Does Big 12 Football Have Any Legit Heisman Candidates for 2014 Season?

Sean FryeFeatured ColumnistJune 11, 2014

Does Big 12 Football Have Any Legit Heisman Candidates for 2014 Season?

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    The last Heisman Trophy winner to come from the Big 12 was Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III in 2011. As a whole, the conference has had five winners—Ricky Williams, Eric Crouch, Jason White, Sam Bradford and RGIII—since its inception in 1996. 

    With that said, the Big 12 in 2014-15 seems to be lacking a good list of legitimate Heisman contenders, with only three guys that could honestly be brought into the conversation. 

    At the top of the list is Baylor signal-caller Bryce Petty, who tore up defenses last season en route to a conference title. 

    With that, let's look at the Big 12's best chances to grab a Heisman in the upcoming season. 

Candidates with an Outside Chance

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    Jake Waters, QB, Kansas State

    Waters battled with Daniel Sams last year for the starting job and the two split time. But after an electrifying performance in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl against Michigan, along with Sams' transfer, the job in the Little Apple is solely Waters'. 

    Waters has a great arm, but his decision-making ability is suspect at times. He has one of the best receivers nationwide in Tyler Lockett, though, who could boost his chances. 

     

    Johnathan Gray, RB, Texas

    Texas has the best three-headed monster at running back in the country with Gray, Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron. However, Gray stands out among them as the most talented. 

    What could very well hinder Gray's candidacy is the fact that he has to split carries with Brown and Bergeron. But if he racks up enough carries, his numbers could stand out and earn him an invite to New York. 

     

    Davis Webb, QB, Texas Tech

    If there ever was a program to rack up huge numbers through the air, it's Texas Tech. That almost automatically puts Davis Webb at least into the conversation. 

    For Webb to be a serious candidate for the Heisman Trophy, the Red Raiders will not only have to put up gaudy offensive numbers, but win at a high level. Otherwise, Webb is just another product of the spread offense system. 

Trevor Knight

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    If Trevor Knight can maintain the same form he showed in the Sugar Bowl against Alabama, then the rising sophomore could very well be the next Oklahoma gunslinger to make his way to the Big Apple. 

    However, consistency has never been Knight's strong point. In the Sooners' spring game, he didn't even look like the best quarterback on the roster, as he was outplayed by Texas Tech transfer Baker Mayfield. 

    But Knight's upside is tremendous. He has the potential to be a great dual-threat quarterback who can reignite the Sooners. 

    To do that though, he needs to consistently outperform his competition, and not just on one night like he did against Alabama. 

Tyler Lockett

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    One of the best receivers in the country last season, Tyler Lockett is looking to follow up with an even bigger senior campaign in 2014-15. 

    Last year, Lockett tallied seven games with 100 or more receiving yards, and two with over 200. He also scored 11 touchdowns through the air. 

    What makes Lockett a unique Heisman candidate is his status as a high-caliber kick and punt returner. That could help propel him to New York. 

    Lockett is undoubtedly one of the country's best receivers. That should at least enter him into the Heisman conversation. 

Bryce Petty

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    There's no question that if the Big 12 is going to bring home a Heisman Trophy, it will almost surely come home with quarterback Bryce Petty. 

    Along with Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota, Petty is considered one of the nation's elite quarterbacks after torching Big 12 secondaries last year, helping propel Baylor the school's first-ever Big 12 title. 

    Baylor lost its two best running backs in Lache Seastrunk and Glasco Martin, so head coach Art Briles will likely lean heavily on Petty to make up for that loss. That could mean an improvement in already gaudy numbers for the gunslinger. 

    The Bears would likely have to win the Big 12 again in order for Petty to win the Heisman. But the Bears look like one of the biggest contenders in the league this season, so that bodes well for Petty's chances.