photo credit Rob Christy US Presswire
by Lisa Horne
The 2014 Heisman Trophy race feels different from previous years' races. There is clarity, at least for me. The first two spots on my ballot look like a lock (so far) but the race for the third spot is wide open.
Marcus Mariota, quarterback, Oregon
Mariota has had a spectacular season so far. He has thrown for 2,541 yards, 26 touchdowns and two interceptions. His passer rating is an impressive 187.21. Mariota has also rushed for 410 yards and is ranked 10th in total offense with 2,951 yards. He has had a few Heisman moments and is a model student-athlete. Mariota is the total Heisman package.
Ameer Abdullah, running back, Nebraska
Abdullah has impressed me from the very beginning of the season. He flew into everyone's radar after a mind-blowing performance against McNeese State. He has rushed for 1,250 yards and 17 touchdowns. Abdullah doesn't lead the country in rushing but he has rushed for 200-plus yards in four games. Abdullah suffered a knee injury against Purdue but it not considered a serious injury, per multiple reports.
These guys are still capable of shaking up the Heisman race....
Melvin Gordon, running back, Wisconsin
It wouldn't be a Heisman race without a Badger running back in the mix, right? Wisconsin always produces great offensive lines and thus, produces prolific rushers. And that may be part of the reason why its backs don't receive a lot of Heisman love—their results on the field may be due to the system. Gordon may change some voters' minds. He averages more than 160 yards a game and has racked up 1,296 yards and 18 touchdowns thus far.
Dak Prescott, quarterback, Mississippi State
Prescott is such a likeable young man. He is a great athlete and superb team leader, everything you want in a Heisman winner. He has thrown for 2,025 yards, 16 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He has also rushed for 725 yards and 10 touchdowns. Prescott is ranked sixth among SEC rushers, ahead of Alabama running back T.J. Yeldon and Florida's Matt Jones.
Shaq Thompson, running back/linebacker, Washington
Thompson was pressed into duty as a running back due to the dearth of healthy backs at Washington. So far, so good. Thompson has rushed 45 times for 356 yards and two touchdowns and has caught four passes for 56 yards. Against Colorado, he rushed for 174 yards. Thompson also has four defensive touchdowns. He is just an amazing athlete.
USC running back Javorius "Buck" Allen and Alabama receiver Amari Cooper are two long shots as Heisman finalists.