Ingram, Sam Bradford and Johnny Manziel have all failed in their attempts to repeat. The fact that players like Leinart, Tebow and Manziel couldn’t get it done points to how difficult it is to win two trophies. The Heisman electorate is very fickle and, as we saw with Manziel, the punditry tries its best to find reasons not to give away that second Heisman.

Everything has to fall perfectly into place just to win the award once. Winning it twice?

Forget about it.

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