Brutally Honest Heisman Breakdown
Boise State RB Ian Johnson
There's no need for the deep sleepers or the top defensive players here. When it comes to the Heisman chase, it's mostly up to quarterbacks and running backs from the top teams, and the statistical monsters, like Boise State RB Ian Johnson. Welcome to week one of the Brutally Honest Heisman Breakdown.
Let's cut through the garbage, the
pomp, the circumstance, the PR BS, and the hype surrounding the greatest
individual award in all of sports. The Heisman Trophy goes to the most
celebrated quarterback or running back from a top BCS team or a top 25
non-BCS program, and while others will be acknowledged here if they have
any prayer of potentially finishing in the top five, it'll take
something extraordinary to get on this list. Let's not pretend the hot
Sun Belt back or the dual threat MAC quarterback has an honest chance.
This isn't a ranking of the best players or top NFL prospects. This is
an attempt to put the finger on the pulse of the Heisman chase. So
without further ado, here are the current favorites AT THE MOMENT (and
this will changed week after week with players moving in and out of
No Current Chance To Win It, But Has Finalist
RB Yvenson Bernard, Sr. Oregon State
Last Week: 29 carries for 165 yards and two touchdowns, with four
catches for 23 yards, in the 24-7 win over Utah
Bernard barely makes the cut, and that's not right. He's one of the
nation's most complete backs, able the run inside or out, catch, and
block, and he'll get several high profile games in the near future to
stay on this list. In the meantime, his stats have to consistently stay
QB Chase Daniel, Jr. Missouri
Last Week: 37 of 54 for 359 yards and three touchdowns in the
40-34 win over Illinois
Currently second in the nation in passing behind Martin Hankins of
Memphis, the Tiger star has the targets and the offensive system to put
up huge numbers. His big test will come in a few weeks against Nebraska.
If you're looking for a comparison, think of him as the poor
man's version of former Purdue QB Drew Brees.
RB Justin Forsett, Sr. California
Last Week: 26 carries for 156 yards and a touchdown, along with a
catch for 49 yards, in the 45-31 win over Tennessee
While Forsett's not flashy like past Cal stars J.J. Arrington or
Marshawn Lynch, he'll put up big numbers in one of the nation's most
prolific offenses. Consider him the West Coast version of Mike Hart;
more of a most valuable player than a most outstanding player.
RB Mike Hart, Sr. Michigan
Last Week: 23 carries for 188 yards and three touchdowns in the
34-32 loss to Appalachian State
While his Heisman hopes went bu-bye with the loss to ASU, he still has a
shot to get to New York if Michigan gets back on track and he becomes
the catalyst of a Big Ten title season. Before the Ohio State game last
year, Michigan won 17 of 18 games when Hart ran for 100 yards or more,
and now has lost two in a row when he's gone over the century mark.
QB Tim Tebow, Soph. Florida
Last Week: 13 of 17 for 300 yards and three touchdowns, along
with eight carries for 38 yards and a touchdown, in the 49-3 win over
As long as Florida is unbeaten and as long as it's in the national
title hunt, Tebow will creep up into Heisman consideration. He's
currently second in the nation in passing efficiency behind Louisville's
QB Andre Woodson, Sr. Kentucky
Last Week: 20 of 29 passes for 250 yards and three touchdowns in
the 50-10 win over Eastern Kentucky
Only getting consideration because he's become the hot quarterback
(think a smaller, more accurate, less powerful passer than JaMarcus
Russell) among the NFL types, he'll need to come up with big stats and
bigger wins to be considered a true Heisman contender. Playing in the
SEC, and with a date against Louisville looming in a few weeks, he'll
get his chances to shine.
On The Radar, But The World Is Looking For
RB P.J. Hill, Jr. Wisconsin
Last Week: 21 carries for 84 yards and two touchdowns in the
42-21 win over Washington State
As everyone looks to find someone from Wisconsin to be in the
Heisman hunt, Hill fits the bill after rushing for 1,569 yards and 15
touchdowns as a freshman. This year, the numbers might not quite be
there with the emergence of Lance Smith to take some work away, and a
running quarterback in Tyler Donovan to snare some short rushing
touchdowns. However, if Hill rumbles against the top teams later in the
year, and if he gets into the top five statistical backs, he'll be in
the finalist mix.
WR/PR DeSean Jackson, Jr. California
Last Week: Four catches for 45 yards, one carry for 21 yards,
and one punt return for 77 yards and a score in the 45-31 win over
He's likely to be out of the mix in a hurry unless he starts to light it
up as a receiver; no one with a brain is going to kick the ball his way.
To be in the Heisman race, he needs to come up with a highlight play
every week to make up for the lack of statistics.
RB Marlon Lucky, Jr. Nebraska
Last Week: 30 carries for 233 yards and three touchdowns in the
win over Nevada
If you're the nation's leading rusher, you get noticed. If you're
the nation's leading rusher and you play for Nebraska, you're a major
player in the race. Lucky has never been a workhorse of any sort, and
has been a disappointment after all the prep hype, but his opening day
performance against Nevada perked up national interest.
QB Colt McCoy, Soph. Texas
Last Week: 22 of 33 for 223 yards and two touchdowns and two
interceptions, with 11 rushing yards, in the 21-13 win over Arkansas
McCoy should've entered the Heisman discussion late last year before
getting hurt against Kansas State, and now his only shot of getting
considered is if Texas beats Oklahoma and gets into the national title
chase. For whatever reason, deserving Texas players (Vince Young and
Cedric Benson being the prime examples) tend to be overlooked in the
RB DeMarco Murray, RFr. Oklahoma
Last Week: 17 carries for 87 yards and five touchdowns, along
with two catches for 13 yards, in the 79-10 win over North Texas
Think of him as a smoother, faster (much faster) Maurice Clarett
without the baggage. The star of the Oklahoma off-season scored at will
when given the chance against the hapless Mean Green of North Texas, and
while OU has too many backs for him to get the overall stats needed to
be in the Heisman race, he's serving notice for the next few years.
QB Matt Ryan, Sr. Boston College
Last Week: 32 of 52 for 408 yards and five touchdowns with two
interceptions in the 38-28 win over Wake Forest
Currently second in the nation in total offense behind Hawaii's Colt
Brennan, Ryan will put up big numbers as the triggerman for a solid BC
offense. Acknowledged as the ACC's best quarterback, he'll likely move up
the NFL draft charts faster than the Heisman rankings.
The True Favorites
QB John David Booty, Sr. USC
Last Week: 21 of 32 for 206 yards and three touchdowns with an
interception in the 38-10 win over Idaho.
Booty's worth will be as a "game manager" for the nation's top team. His
numbers won't even come remotely close to other top statistical
quarterbacks, but if he can navigate the Trojans to the BCS Championship
game, he'll be in New York as the representative of the program.
QB Brian Brohm, Sr. Louisville
Last Week: 16 of 21 passes for 375 yards and four touchdowns,
and one rush for a one-yard touchdown, in the 73-10 win over Murray
He should be an Oakland Raider right now. Brohm currently leads the
nation in passing efficiency, but to jump-start his campaign, he has to
be great against Kentucky in two weeks.
RB Ian Johnson, Jr. Boise State
Last Week: 18 carries for 128 yards and three touchdowns in
the 56-7 win over Weber State
Basically, Johnson showed up for the first half against Weber State,
ripped off a few scores, and took a seat. He'll be among the nation's
leading scorers all season long, and he should blow up yardage-wise
behind an incredible offensive line. To have any hope of being in the
Heisman chase, he needs to go nuts against Washington this week.
RB Darren McFadden, Jr. Arkansas
Last Week: 24 carries for 151 yards and a touchdown, along with
two catches for 30 yards and one pass for a 42-yard touchdown in the
46-26 win over Troy
Arkansas has to be in the SEC title race again for McFadden to get
the love he received last year. While that might not happen, his overall
numbers, and importance to the team, could get him back to New York if
Felix Jones doesn't take away too many yards and touchdowns. He'll make
several highlight shows when he lines up under center in the Wildcat
package. In the end, he'll have to settle for being a top five draft
pick in 2008 and a multi-millionaire.
RB Ray Rice, Jr. Rutgers
Last Week: 25 carries for 184 yards and three touchdowns in the
38-3 win over Buffalo
There's no questioning his production, and being in the New York
media market will certainly help, but his only shot will be if he's
among the top five statistical runners. He'll have to go nuts in the
nationally televised big games, but until then, he'll be a 100-yard
machine against teams like Navy and Norfolk State.
RB Steve Slaton, Jr. West Virginia
Last Week: 16 carries for 109 yards and three touchdowns, along
with two catches for 61 yards and a score
Ho hum. All Slaton did was average over nine yards every time he
touched the ball against Western Michigan with three touchdowns. As
voters try to figure out if he's the better choice over teammate Pat
White, he'll keep cranking out huge runs, highlight reel performances,
and lots and lots of touchdowns. The junior has scored 40 times in his
last 21 games.
QB Pat White, Jr. West Virginia
Last Week: 10 of 18 for 192 yards and two touchdowns, with 97
rushing yards and two touchdowns on nine carries, in the 62-24 win over
That there's even a debate over who's the better player between
White and Steve Slaton shows why neither can win, but make no mistake
about it; White's the one who makes the offense go. His passing appears
to have gotten better, while he remains the slipperiest-running
quarterback in America.
And The Current Leader In The Clubhouse Is ...
QB Colt Brennan, Sr. Hawaii
Last Week: 34 of 40 for 416 yards and six touchdowns, and 23
rushing yards, in just over a half in the 63-6 win over Northern
Think of it this way; who wins the 2006 Heisman if the voting was
done after the bowls (like it should be)? Troy Smith probably
doesn't win it after the way he played against Florida. Darren McFadden
is out after the loss to Wisconsin. Mike Hart doesn't win after losing
to USC. Brady Quinn is out after the LSU loss. John David Booty and
JaMarcus Russell would be in the discussion, but Brennan, after throwing
for 559 yards and five scores in a bowl win over Arizona State, would've
probably gotten it.
After bombing away last year for 5,549 yards and 58 touchdowns with only
12 interceptions (and adding 366 rushing yards and five scores), while
completing 73% of his passes, the buzz is there that'll make everyone
pay attention to him all year. His numbers will be too astronomical to