photo credit// Rob Christy US Presswire
by Lisa Horne
The Heisman Trophy race's peloton has been narrowed to seven candidates.
That doesn't mean the list cannot change—2013 Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston was missing on most voters' lists at this point last year—but it is going to take a superlative effort for a new face to emerge.
Marcus Mariota, quarterback, Oregon
Mariota impersonated the Man of Steel as he flew into the endzone for a touchdown against Wyoming.
Ameer Abdullah, running back, Nebraska
Abdullah "only" rushed for 110 yards and one touchdown against Fresno State but one of those runs was 57 yards long.
Todd Gurley, running back, Georgia
We're not sure how South Carolina limited Gurley to only 14 yards in the second half of their game but this should light a fire under him when the Bulldogs face helpless Troy on Saturday.
Amari Cooper, receiver, Alabama
Cooper is having a phenomenal season but will it continue? Probably not. Head coach Nick Saban likes a balanced offense and Cooper's numbers will drop as the Crimson Tide start conference play on Saturday.
Kenny Hill, quarterback, Texas A&M
Hill's numbers are also mostly a reflection of playing against suspect defenses but he's still fun to watch. One could argue his superior playmaking abilities make good defenses look silly.
Taysom Hill, quarterback, BYU
Of all the Heisman candidates, Hill has probably the best resume. BYU has beaten UConn and Texas on the road and Houston at home. BYU's schedule gets decidedly easier—Virginia and Cal are the only Power 5 teams remaining on its schedule.
Bryce Petty, quarterback, Baylor
Petty made mincemeat out of Buffalo in a 63-21 victory on Friday. People will start recognizing how good this quarterback is in November, when Baylor's schedule has more teeth.
Teetering on elimination:
Brett Hundley, quarterback, UCLA
Hundley did not finish playing against Texas due to an injury to his arm. Head coach Jim Mora has not addressed the severity of the injury nor the timetable for his return. If Hundley misses the Bruins' next game at Arizona State on September 25, he will, for all intents and purposes, be out of the race.
Christian Hackenberg, quarterback, Penn State
If Penn State wins the Big Ten East behind Hackenberg's arm, he's got a a shot at going to New York in December. But his touchdown-interception ratio of 4-5 needs to drastically improve.
Cody Kessler, quarterback, USC
Kessler actually had a good day, albeit a losing effort, against Boston College going 31-of-41 for 317 yards and four touchdowns. Unfortunately, Kessler's pocket awareness was poor—several opportunities to avoid the sack were not seized and he was sacked.
Connor Cook, quarterback, Michigan State
Cook had a real opportunity to shine against Oregon and he did in the first half of the game. But those two interceptions killed his "feel good" moments.
Jake Waters, quarterback, Kansas State
Waters had a great game against Auburn but his stats don't reflect that: 25-of-40, 345 yards, 2 INT. His receivers dropped passes and one bobble by Tyler Lockett in the endzone caused an interception.
Duke Johnson, runningback, Miami
If Johnson can't break the 100 rushing yards barrier against Florida A&M and Arkansas State, how will he do that in conference play?
Myles Jack, linebacker/running back, UCLA
I do think Jack has a better shot of winning if he touches the ball more on the offense, but it looks like Mora is content with him as a situational running back.
Out of the race:
Nick Marshall, quarterback, Auburn
Marshall was cited for possession of marijuana and having illegally tinted windows on his car in July. His mother paid the $1,100 fine, according to AL.com.
Jameis Winston, quarterback, Florida State
Winston received a shoplifting citation in April. He is also suspended for the first half of the Clemson game on Saturday due to using vulgar and offensive language while standing on a table on campus this past week.
Melvin Gordon, running back, Wisconsin
Gordon had 17 carries for 38 yards against Western Illinois. Wisconsin doesn't play Michigan, Michigan State or Ohio State which means he doesn't have much opportunity to impress voters against more competitive opponents.
Mike Davis, running back, South Carolina
Davis has rushed for 182 yards in three games. His low productivity has been hampered by a rib injury.