The Heisman Trophy is one of the most coveted awards in all of sports, and there is always plenty of speculation of contenders for the prestigious award. It honors the best player in college football, and there are plenty of players who can contend for the Heisman next year.
College football is a quarterback-driven league these days thanks to the evolution of the spread offense, and the Heisman voters have given QBs the benefit of the doubt. 13 of the 14 Heisman winners this decade have been quarterbacks, and there is nothing showing that trend to be stopping.
Here is my early attempt at documenting the favorites for the 2015 Heisman Trophy.
1. Trevone Boykin, TCU
Boykin has really flourished under the new system brought in by co-offensive coordinators Doug Meacham and Sonny Cumbie, throwing for nearly 4,000 yards and 33 touchdowns. He has true dual-threat ability, as he has rushed for eight touchdowns. He has played running back and wide receiver in his collegiate career, and he displays that type of speed on a regular basis.
Expect Boykin to put up even better stats in his senior year. He could declare for the NFL Draft if he wanted to, but one more year to polish his throwing skills would probably be the most beneficial. TCU missed the Playoff this year, but their complete domination of Ole Miss in the Peach Bowl makes them legitimate national title contenders for next year.
He also finished fourth on this year’s Heisman ballot, so he already has garnered some respect from the voters.
2. J.T. Barrett, Ohio State
Barrett took over for Braxton Miller after he injured his shoulder a week before the Buckeyes’ season opener against Navy, and after a few rough games, including a 34-17 loss to Virginia Tech, Barrett became a beast for Ohio State.
He accounted for 45 touchdowns as a true freshman, 34 passing and 11 rushing, and Ohio State continues to stockpile talent through recruiting. There will be bit of quarterback controversy next year as Miller returns from injury, but if Barrett retains the starting gig, he should continue to thrive in Urban Meyer’s offense and have a shot to win the Heisman.
3. Dak Prescott, Mississippi State
Mississippi State was one of the most surprising teams in college football this year, and Prescott was a big reason why. He was the frontrunner for this year’s Heisman award until his Bulldogs lost to Alabama and then Ole Miss, but his experience as a contender should help his case.
He is one of the best short yardage runners in the nation, and his running style brings back memories of Tim Tebow, a former Heisman winner. It will come down to how his team does, though. If MSU is one of the top teams come next winter, Prescott just might win.
4. Cody Kessler, USC
Kessler flew mostly under the radar in 2014, maybe because of Marcus Mariota’s brilliance, but he will have a huge senior season. He already announced that he will return to USC, and he will have plenty of weapons at his disposal to put up video game-like stats.
The Trojans also have a chance to contend for next year’s playoff, and if they do that, the voters will have no choice but to pay attention to pay attention to Kessler.
5. Nick Chubb, Georgia
This pick might come as a surprise to some, but we had to put a running back into these rankings. Chubb is the running back who will go into 2015 with the most momentum. He capped off his prolific freshman season in dramatic fashion in the Bulldogs’ bowl win over Louisville, rushing for 266 yards and two touchdowns.
Chubb amassed the 2nd most rushing yards in a single season in Georgia history, behind only Herschel Walker, and Chubb started only eight games. Todd Gurley has already announced that he will forego his senior season and declare for the NFL Draft, meaning Chubb will be the feature back for Mark Richt’s squad.
TCU’s Boykin has to be the front runner at this point because of the offense he plays in, the guarantee that he will be the primary quarterback and the fact that he plays in the Big 12, a conference known for scoring points in bunches.
But there have been plenty of surprises in the past, so don’t be shocked if someone outside of this list ends up accepting the award in New York.