Daily Roundtable - The Heisman Sleepers
Ohio State QB Terrelle Pryor
Ohio State QB Terrelle Pryor
Posted May 24, 2009

Alright, so saying Ohio State's Terrelle Pryor is a Heisman candidate isn't exactly going out on a limb, but it'll be tough for anyone to get into the hunt considering Tim Tebow, Sam Bradford, and Colt McCoy are near locks to be in New York. Who else could be a sleeper in the Heisman race? We try to answer it in the CFN Daily Roundtable Discussion.

CFN Daily Roundtables

May 25

The Sleeper In The Heisman Race Is ...?

- May 18 No BCS, No Weis?
- May 19 Does 2008 Utah have a beef?
- May 20 When should preseason polls come out?
- May 21 Is Tebow the best QB ever?

- May 22 2009's most interesting teams 

Over the next several weeks, as part of the CFN 2009 Preview, we'll examine some of the key questions going into the year with a daily discussion of the big topics.

Pete Fiutak, CFN 

Q: The sleeper in the Heisman race is ... ?

Terrelle Pryor, QB Ohio State.

Let's cut through the B.S. that anyone other than a quarterback or running back from a BCS-bound team can be in the hunt for the Heisman. While either Tebow, McCoy or Bradford will almost certainly win it, Pryor is the one to watch out for if he can lead the Buckeyes to a win over USC. Yes, he's not exactly a Heisman prospect from out of left field, and yes, there will be an anti-Ohio State thing going on from a college football world that's still feeling the burn from two championship game losses, but no one will deny Pryor's talent and no one will question whether or not he'll be worthy of Heisman consideration if Ohio State is in the BCS/national title hunt. This is a good Buckeye team, but it's a rebuilding one meaning Pryor will have to be the man.

My four other sleepers (remembering that they have to be quarterbacks or running backs from BCS-bound teams).

2. Daryll Clark, QB Penn State - Look at the schedule. The team won't be as good as last year, but the one tough road game is Michigan State while Ohio State comes to Happy Valley.
3. Jarrett Brown, QB West Virginia - He won't be Pat White running the ball, but if the Mountaineers win at Auburn, and if it's because of Brown, he could be on the radar.
4. Jimmy Clausen, QB Notre Dame - With that receiving corps, that schedule, and that exposure, the potential is there to be a finalist.
5A. Matt Barkley, QB USC - I'm not buying that Aaron Corp will keep the job all year long.
5B. Jeremiah Masoli, QB Oregon - I'm throwing the Dennis Dixon vibe out there. If Masoli is big-time in a win over USC, he'll have a spot in New York for the taking.

Richard Cirminiello, CFN

Q: The sleeper in the Heisman race is ... ?

(Abstaining out of spite. Protesting until he gets a Heisman vote.)

Matthew Zemek, CFN

Q: The sleeper in the Heisman race is ... ?

Jonathan Dwyer, Georgia Tech. He's in the ACC. He's going to rack up numbers partly because of the offensive system/framework in which he operates. But if he goes wild and leads the Jackets to a monster season, the Atlanta market is hardly the worst place to attract Heisman attention. Guys named Tebow, McCoy, Bradford, Pryor, and Masoli stand out, but Dwyer could make a stealth bid from the shadows of Bobby Dodd Stadium.

Jon Miller, Publisher, HawkeyeNation.com

Q: The sleeper in the Heisman race is ... ?

A: Since it’s a near-lock that it'll be a three-man race between Sam Bradford, Colt McCoy and Tim Tebow, it's going to take something special for someone else to break in.  One team that folks really aren’t talking about as being in the mix for the national title chase, because they don’t want to see them there again, is Ohio State.  I think the Buckeyes will get by a young USC team at home and have a decent shot at going 12-0 with a healthy Terrelle Pryor.  If he is healthy all year, I think he could put up some very efficient numbers.  Plus, and I know the Heisman is not the MVP, but of Oklahoma, Texas, Florida or Ohio State, which team would be most adversely affected if their starting quarterback went down to injury?

In my opinion, that’s Ohio State and it’s not even close.  They have retooled their offense to fit around Pryor’s skill set.  If he goes down, they don’t have a Pryor clone sitting on the bench.  So he would be my dark horse candidate, as I think he could command much of the Midwestern and northeast vote.  However, I think Colt McCoy is going to be tough to hold off; he is who I would have voted for last year.

Hunter Ansley, Publisher, DraftZoo.com

Q: The sleeper in the Heisman race is ... ?

A: I wanted to go with Arrelious Benn here, but if Michael Crabtree can't win the Heisman, then no receiver can.  I'm going with Oklahoma State QB Zac Robinson.  He'll get the exposure early with a home game against Georgia, and if he puts up good numbers in a win there, he can vault himself into the discussion as a serious contender.  If he somehow navigates a win over Oklahoma or Texas, he might get his team into a BCS bowl, possibly the big one, and then he vaults into a possible favorite. 

Of course, he should have the stats too.  The Big 12 isn't exactly a defensive conference, and with the way Oklahoma State's defense struggles, he may have to throw a lot to outscore his opponents.  He's got a solid relationship with one of the most productive receivers in college football in Dez Bryant and the top OT in the game in Russell Okung, so I think he'll again be successful throwing the ball.  His passing numbers have improved every year, and after throwing for over 3,000 yards in 2008, he could be in for a record-breaking season.  There's plenty of hype surrounding his team going into 2009, and the Cowboys could open with their highest ranking in quite sometime. 

Then there's his running ability.  Robinson has put up over 1,400 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns over the last two seasons.  If the voters shy away from giving Tim Tebow a second Heisman, Robinson, who'll have the most similar stats of any BCS quarterback, could steal enough votes to bring it home.