South Carolina Football: Making Mike Davis' Case for the Heisman

Lee SchechterContributor IIINovember 12, 2013

COLUMBIA, SC - NOVEMBER 02:  Mike Davis #28 of the South Carolina Gamecocks during their game at Williams-Brice Stadium on November 2, 2013 in Columbia, South Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

South Carolina running back Mike Davis is putting together a season for the ages, and don't forget, he is still just a sophomore.

Davis' 2013 campaign has been nothing short of amazing, as he has emerged as one of the nation's top running backs and offensive players.

Without Davis' invaluable performances, South Carolina would not be in its current position of having a shot at the SEC East title and an SEC Championship Game berth. The Gamecocks need Davis' production each week, as he is one of the more consistent players in the country, having only been held below 100 yards rushing twice this season. 

In a season highlighted by the stellar quarterback play of Florida State's Jameis Winston, Oregon's Marcus Mariota, Baylor's Bryce Petty, Alabama's AJ McCarron and, of course, last year's Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel, does Davis even stand a chance of cracking into the group of finalists?

While that remains unlikely, Davis is having a season worthy of Heisman Trophy consideration.

Davis ranks 12th in the nation in total rushing yards with 1,058 yards on 166 carries. Those numbers make him one of the most effective running backs in the country, as Nebraska's Ameer Abdullah and Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon are the only other major-conference running backs with better statistics. 

Throw in Davis' 10 rushing touchdowns and it shows how good of a finisher he can be, despite a couple of costly fumbles this season. Let's try and forget those inopportune fumbles for now. 

COLUMBIA, SC - OCTOBER 05:  Mike Davis #28 of the South Carolina Gamecocks celebrates after defeating the Kentucky Wildcats at Williams-Brice Stadium on October 5, 2013 in Columbia, South Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Here is what distinguishes Davis from the rest of the pack.

Beyond Davis' skills at running the ball, he is also one of the best receiving backs in college football with 29 catches for 326 yards, though he has no touchdown catches. Davis will need to bolster his season statistics with more touchdowns, especially on the receiving end, if he hopes to make a final sprint for the Heisman. 

While Davis does rack up the offensive yardage and is the Gamecocks' biggest offensive weapon on a pretty good team, his case for the Heisman can drastically improve with a strong series of performances in the final games of the season. 

Realistically, Davis needs a game where he rushes for 200 yards and at least five more touchdowns to go with probably two receiving touchdowns or else a whole lot of yardage. With Florida's defense being one of South Carolina's three remaining matchups, that will be a daunting task for the star sophomore. 

As with any Heisman Trophy hopeful, it doesn't matter what they say, a player's odds at winning the Heisman are directly connected to his team's success.

If South Carolina wins its division and goes on to win an SEC championship with Davis being the man who carries the Gamecocks on his back, then hand this kid the Heisman Trophy. 

The case is there for Davis, although he needs some big performances down the stretch, and his team needs to accomplish its steep goals as well.

No matter what happens this season, South Carolina has one of the nation's best running backs in Davis, who probably won't haul in a Heisman this season, but could wind up hoisting the Heisman Trophy and striking the pose in 2014 or 2015.