It’s four weeks into the season. It’s a tad early. Most players have a small sample size against competitive opposition.
Marcus Mariota, QB (Oregon)
Mariota ran for more than 100 yards in his first two games. He didn’t against Tennessee, only throwing for 456 yards and four touchdowns on 33 pass attempts. His countable numbers are limited by the blowouts (has not thrown a 4th quarter pass attempt yet), but he will have the opportunity to make statements on the road at Washington and Stanford.
Johnny Manziel, QB (Texas A&M)
Manziel is a better passer this season, averaging more than 11 yards per attempt. He had a flattering performance against Alabama, “in a losing effort.” His off the field antics may scare voters away from knighting him again. Winning against Alabama would have done wonders for him. Not sure LSU will have the same effect.
Teddy has the name recognition. The trouble is he’s not on national TV. He has to keep putting up strong numbers for an undefeated team and hope no one emerges on a greater stage. Thus far, he is fulfilling his end of the bargain. Through four games, he has thrown for 1,200 yards and 14 touchdowns, while completing 72 percent of his passes.
Jameis Winston, QB (Florida State)
Winston was notable before he stepped on the field and being depicted as Jesus after two, nearly perfect games. He has completed 40-45 passes thus far against FBS teams. He lost focus a bit against mighty Bethune-Cookman. But, if he picks up where he left off, Winston could pull a Manziel and bring home the award.
Tajh Boyd, QB (Clemson)
Boyd remains in the discussion, based on name recognition and having the best win of any QB. Beyond that, though, he has started slowly. Through three games, Boyd is 59th in completion percentage, 50th in yards per attempt and 38th in passer rating. He must improve on those numbers to distinguish himself from a strong QB class. He has the chance to take out Winston head to head.
A.J. McCarron, Aaron Murray and Brett Hundley could also have made this list. It’s really hard seeing a non-quarterback winning the Heisman. De’Anthony Thomas, Todd Gurley and perhaps Lache Seastrunk could work their way into the discussion. The wide receivers look like virtual non-entities. Brandin Cooks may put up Heisman-type numbers, but for a disappointing Oregon State. Sammy Watkins and Stefon Diggs are the only receivers on the board at 100-1. Maybe the Clowney backlash swings back around by November?
This Would Be Awkward
LSU running back Jeremy Hill, who enrolled after being charged with oral sexual battery of a 14-year-old girl, was voted back on to the team. He may force voters to make a moral stand. Hill has averaged more than eight yards per carry since his suspension. He ran for 184 yards and three touchdowns on 25 carries against Auburn. Keeping pace, he could be around 1,000 yards for an undefeated LSU team heading into the Alabama game.
[Photos via USA Today Sports]