Heisman Watch 2014: Ranking The Top Athletes
Coming in at 13.5 inches tall and 25 pounds, the Heisman Trophy is the most prestigious award in College Football. It is any college player’s dream to win this honor. In it’s 79th year, here are the top five candidates to win this incredible award for the current season:
1. Marcus Mariota – QB – Oregon (JR):
Mariota has electrified college football with his incredible performance so far this season. The Ducks are 4-1 after suffering a heartbreaking loss to Arizona Thursday night. Mariota has thrown for 1,411 yards to compliment his 15 touchdowns this season. Mariota is the projected first overall pick in this year’s upcoming draft and has definitely lived up to the expectations. Mariota is also a threat to take off and run the football. He has 215 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns. He has blazing speed and can outrun most defenders. Oregon head coach Marc Helfrich and offensive coordinator Scott Frost have brilliantly handled Mariota, making smart calls to let him thrive in this offense. Oregon looks stellar with Mariota behind center and I believe that is how it will be for the rest of the season. Even with his recent loss to Arizona, it is Mariota’s race to lose and will have to continue to live up to his hype and lead the Ducks to a great season.
2. Todd Gurley – RB – Georgia (JR):
I have Gurley as the top ranked running back for many reasons. Gurley has been nothing short of superior for the Georgia Bulldogs. He has rushed for a total of 773 yards and eight touchdowns. He has had a big impact on the Bulldogs’ 4-1 start, averaging a stellar 8.2 yards per carry. Gurley has been impressive and has shown many different attributes to his game including a 100-yard kickoff return touchdown and even completing a 50-yard pass to tight end Jeb Blazevitch. Gurley has so many different weapons that factor into Georgia’s excellent offense and is nothing short of a nightmare for opposing defenses. Georgia is committed to using him as their primary back as Gurley will continue his dominance and could be a very big challenge to Mariota and all of the other Heisman hopefuls.
3. Ameer Abdullah – RB – Nebraska (SR):
Fear Ameer. Ameer Abdullah has been phenomenal for the Nebraska Cornhuskers in 2014. He has tallied 10 touchdowns and an FBS leading 878 yards on the ground. Earlier this year, Abdullah has passed former Cornhusker great, Johnny Rodgers, in career all-purpose yards. He already has three 200-yard games this season as well as a heroic game winning reception against McNeese State. Abdullah did have a break in his dominance this week in Nebraska’s loss to Michigan State. He only tallied 45 yards but managed to squeeze in two touchdowns. Ameer is headed into a bye week and will get a rest from his great season. Abdullah has shown to be a great compliment to a very run heavy Nebraska offense with quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr. Every player is going to have a bad game. Abdullah has shown that he is not a fluke and that he will come back quicker, faster, and with a chip on his shoulder.
4. Melvin Gordon – RB – Wisconsin (JR):
Melvin Gordon has been unstoppable lately, tallying 259 yards in Wisconsin’s loss to Northwestern last week. This is his third straight 150+ yard game. Gordon has been quiet, but has the skills to become a gamechanger. Gordon has 871 yards and nine touchdowns this year. He has been a key factor for a Wisconsin offense that has been in need of a ‘savior’. He will face off against another Heisman hopeful Ameer Abdullah and his Cornhuskers on November 15 at home. That game will be huge for both backs as the winner could get a lot more recognition. This is key for Gordon since he isn’t getting the recognition he deserves. He has averaged 8.3 yards per carry and has proven himself as one of the nation’s best backs. Wisconsin is 3-2 and almost holding Gordon back for his Heisman run. Overall, I think despite Wisconsin’s record, the Heisman voters know who he is and what he is capable of doing out there on the field.
5. Amari Cooper – WR – Alabama (JR):
Amari Cooper is probably the best receiver in college football right now. Alabama is relying on him to help them win games and make a run at the College football playoffs. Cooper has dazzled the college world with 746 receiving yards and five touchdowns. He is the reason the Crimson Tide are doing so well and will be a huge factor for them the rest of the season. The Crimson Tide are coming off of a bitter loss to Ole Miss where Cooper managed to haul in nine passes for a total of 91 yards that game. Him and quarterback Blake Sims are arguably the hottest QB-WR duo in the league right now and will continue to embarrass secondaries. Only two other players to win the Heisman have played the wide receiver position so in order for Cooper to win he is going to have to play harder than he ever has before.