2013 Heisman Candidates: 5 Who Will Flame out by Midseason

Michael Carroll@mjcarroll531Featured ColumnistAugust 22, 2013

2013 Heisman Candidates: 5 Who Will Flame out by Midseason

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    Only one player can win the Heisman Trophy, and once voting season begins, it’s usually clear which two players have a chance to win it. Sometimes, it’s obvious in midseason who will be the only true contenders. The other players who some believe have a chance to win, especially in the preseason, are just distractions.

    Which players in the 2013 preseason that are getting Heisman consideration will bow out of the race by midseason?

    To narrow down the list of contenders, I consulted “The 2013 HeismanPundit/CBSSports.com Heisman Trophy Watch List (post-spring edition).” For those of you who are unaware of HeismanPundit.com, it’s a site created by Chris Huston, a Heisman voter himself. Some believe Huston is the foremost authority on Heisman predictions, and as a Heisman voter, few know as much as him about who has a realistic chance to win the award.

    “The Heisman Pundit” made my job a little harder by listing the candidates alphabetically as opposed to a ranking format. It’s OK, because my job is to separate the contenders from the pretenders. Five guys who I think will be out of the race by midseason are discussed in the following slides.

    I’ve listed the players alphabetically by surname.

    Feel free to debate in the comments section below, but remember, I only considered the candidates on HeismanPundit’s watch list.

Ameer Abdullah (Nebraska)

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    Even though Ameer Abdullah led Nebraska in plays, yards and touchdowns from scrimmage in 2012, he’s not the most dangerous offensive player on the team. That would be quarterback Taylor Martinez.

    In addition to being the starting quarterback, Martinez rushed for over 1,000 yards and scored 10 rushing touchdowns last season.

    Abdullah is no doubt talented enough to be one of the nation’s best running backs, but there are too many players on the Cornhuskers that steal carries from him. Aside from Martinez at QB, there are a few other guys who will play important roles in the rushing attack.

    Nebraska ran the ball an average of 47.3 times in 2012. Abdullah doesn’t do it by himself, and his numbers won’t stand out enough to win the Heisman in 2013.

Stefon Diggs (Maryland)

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    Stefon Diggs is one of two wide receivers (USC’s Marqise Lee) on HeismanPundit’s list. Diggs has earned the consideration, but I think he will come to define the “flame out” portion of the article title perhaps more than anyone in the country.

    Rather than play for a more prestigious program and compete for BCS bowls right away, Diggs decided to stay home and help Maryland turn around its program. The Terrapins rewarded him in his freshman season by giving him the ball in a lot of situations.

    Diggs ran, caught, threw, returned and even tackled his way into the conscience of college football in 2012. Fittingly, he’s on the Hornung watch list as one of the sport’s most versatile players.

    Even though Maryland’s quarterback issues should be more resolved this season, Diggs still will be the focal point of the program’s plans to accumulate yards and touchdowns. There’s a chance Diggs will have the ball in his hands a little too much this season, and that could cause him to not be as effective. Injuries to such players are also a concern.

    If you still are convinced Diggs will stay in the Heisman race at least until midseason, allow Brendan Darr of Testudo Times to explain. Darr cites his position, his team and the lack of support for all-purpose players in the Heisman voting as reasons why Diggs won’t be a serious candidate in 2013.

David Fales (San Jose State)

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    David Fales got national attention by leading the San Jose State Spartans to its best season in program history. The quarterback is one of the “mid-major” guys who could compete for Heisman votes in 2013. It won’t happen, though, because San Jose State won’t be as good this season.

    Two big pieces from last season that could’ve helped Fales lead the Spartans back to the Top 25 have moved on. Then-head coach Mike McIntyre took the same job at Colorado, and then-running back De’Leon Eskridge is trying to make the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars as an undrafted rookie.

    Fales was one of FBS’ most efficient passers in 2012, as he led the country in completion percentage and finished third in efficiency rating.

    Ultimately, Fales’ status as an elite quarterback in a non-BCS conference will take him out of the race. Kellen Moore at Boise State finished no better than fourth in the voting (2010), and he’s the all-time wins leader in FBS history.

    New flash: Fales is not in the same category of QBs as Moore.

Kevin Hogan (Stanford)

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    Even though Stanford has an outstanding defense, it seems as if its national championship hopes rest on the shoulders of quarterback Kevin Hogan. At 6’4” and 228 pounds, those shoulders are quite broad but not broad enough, in my opinion, to carry the Cardinal to the final BCS game ever.

    Hogan, who first started in Stanford’s 10th game of 2012, had as good a stretch as any player in the country. He led the Cardinal to a 5-0 record, and that included wins against four ranked teams (UCLA twice) and a Rose Bowl victory.

    Can he do it all over in 2013, this time from Day 1?

    The Stanford coaching staff has thrown the kitchen sink at Hogan this offseason, and with a questionable offense, it’s more than necessary for him to be the leader.

    Running back Stepfan Taylor, wide receiver Drew Terrell and tight ends Zach Ertz and Levine Toilolo have all moved off the Farm. These four guys were in the top five of individual receptions leaders for Stanford last season. Additionally, Taylor took the load off the quarterback by collecting 322 carries in 2012.

    I wish Hogan the best of Luck (pun intended) in trying to be the next great Stanford quarterback, but I don’t think he’ll put together anything near a Heisman-type season in 2013.

Chuckie Keeton (Utah State)

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    Chuckie Keeton is the non-BCS quarterback with the least chance of competing for the Heisman in 2013.

    First, he’s not as efficient a passer as David Fales.

    Second, he’s not as much of a dual-threat quarterback as Cody Fajardo of Nevada.

    Third, he doesn’t put up the kind of numbers through the air as Derek Carr of Fresno State.

    Fourth, he’s not going to finish anywhere near seventh in the voting like Jordan Lynch of Northern Illinois did in 2012.

    This is the quintet of non-BCS quarterbacks on HeismanPundit’s list.

    The only advantage Keeton has is his team. Utah State was the highest-ranked team from a non-BCS conference in the final AP Poll in 2012 (16th).

    Unless the Aggies challenge Boise State for the Mountain West title in 2013 in their first year in the conference, and unless they win 11 games again like they did last season, I don’t think Keeton will be a serious contender for the Heisman.