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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, so it’s time to start thinking about what kind of impact they’ll make in college.

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.

That said, here are the recruits from 2014 who stand the best chance of competing for a Heisman in the future, according to (in no particular order):

Keller Chryst, QB, Stanford — Chryst is the best quarterback prospect from the West Coast since Carson Palmer. He’s a big, strong, grown man (6-4, 230) with good athleticism who happens to throw lasers. He has first-pick-in-the-draft potential down the road and, if all goes right, he’ll be the latest Cardinal quarterback to make a legit run at the Heisman.

Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson — Think of how prolific Tajh Boyd has been in Chad Morris’s offense the past three seasons. Now replace him with an even more talented specimen like Watson and it’s not hard to imagine that the Gainesville, Ga., product is on his way to a special career. The 6-3, 195-pounder had over 17,000 yards of offense in high school.

Aaron Sharp, QB, UCLA — Sharp is very similar to Robert Griffin III coming out of high school due to his combination of track speed (21.19 200m) and raw football talent. It’s rare to have one of the fastest players in the country playing quarterback, but that’s what Sharp brings to the table. He also has a strong arm, good size and solid accuracy and with his skill set he should flourish in UCLA’s offensive scheme.

Joe Mixon, RB, Oklahoma — Mixon is a big, bruising downhill power back with good speed for his size (10.96 1oom at 6-1, 215 pounds). He is deceptively athletic and also exceptional as a receiver. He’s the best back signed by Oklahoma since Adrian Petersen. Like Petersen, he has an upright, attacking running style that makes him very tough to tackle in the open field. Though he’s no A.D. when it come to breakaway ability, he’ll play a lot as a freshman and eventually emerge as the latest star running back for the Sooners.

Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State — Rudolph is a perfect fit for the Cowboys offense. At 6-4, 210 pounds, he has a strong arm and is athletic enough to make plays with his feet. He is used to operating out of a shot gun attack. Like most of the quarterbacks who came before him in Stillwater, he’ll have excellent production in his career. But his overall physical ability separates him from previous OSU quarterbacks and could turn him into a potential Heisman candidate down the road.

Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU — Fournette is the consensus No. 1 running back in the country and some contend he is the best player overall. There’s no doubt he’s a physically gifted big back with very good speed for his size (10.95 at 6-1, 226) and he should play right away for the Tigers. The only question is whether he’ll get the chance to have the kind of production needed to challenge for a Heisman while playing for LSU. If given the carries, he should be a candidate sooner rather than later.

Elijah Hood, RB, North Carolina — This was an excellent year for high school running backs. Hood is another one of those big, physical backs who can kick it into an extra gear in the open field. It’s rare for a man this size to have such quick feet. Hood will start from Day One for the Tar Heels and have an outstanding career.

Racean Thomas, RB, Auburn — While Fournette, Mixon and Hood are power backs with speed, Thomas is an ultra-quick and shifty scatback with breakaway ability and a knack for staying on his feet. His vision is outstanding and his ability to stop and start and cut on a dime is the best I’ve seen in quite a while. It’s not hard to picture him gaining huge yardage in Gus Malzahn’s offense and, like Tre Mason, making it to New York one day.

Deshone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame — It’s only a matter of time before Brian Kelly finds the right quarterback to run his offense. Kizer could be that guy. He’s a very talented dual-threat with good size (6-4, 205) and athletic ability. A successful Irish quarterback is always a Heisman candidate, so Kizer stands a good chance to fulfill that promise.

Others to watch
Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
Luke Rubenzer, QB, California
Reggie Bonnafon, QB, Louisville
De’Chavon Hayes, RB, Arizona State
Adam Choice, RB, Clemson
KD Cannon, WR, Baylor
DJ Gillins, QB, Wisconsin
Jarrod Heard, QB, Texas
Will Crest, QB, West Virginia
Nick Chubb, RB, Georgia
Dalvin Warmack, RB, Kansas State

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14 Responses to “Future Heisman candidates from the recruiting class of 2014”
  1. bender4700 says: Feb 25, 2014 8:23 PM

    Everyone is so eager to point out the next great player.

    It’s honestly just weird. Some high school kid tears apart other high school kids (half those guys, if not more are not even playing Division 1, let alone “5 star” players).

    The “recruiting” stuff in college football has made it really crappy.

    I can’t watch anything about College, read anything, or hear anything without someone bringing up what some HIGH SCHOOL kid MIGHT do.

    Let’s all face facts, most high school kids are morons. Why are we so interested in what some kid MIGHT do. There are talented players already doing good things.

  2. 8to80texansblog says: Feb 25, 2014 8:29 PM

    How do you leave out the #1 QB in the class…

    Kyle Allen, according to, was the best QB in the class and he’ll be playing in a system that already produced a Heisman trophy winner last year.

    You know under Sumlin he’ll have outstanding numbers, he’ll be in the premier conference, and if A&M can translate their recent recruiting success into on the field success, he’ll be playing on a double digit win team.

    I mean he’s not even in your, players to watch?

  3. spunhead73 says: Feb 25, 2014 8:44 PM

    Why no Ohio State recruits? I can answer that. Because they all suck.

  4. manik56 says: Feb 25, 2014 8:47 PM

    RBs dont win Heismans anymore.

  5. derekgorgonstar says: Feb 25, 2014 10:41 PM

    Jabril Peppers

  6. normtide says: Feb 25, 2014 10:43 PM

    No one should get to upset, this list is admittedly premature. It’s more likely to be someone not on anyone’s list. That said, this time of year I’ll read anything college football.

  7. steeler1nation says: Feb 25, 2014 11:53 PM

    Whose your team?

  8. bjf59 says: Feb 26, 2014 3:30 AM

    “Best qb prospect since Carson Palmer.” I guess we are acting like Matt Barkley didn’t exist. Barkley was a better prospect than this guy and Carson Palmer! Which almost points out the flaws in this type of article.

  9. tommy57 says: Feb 26, 2014 6:11 AM

    What about LSU’s 8th grader?

  10. cubbybeers41 says: Feb 26, 2014 8:08 AM

    When is the Heismen going to be changed to the best QB for that year.

  11. gorilladunk says: Feb 26, 2014 9:38 AM

    History says that at least half of the guys on this list will never make a huge impact on their programs. They may get playing time, but many of them will be a JAG (just another guy).

  12. friscoal says: Feb 26, 2014 1:25 PM

    Gorilladunk; You mean most of them will be Just Another Guy On Failure Followup. Or jag-off’s.

  13. smitty4703 says: Feb 26, 2014 1:30 PM

    I have personally played Deshone Kizer in high school he is really good but he is not Heisman good may team shut him down with a simple QB spy and decent coverage, but who knows what 4 years of college ball can do

  14. coastalduck says: Feb 27, 2014 5:27 PM

    Can’t believe the Ducks’ 5* RB Royce Freeman — a 6’0, 227 lb battering ram — didn’t even make your “Others to watch” list.

    Some may argue he is just a short-yardage phenom, but those in the know say he is the complete package — pass catching, blocking (a MUST at Oregon), and work ethic (intangible, I know) will have Royce among the top ‘producers’ in the PAC-12.

    I am defining ‘producers’ as it relates to TDs, yards rushing and pass receiving, 3rd-down conversions, blocks to spring teammates for large gains, special teams contributions (yes, seniors play on some STs) — that kind of data should be available in this day and age and should be displayed across the board.

    Coastal, out.

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