College Football Preview: Heisman Candidates Part 1: #10-#6

June 22, 2009

Here is's top 10 Heisman Candidates for the 2009 College Football season. Consideration for candidacy involves an ambiguous combination of expected on-field performance and standard college football politics.

Additional factors include the amount of exposure a player can expect to receive and the probability of team success. It is extremely unlikely you have a chance to even be a finalist for the award unless your team is very successful, if not actively contending for the national championship.

Here is #10 through #6 on the list.

#10 Jimmy Clausen, Jr. (QB), Notre Dame

Positives: Notre Dame should finally get back on track this year and this high school phenom will surely make headlines if it does. With a relatively weak schedule Clausen (60.9% completions, 25 TDs, 244 yd/game) should go for big numbers with the help of wide receivers Golden Tate (1080 yds, 18.6 yd/catch) and Michael Floyd (65.4 yds/game, 15.0 yd/catch) and a solid offensive line. It doesn't hurt that Notre Dame's television contract will get him maximum exposure.

Negatives: High school hype and school tradition can only take you so far. Clausen is probably not even one of the top 10 quarterbacks in college football. There is no reason to think more established quarterbacks like Tebow, Bradford, and McCoy will all struggle and give him an opening.

#9 Terrelle Pryor, So. (QB), Ohio State

Positives: With an early home game against an inexperienced USC team, Pryor (853 yds rushing, 1311 yds passing, led Big-10 in Passing Efficiency - 146.5) has the opportunity to get on the national radar right away. This true sophomore started 10 games last year as a freshman and gained valuable experience. The Buckeyes are still in position to win the Big Ten and, unfortunately for most college football fans, may have an outside chance at playing for a national championship if they win the Big 10. He is sure to have a number of highlight reel plays to help promote his case.

Negatives: Pryor is still a raw talent in many ways and is not quite ready to be the new "Vince Young" of college football. While extremely fast, his passing numbers were hardly spectacular last year and the loss of Chris "Beanie" Wells to the NFL along with his top 2 receivers won't help. Unless he is playing for a National Championship, it is unlikely he will beat out any of the Big 3 QBs from last year. It is also probably too much to expect Ohio State to beat both USC and Penn State which they would need to do to get a shot at the title.

#8 C.J. Spiller, Sr. (RB) Clemson

Positives: Clemson should be favored to win the ACC Atlantic Division this year. Spiller (52.4 yds/game rushing, 36.3yds/game receiving) will get plenty of opportunities on offense with the graduation of Clemson's starting QB and RB. Spiller is projected as a high NFL draft pick and is also a serious threat on special teams (27.2 yds/kickoff return, 10.5 yds/punt return) giving him extra ways to score.

Negatives: Anything short of a "Reggie Bush" type year will leave Spiller little chance. Even under the best case scenario Clemson is not a National Title Contender and Spiller has not been an every down running back. He may not even be the best running back in the ACC (see Georgia Tech's Jonathan Dwyer).

#7 Noel Devine, Jr. (RB) West Virginia

Positives: West Virginia has not finished lower than 2nd in the Big East since 2001, thus they can be expected to be in the hunt for a BCS bowl again. Devine (1289 yds, 6.3 yds/carry) is the Big East's leading returning rusher, and the loss of Pat White suggests even more touches for him this year. Devine was a high school phenom and there is every reason to believe that he can explode when he is the clear #1 option on offense.

Negatives: Despite White's presence on the team, it is hard to explain why Devine had only 4 touchdowns last year. Though he is the best offensive player in his conference, the Big East is not a highly respected conference and West Virginia regularly disappoints each year. The offensive line took a major hit as well, with 4 of the 5 starters gone.

#6 Evan Royster, Jr. (RB) Penn State

Positives: The Big Ten's leading returning rusher, Royster (1236 yds, 6.5 yds/carry) is the best player on what is likely the Big Ten's best team. Penn State also has a serious chance to go unbeaten and play in the BCS Championship game. Penn State figures to rely heavily on the running game and thus Royster will get all the touches he needs.

Negatives: QB Daryll Clark may steal some of the limelight if the Nittany Lions make a run for the BCS title. Although very talented, Penn State only returns 9 starters and suffered significant losses on the offensive line. Losses at WR also suggest some teams may be able to focus on stopping the run better than last year. Royster is solid, but likely not spectacular enough to finish ahead of some of the others.

Manish Pandya
Staff Editor for

No comments:

Post a Comment

We encourage all intelligent, passionate comments. Please refrain from any ignorant, racist, or offensive rants.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...