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An early top 10 Heisman list for 2014

Oregon v Washington Getty Images

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 over his last 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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29 Responses to “An early top 10 Heisman list for 2014”
  1. dietrich43 says: Dec 15, 2013 7:21 PM

    Throw out everyone but Mariota, Miller, and Marshall. They are the only QBs who might be on a title contender.

  2. derekgorgonstar says: Dec 15, 2013 7:30 PM

    Wouldn’t count on Braxton Miller. A lot of these buckeyes seem to end up in jail.

  3. dsharp86 says: Dec 15, 2013 7:37 PM

    “…as we saw with Manziel, the punditry tries its best to find reasons not to give away that second Heisman.”

    What a ridiculous statement. Show me one example of how we saw this. The four losses by A&M and some lackluster performances to end the season are what did Manziel in.

  4. mjrcu says: Dec 15, 2013 7:43 PM

    Not sure if he will win next year but nobody is more impressive than Todd Gurley. Watching that kid run is an absolute treat, UGA may struggle but barring injuries, my money is on Gurley

  5. dcroz says: Dec 15, 2013 7:45 PM

    I almost completely agree with Chris in that there will not be another two-time Heisman winner, the “almost” being that it is possible though highly unlikely. I said at the beginning of the season that the only way Manziel would win again would be if he had the Aggies heading to Pasadena on January 6 for all the marbles; instead, they went 8-4, including losing their last two games in which both LSU and Missouri made Manziel look human. I think he would have had a real shot if they were where Auburn is now, though I also think there are enough people with the “one per career” mentality that he still may not have surpassed Winston.

    Winston, on the other hand, cannot have his team in a better position before next year’s vote than they are now. While he may get votes if FSU is once again the top-ranked team in the country heading into the inaugural national championship tournament, others are not going to see it that way. Only if there is no other viable candidate–which is highly unlikely–will he have a chance to do it again.

    And one other note: TJ Yeldon is a great back, but it’s quite possible his backup, Kenyon Drake, could overshadow him. Drake is a beast, and many ‘Bama fans wondered why we didn’t see more of him this year, especially against Auburn when he looked nigh unstoppable. It will be interesting to see how this plays out in spring practice between these two for that starting job.

  6. clemsonstillsucks says: Dec 15, 2013 7:57 PM

    This list has so many holes in it, it reminds me of Clemson’s defense….apparently CFT doesn’t have a random drug screening policy.

  7. cuckflemson says: Dec 15, 2013 7:59 PM

    Although he’s a long shot I think Mike Davis deserves to be on the list.

  8. noleitup says: Dec 15, 2013 8:05 PM

    As much as I hate to admit it, you are probably right about winston. FSU will lose a ton of talent to the draft this year specifically along the offensive and defensive line. Itll probably be one of those bama guys next year. A lot of young talent over there learned a lot this season.

  9. canetic says: Dec 15, 2013 8:15 PM

    Duke Johnson!

  10. wingslax35 says: Dec 15, 2013 8:16 PM

    Christian Hackenburg anyone??????

  11. soundsofsuccess7 says: Dec 15, 2013 8:52 PM

    I doubt Hackenberg will put up the necessary stats to get the award. He might be the best QB in college football soon though.

  12. overratedgators says: Dec 15, 2013 9:51 PM

    Tebow’s NFL career shows why giving him the first Heisman was ridiculous. A second would have looked ludicrous in hindsight.

  13. planck16 says: Dec 15, 2013 9:54 PM

    I heard that the Heisman Committee is looking to institute a new rule around drug testing for all former Heisman winners due to George Rogers voting for Scooby Doo, Rick James, and Dr. J on consecutive ballots. I heard also that George refused to wear pants at several ceremonies, those ceromonies he could afford to make the trip to NYC.

    Does anybody know of another Heisman winner who travels to different college towns, throws a picnic table up, plays music on a CD player, and charges $20 for a picture with the Heisman Trophy!

    Panhandling the Heisman!

  14. psly2124 says: Dec 15, 2013 10:47 PM

    Where’s Jeremy hill. If he stays he wins

  15. philliesblow says: Dec 15, 2013 10:58 PM

    The Heisman is quickly becoming irrelevant. It’s supposed to go to “The outstanding college football player whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity. Winners epitomize great ability combined with diligence, perseverance, and hard work.”

    Instead it’s limited to glamour position offensive players on highly ranked teams. It’s a joke that Aaron Donald didn’t end up in the top 5 of the voting. Anybody with this type of season should have been a top 3 vote getter.

    Bronko Nagurski Trophy Winner – Nation’s Most Outstanding Defensive Player
    Rotary Lombardi Award Winner – Nation’s Most Outstanding Lineman or Linebacker
    Chuck Bednarik Award Winner – Defensive Player of the Year
    Outland Trophy Winner – Nation’s Best Offensive of Defensive Interior Lineman

  16. seabronco says: Dec 15, 2013 11:23 PM

    Sean Mannion

  17. techvet says: Dec 15, 2013 11:43 PM

    Gordon might head to the NFL. Keep an eye on Everett Golson.

  18. donovandancy says: Dec 16, 2013 12:02 AM

    Its ok. By leaving Winston off, especially when we already have a two time winner, shows this “journalist” is still just a blogger at sports. Not ready for the big leagues.

  19. rabbi187 says: Dec 16, 2013 12:17 AM

    psly2124 | Dec 15, 2013, 9:47 PM CST
    Where’s Jeremy hill. If he stays he wins
    Well on top of him being a scum bag convicted of sexual assault of a minor, he also should be STILL locked for aggravated assault. Oh, and RBs never win the Heisman…

  20. asspantz says: Dec 16, 2013 12:52 AM

    DGB wont win but he will be in NY.

  21. bigbuckeye76 says: Dec 16, 2013 7:41 AM

    What does Tebows Heisman have to do with his NFL career? How many Heisman winners have had successful NFL careers? I have ZERO interest in the Heisman as it is simply the best player on the best team instead of the best player.

  22. hanram17 says: Dec 16, 2013 8:44 AM

    That “there will never be a 2 time heisman winner again” statement is a crap argument against Winston. We are seeing massive changes in how voters think. I mean 10 years ago voting for SOPHOMORE was seen as ridiculous and now we have had back to back FRESHMEN winners. Manziels team faded down the stretch and killed his heisman momentum, along with the fack that many people view Manziel as an arrogant spoiled rich kid. Winston is seen as a class act and his rape accusation will likey not have as much as a factor on his heisman campaign next year so if he puts up similar stats on an undefeated team next year (which is very likely) he should easily repeat next year.

  23. mogogo1 says: Dec 16, 2013 10:33 AM

    Manziel’s biggest problems were his offseason bad press, the four losses, and all the interceptions. I think the voters might well have given him the award again if not for those things. But you don’t lose that many games and throw that many interceptions and win the award once, let alone a second time.

  24. 8to80texansblog says: Dec 16, 2013 11:03 AM

    Chris… I think some of your Heismendments need some updating…

    Specifically #2 and #4

    5 of the last 7 winners now have been underclassmen. Seems that trend is in transition right now.

    And Winston and Manziel entered their Heisman seasons as virtual unknowns. Winston was a big time recruit but on a national scale, there was little to no name recognition, and no one outside of Aggie Nation and people who seriously follow recruiting knew who Manziel was prior to his first game against UF…

  25. 8to80texansblog says: Dec 16, 2013 11:28 AM

    And I think a 2 time winner is possible…. but ALL the chips are going to have to fall in the right place.

    For Winston to win next year, he will have to lead the ‘Noles back to the ACC championship and a berth in the national title with substantially better numbers than this year, there cannot be another undefeated BCS team, and Mariota will need 2 losses at least.

    So it is possible… just highly unlikely…

    Let’s put it this way… had Manziel gone undefeated with better numbers than last year, I still think he loses the Heisman to Winston…

  26. jbaxt says: Dec 16, 2013 11:39 AM

    Dorial Green-Beckham. Mauk is a better QB than Franklin and seems to be willing to throw the ball to DGB more often. I’ll say 1,600 yards and 20 TD’s. They will go to the end zone to him more often.

  27. 8to80texansblog says: Dec 16, 2013 12:15 PM


    A WR hasn’t won the Heisman in 22 years… and there have been some pretty outstanding ones….

    DGB seems to be a good talent with huge potential but its definitely an uphill battle for a WR from Mizzou to win the Heisman…

  28. oldforester says: Dec 16, 2013 12:16 PM

    Heisman is a joke. They don’t even follow their own mission statement which specifically includes “integrity” with as much importance as performance. Perhaps we need a new award, given that no system is perfect, select the winner from those that have won individual position awards , ie Doak Walker, Nagerski etc

  29. shadowcell says: Dec 16, 2013 2:04 PM

    I think Myles Jack is a reach for Heisman considerations. He went to UCLA because they were the only team that would let him play defense while everyone else recruited him as a running back; he only played RB this year because the Bruins’ actual RB unit was devastated with injuries. I would only expect him to see any action on offense if the actual RBs are all hurt again or Mora and co want to throw somebody a curveball.

    So if that’s all the case, he’d be spending 2014 on the defensive side of the ball, which is just about the kiss of death for Heisman hopes.

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