In College Football America, our preview publication, I wrote about the Heisman frontrunners and sleepers, from my perspective. While no one is out of the race yet, two weeks into the season we can start to see who’s rising, who’s falling and who’s holding. In addition, several players outside of our original preview are worth tracking now. Here’s College Football America’s second Heisman update of 2013. In Week 6 we’ll whittle this down to the Top 25. But, a month into the season, this seems like a pretty complete list.
Bishop Sankey, RB, Washington: Sankey is No. 9 in all-purpose yardage after three games – 521 total yards. His 148.7 yards rushing per game is second in FBS. Arizona and Stanford are up next for the Huskies. Now we see if a Sankey-for-Heisman campaign has legs.
Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson: Boyd has thrown six touchdowns and no interceptions in three games, but he hasn’t put together a 300-yard passing game just yet. He and the Tigers are entering the bulk of their schedule, so we’ll learn more about Boyd’s chances the next few weeks. As long as the Tigers are undefeated going into that Florida State game next month, I don’t see a reason to drop Boyd from this list.
Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville: He’s third in passer rating in FBS and has thrown for 1,214 yards in four games. The Cardinals haven’t even entered American Athletic Conference action yet. His candidacy is not going anywhere.
Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia: Only 91 yards rushing against North Texas, but he’s scored four touchdowns in three games and definitely has home run ability. The numbers have to get better, especially with LSU coming to town.
Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M: His performance against Alabama is going to keep him in this race, even though the Aggies lost. Statistically Manziel has thrown for 1,228 yards and 12 touchdowns and is No. 8 in total offense. One ponders the possibilities had Manziel just kept his mouth shut during the offseason.
Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon: Mariota was on our original preseason list and somehow I failed to include him in Week 2. My apologies. He’s all right, you know, Top 10 in passer rating, seven touchdowns to no interceptions and No. 5 in total offense. That’s all through three games. The Pac-12 schedule awaits and Mariota gets a month to build up stats before the Ducks get Stanford.
AJ McCarron, QB, Alabama: All he does is win football games, and that tends to help in the eyes of Heisman voters come November. Just understand his numbers won’t look sexy, or at least as sexy as his girlfriend, Katherine Webb.
Zach Mettenberger, QB, LSU: More than 1,000 yards passing, 10 touchdowns to 1 interceptions and a Top 10 ranking for the Tigers going into Saturday’s game in Georgia. He looks like a totally different player.
Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia: Murray is No. 4 in passer rating, has thrown for 1,040 yards and 7 touchdowns in three games. LSU is coming to town on Saturday. That feels like a “Heisman Moment” game for the senior.
Bryce Petty, QB, Baylor: Same issue as Seastrunk. The Bears haven’t played anyone. But, geez – 1,001 yards passing, 8 touchdowns to 0 interceptions and FBS’s top passer rating? Keep an eye on him.
Paul Richardson, WR, Colorado: He still leads the nation in receiving yards per game, even though he hasn’t played a game in two weeks.
Lache Seastrunk, RB, Baylor: Seastrunk is Top 10 in FBS in rushing with 139 yards per game. But Baylor has played NO ONE. West Virginia is coming to town and the Mountaineers have a Swiss cheese defense. More big numbers await.
Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State: He showed a little Manziel-esque escapability aginst Bethune-Cookman on Saturday, a clip sure to be re-run over and over again by ESPN. Believe it or not, that helps. But look closer. His numbers have dropped each of the past two games, though he left Saturday’s game early since FSU had it in hand. Better opponents are coming.
Ka’Deem Carey, RB, Arizona: He’s rushed for more than 300 total yards in two games since returning from suspension. But those games were against UNLV and UTSA. Let’s see how he does against Washington this week.
Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina: Two sacks in three games. The week off couldn’t come at a better time. He needs a great reset game in the next two weeks or he risks falling off this list entirely.
Devin Gardner, QB, Michigan: UConn really did a number on him – 97 yards passing and 64 yards rushing. His completion percentage has gone down each of the last two games. Five interceptions to two touchdown passes in the last two games. He’s in danger of falling off our Top 25 in two weeks.
Taysom Hill, QB, BYU: He had a nice statistical game against Utah – 260 yards passing and 99 yards rushing. But that 20-13 loss to Utah is going to hurt him more than his incredible performance against Texas is going to help him.
Christion Jones, WR, Alabama: Entered our list two weeks ago as an outsider. He’s still in the Top 10 in all-purpose yardage, but when you do several things you need splash plays every week. He hasn’t had those in the past two games.
Duke Johnson, RB, Miami (FL): Yes, his value is in his diverse abilities, and he’s No. 12 in all-purpose yardage. But the fact that he’s gained less than 100 yards each of the past two weeks sticks out and he may have suffered a concussion against Savannah State.
Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State: You hate to penalize him for being hurt, but Miller faces an uphill battle as the Buckeyes enter Big Ten action. Plus, there’s the rise of Kenny Guiton. There’s no QB controversy here, but Heisman winners don’t do timeshares.
Marqise Lee, WR, USC: He finally caught a touchdown pass against Boston College. But with 23 receptions in four games, no one is falling all over themselves to give Lee an award right now.
Jordan Lynch, QB, Northern Illinois: I’m not prepared to steady Lynch just yet. But two straight games of 200 yards passing and 100 yards rushing helps. Mid-American Conference action is on the horizon.
Venric Mark, RB, Northwestern: Mark was a kid I loved at the start of the season. But he’s missed three straight games due to injury. It’s hard to see him being part of my Top 25 in two weeks.
On the outside, but…
These are the players I’m tracking the next two weeks to see if they become risers in the Heisman race.
Odell Beckham, WR, LSU: He’s fourth in all-purpose yardage in FBS. He has 20 receptions, four of which have gone for scores. He’s going to break one of those punt or kickoff returns for a touchdown at some point. Perhaps it will come this week against a suspect Georgia coverage unit.
Brandon Cooks, WR, Oregon State: Um, 43 receptions, 639 yards and 7 touchdowns in four games? Yeah, let’s keep an eye on him. College Football America’s Chuck Cox will get an in-person look this weekend in Corvallis.
Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin: Is Montee Ball moonlighting due to light playing time in Denver? Gordon leads the nation in rushing with 624 yards and 7 touchdowns.
Marion Grice, RB, Arizona State: He doesn’t wow you until you connect the dots. He has 193 yards rushing, 147 yards receiving and 128 kick return yards. Oh, and there’s the matter of his NCAA-leading 48 points (8 touchdowns).
Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA: He was on my original sleeper list but I ended up dropping him. My bad. Hundley is leading UCLA’s charge into the Top 10. He’s thrown for 848 yards and 8 touchdowns through three games.
Chuckie Keeton, QB, Utah State: I’m a fan. He has to put up massive numbers, though. Well, he has 1,102 yards passing and nearly 200 yards rushing. He’s thrown 14 touchdown passes and just 1 interception. He’s incredibly smart and he has a sticky-fingered wide receiving corps.
DeAnthony Thomas, RB, Oregon: He’s back. He’s in the Top 20 in all-purpose yardage and has six rushing touchdowns. He’s well below Mariota if you’re putting together a pecking order, as we will in two weeks.