Heisman Trophy Contenders

Each year, the Heisman Trophy is given to the most outstanding player in college football.

Last year, Johnny Manziel became the first freshman in history to win the coveted award and is attempting to win his second; and if he does, he would only be the second player ever to do it.

However, nobody told Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota that Johnny Football wanted to join Archie Griffin as the only repeat Heisman winner. These three quarterbacks are my early three finalists for the Heisman Trophy.

The Oregon Ducks has had one of the most consistently explosive offenses in college football for the past five years. Even after the captain abandoned ship to coach the Philadelphia Eagles, the Ducks offense is still as potent as ever.

Normally with the Ducks, the spotlight is on the running back, as was the case with LeGarette Blount and LaMichael James. This year, the Mariota is in the limelight, proving that he can be a legitimate contender, completing 65 percent of his passes with more than 2,200 yards passing, 20 TDs to zero interceptions and 511 rushing yards. This weekend’s matchup against No. 5 Stanford could be Mariota’s Heisman moment.

I’ve been high on Winston all year. The young passer is a mix between Brett Favre and Donovan McNabb, both bound for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Playing in the shadow of the 16th-overall pick, E.J. Manuel couldn’t have been easy, but Winston quickly broke out of that shadow this year.

He has completed a mind-boggling 70 percent of his passes, with 2,177 yards through the air and 24 TDs to four interceptions. “Famous” Jameis Winston is the real deal, and could possibly become the second freshman in two years and first Seminole since 2000 to bring home the Heisman Trophy.

Johnny Football, the name synonymous with electrifying plays and off-field issues, is also in the running for the trophy.

Last year, his Heisman moment came when the Texas A&M Aggies upset the No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide. This year, Manziel couldn’t muster the same type of magic to pull another upset.

Manziel has had a solid sophomore campaign, completing 73 percent of his passes for nearly 2,600 yards with 22 TDs to eight interceptions, while rushing for nearly 500 yards and eight TDs. The real question is, will Manziel’s off-field issues this summer overshadow his back-to-back Heisman aspirations?

 

ANDREW KALATA

[email protected]