Photo credit Rob Christy, US Presswire
by Lisa Horne
With five weeks of football in the books, it is time to start organizing our watch list. My candidates will be ranked on a weekly basis up to the regular season's final week of college football. The Heisman Trust has asked its voters to refrain from revealing their ballots to the general public until after the Heisman Trophy presentation has been broadcasted.
This list and its rankings are not absolute. Additions to this list can be made.
1- Marcus Mariota. quarterback, Oregon
Not only is Mariota one of the most physically gifted athletes in college football, he is also a model student-athlete. He's a smart young man on and off the field.
2- Ameer Abdullah, running back, Nebraska
Abdullah has already rushed for 833 yards and eight touchdowns. Abdullah's biggest challenge will come this weekend when he runs against one of the toughest defenses in the country—Michigan State.
3- Todd Gurley, running back, Georgia
Gurley had his first 200-plus rushing yard game of the season against Tennessee. He also rushed for two touchdowns and caught four passes for 30 yards.
4- Amari Cooper, receiver, Alabama
Cooper caught 10 passes for 201 yards and three touchdowns against Florida. Cooper is a blast to watch but I want to see how he does against better defenses. His two best games came against Florida and Florida Atlantic whose pass defenses are ranked No. 113 and No. 110 respectively.
5- Kenny Hill, quarterback, Texas A&M
Hill had another monster game against Arkansas. He went 21-of-41 for 386 yards, four touchdowns and one interception. Like Cooper, Hill has faced some porous pass defenses (South Carolina and Arkansas) so his numbers may be a little padded.
6- Brett Hundley, quarterback, UCLA
Hundley had an almost perfect game against Arizona State. He went 18-of-23 for 355 yards, four touchdowns and rushed eight times for 72 yards and one touchdown. Welcome back, Brett.
7- Connor Halliday, quarterback, Washington State
Halliday started out a little rough against the always tough Utah Utes' front seven by throwing two interceptions but he finished beautifully. He went 39-of-61 for 417 yards and four touchdowns and he leads the country in passing productivity and total offense.
8- Cody Kessler, quarterback, USC
Like Mariota, Kessler has yet to thrown an interception. His accuracy is very high at 72 percent. Against Arizona State, Kessler went 24-of-32 for 261 yards and two touchdowns against Oregon State's 18th-ranked pass defense.
9- Everett Golson, quarterback, Notre Dame
Golson has posted some impressive numbers but the toughest pass defense he has faced is Michigan's. Still, going 32-of-39 against any defense—including completing 25 consecutive passes—is impressive. This week he faces Stanford, which has the No. 1 defense in the country.
10- Connor Cook, quarterback, Michigan State
Cook has a chance to shine against an impressive Nebraska team. The Cornhuskers' running back Abdullah may also steal his spotlight.