Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Geno's Dirty Dozen Heisman Contenders: Pre-Season Edition

                                    Photo Credit: Nati Harnik

With the 2015 College Football season on the horizon, what better time than now to evaluate some potential Heisman Trophy candidates. 

Here is my pilot edition of the "Dirty Dozen":

1) RB Leonard Fournette (LSU)

2014 Statistics:

Played all 13 games
Rushing Yards: 1,034
Rushing TD's: 10

In what could be the year of the running back in the Southeastern Conference, Leonard Fournette comes into the 2015 season as the top candidate in the Dirty Dozen Heisman race.

Fournette finished last season with back-to-back 100-plus yard games (146 at Texas A&M and 143 vs Notre Dame).

2) TB Nick Chubb (Georgia)

2014 Statistics: 

Played in all 13 games 
Rushing Yards: 1,547
Rushing TD's: 18

Despite going off for eight straight 100-plus yard games to finish 2014, Nick Chubb could potentially face more teams that will crowd the box on him this season.

Until that scenario comes to life, Chubb remains high on the radar in the 2015 Heisman Trophy race. 

Chubb also showed signs of being able to go out in the flat for double-digit receptions when called upon as he scored two touchdowns with the longest being from 27 yards.

3) QB Christian Hackenberg (Penn State)

2014 Statistics: 

Started in all 13 games
Passing Yards: 2,977
Passing TD's: 12  
INT's: 15 

Even in an up-and-down 2014 season, Christian Hackenberg showed signs of promise as the Nittany Lions' signal caller.

The New Era Pinstripe Bowl against Boston College proved to be Hackenberg's finest hour yet as he threw for 371 yards and four touchdowns. 

In order for Hackenberg to stay in contention, mistakes will have to be cut down and the TD/INT ratio must flip from 2014 in order for Penn State to make a run towards the Big Ten Championship.

4) QB Brad Kaaya (Miami, FL)

2014 Statistics:

Played/Started in all 13 games
Passing Yards: 3,198
Passing TD's: 26
INT's: 12

"Bye, Felicia!"

For those not familiar with the above reference, it comes courtesy of the 1995 film "Friday", with Kaaya's mother Angela Means Kaaya playing the character Felicia.

If Brad Kaaya can string together a series of poetic performances this season, then he could be telling opponents that very same phrase.

5) RB Ezekiel Elliott (Ohio State)

2014 Statistics:

Played in all 15 games
Rushing Yards: 1,878
Rushing TD's: 18

Playing a key role in Ohio State's national championship run last season, Ezekiel Elliott returns for his junior campaign.

Elliott averaged 232 yards per game on the ground to go along with 9.2 yards per carry in the final three games of 2014.

With a cast of talent surrounding him such as quarterbacks Cardale Jones and J.T. Barrett and converted wide receiver Braxton Miller, holes could open for Elliott as the aforementioned players will likely cause matchup problems for the opposition.

6) QB Trevone Boykin (TCU)

2014 Statistics:

Started in all 13 games
Passing Yards: 3,901
Passing TD's: 33
INT's: 10

Versatility can be an enticing weapon to anyone, but for Trevone Boykin, taking the WR-to-QB conversion paid off last season.

In the stats listed above, Boykin set eight school single-season records in 2014, highlighted by passing yards, passing touchdowns and total offense.

Other stats on the remaining six pre-season contenders:

7) QB Connor Cook (Michigan State)

2014 Statistics:

Played/Started in all 13 games
Passing Yards: 3,214
Passing TD's: 24
INT's: 8

8) QB Zach Terrell (Western Michigan)

2014 Statistics:

Started in all 13 games
Passing Yards: 3,443
Passing TD's: 26
INT's: 10

9) QB Dak Prescott (Mississippi State)

2014 Statistics:

Started in all 13 games
Passing Yards: 3,449
Passing TD's: 27
INT's: 11

10) MLB Scooby Wright III (Arizona)

2014 Statistics:

Started in all 14 games
Tackles: 163 (99 solo)
Tackles For Loss: 29
Sacks: 14
Forced Fumbles: 6

11) WR Will Fuller (Notre Dame)

2014 Statistics:

Played/Started in all 13 games
Receiving Yards: 1,094
Receptions: 76
Receiving TD's: 15

12) RB James Conner (Pittsburgh)

2014 Statistics:

Played/Started in all 13 games
Rushing Yards: 1,765
Rushing TD's: 26

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