Chase for the Heisman: The Next Adrian Peterson Cracks the List?
With another Saturday down, more college players are doing the Heisman shuffle, staking their claim in honor to be named as the best college football player in the land.
In what was a wet Saturday for most of America, muddy fields and low visibility did not stop some players from earning their stripes and moving into the top 12 Heisman candidates.
The havoc caused by the downpour's witnessed did cause some players to drop out of the top 12 though.
Penn State's Daryll Clark and Miami's Jacory Harris both fell victim to the rain clouds overhead as poor outings in critical, Heisman-making situations cause them to fall out.
Michigan's Tate Forcier, Tennessee's Eric Berry, Oklahoma State's Dez Bryant, and Washington's Jake Locker also seceded their positions among the top 12 Heisman candidates.
12 - QB Todd Reesing (Kansas)
Stats: 4 G, 96/143, 67.1%, 1137 yards, 9 TD/2 INT
Kansas Record: 4-0 (next: Iowa State)
The Kansas Jayhawks are 24-6 since quarterback Todd Reesing became the full-time starter at the beginning of the 2007 season.
During that same span, he has propelled the Jayhawks to the forefront of the national landscape with wins two consecutive bowl wins as well, with one coming in the Bowl Championship Series Orange Bowl against Virginia Tech.
Still, Reesing remains nonexistent in the Heisman Trophy conversation. It may be because he plays for an underrated Kansas team or it may be that he is a scrawny, 5'11" passer.
Whatever the reason may be, it is time that he no longer gets overlooked.
Reesing has a very good Kansas team ranked in the top 20 plus the Jayhawks have an offense that can dump 40 points or more on a defense at any given time.
11 - QB Jerrod Johnson (Texas A&M)
Stats: 3 G, 75/111, 67.6%, 961 yards, 9 TD/0 INT
Texas A&M Record: 3-0 (next: Arkansas)
Before the season started, I was the one that penned the article on college football players you need to know in 2009. If you were paying attention, you would know who Jerrod Johnson is.
Johnson owns the school record for touchdown passes thrown in a single season and he is currently on pace to break that record again.
His wise decision making, especially after how the season ended last year, just proves that he has matured to a point where we can consider him for a prestigious honor like the Heisman Trophy.
In a landscape where any mistake could cost you recognition, Johnson has played great passing-wise for a school that historically runs the ball over and over again.
The defenses he has faced are suspect so the task at hand will get heavier as the season progresses but if Johnson can continue to put points on the scoreboard and the Aggies keep winning, Johnson will remain near the tail-end or better of this discussion.
10 - RB Toby Gerhart (Stanford)
Stats: 4 G, 91/592/5, 5.7 YDS/A
Stanford Record: 3-1 (next: UCLA)
Stanford may not reach the pinnacle of college football any time soon but their running back, Toby Gerhart, is closing the gap on being labeled the best rusher in America.
After four weeks of play, Gerhart is second in the nation in rushing.
Yesterday, he torched the Washington Huskies defense for 200 yards and 1 touchdown. That is the same Washington defense that kept the Southern Cal stable of running backs at bay for four quarters.
Gerhart is a household name on the west coast but the attention must start coming from the east coast from this point on.
He is no fluke either as he rushed for 1136 yards and 15 touchdowns a year ago.
As long as Gerhart can keep his legs churning and burning good defenses in the Pac-10 for close to six yards per carry, his name will continue to be mentioned among the running backs worthy of Heisman consideration.
8 - QB Blaine Gabbert (Missouri)
Stats: 4 G, 87/131, 66.4%, 1161 yards, 11 TD/0 INT
Missouri Record: 4-0 (next: Nebraska)
Missouri's new sophomore quarterback Blaine Gabbert already has Tiger fans forgetting about Chase Daniel.
Gabbert entered the season with Mizzou as an underdog in its annual rivalry game with Illinois where the Tigers were underdogs. Gabbert squashed any worries about being the guy replacing Chase Daniel by completing 76 percent of his passes for 319 yards and 3 touchdowns in a route of Illinois.
Aside from his 11 touchdown passes, Gabbert has two rushing scores as well.
He has a domineering presence to him, standing in at 6'5", 240 lbs.
Gabbert will lead Missouri into a tough stretch ahead where their next three games are against ranked opponents (Nebraska, at Oklahoma State, Texas).
If Gabbert can win two of three during that stretch and play as well as he has thus far in 2009, he will cement himself into the Heisman race as we head into November.
7 - RB Jahvid Best (California)
Stats: 4 G, 69/467/8, 6.8 YDS/A
California Record: 3-1 (next: USC)
Jahvid Best took a considerable fall in this week's Heisman rankings after sitting atop the list last week.
While he is not the only player on the Cal offense, Best was stymied by Oregon's defense yesterday as he compiled just 55 yards on 16 carries.
What is impressive though is that Best is still ranked eighth nationally in rushing after yesterday's porous outing.
This Golden Bear running back can redeem himself next week when the USC Trojans travel to Berkeley in what will be a huge game that could decide the fate of the Pac-10 conference.
It may also decide the fate of Jahvid Best's Heisman candidacy.
6 - QB Kellen Moore (Boise State)
Stats: 4 G, 70/102, 68.6%, 932 yards, 10 TD/1 INT
Boise State Record: 4-0 (next: Cal-Davis)
We all know that Boise State passer Kellen Moore broke out onto the scene after leading the Broncos to an undefeated season as a freshman in 2008.
Moore continues his upswing towards the Heisman Trophy, moving up two spots from last week.
Many will discredit the opponents Moore has been facing but I so easily recall when a young Steve McNair was invited to the Heisman ceremony as the quarterback for tiny Alcorn State.
Nevermind who he is playing, just look at how he is playing.
Moore is tied for sixth in the nation in touchdown passes. He is projected to finish with less passing yards than a year ago but that should not sway anyone's opinions on his play thus far.
Boise State is in the driver's seat for permanently changing the train of thought in the BCS with their high ranking, undefeated season, and light schedule for the rest of 2009.
Moore will be the one to get them to a national championship if they are worthy.
5 - RB Ryan Williams (Virginia Tech)
Stats: 4 G, 84/492/8, 5.9 YDS/A, 120 receiving yards
Virginia Tech Record: 3-1 (next: at Duke)
Virginia Tech running back Ryan Williams, a freshman, was not even supposed to land the lead role in the Hokies rushing attack but after an unfortunate injury derailed Hokies' leading rusher Darren Evans' season, Williams gladly stepped into that role.
Williams is currently ranked fifth in the nation in rushing. He is also tied for second in the nation in touchdowns scored.
Through Williams first four games, his numbers are comparable to running back Adrian Peterson's first four games at Oklahoma.
Adrian Peterson carried the ball 87 times for 546 yards and six touchdowns. As you can see, Williams compared more than favorably in his initial four games as a college rusher.
Still, Williams has a long way to go to step into the echelon that Peterson is in but he is well on his way.
4 - QB Tony Pike (Cincinnati)
Stats: 4 G, 93/132, 70.5%, 1223 yards, 11 TD/2 INT
Cincinnati Record: 4-0 (next: at Miami (OH))
Big East fans and most notably Cincy fans have been calling for Tony Pike to be considered among the Heisman favorites. Well, here he is!
Tony Pike is ranked fourth in the country in passing and third in touchdowns thrown. His Bearcats are on the verge of making a legitimate run at being undefeated and Pike is already figuring into ESPN's Heisman calculations.
His name is starting to receive attention and now it is up to him to live up to the hype.
3 - QB Colt McCoy (Texas)
Stats: 4 G, 103/145, 71%, 1145, 9 TD/5 INT
Texas Record: 4-0 (next: Colorado)
Texas quarterback Colt McCoy is in his senior year but the motto that you just get "finer with age" isn't quite holding up for this Longhorn passer.
Colt McCoy is still a shoe-in for the Heisman Trophy in September despite his less than impressive play against less than intimidating defenses.
He has at least one interception in every game thus far but still ranks eighth nationally in passing.
After Colorado, Texas faces Oklahoma at a neutral site, and then plays two away games at Missouri and Oklahoma State.
Those three games away from Austin could prove whether or not Colt McCoy is worthy of remaining on this list.
2 - QB Case Keenum (Houston)
Stats: 4 G, 93/134, 69.4%, 1155 yards, 8 TD/2 INT, 3 rushing TD
Houston Record: 4-0 (next: at UTEP)
The Case Keenum-led Houston Cougars may be the second best team in the Big 12. The thing is, Houston plays in Conference USA.
Case Keenum cemented himself in the Heisman race after a 95-yard touchdown drive capped off by his four-yard touchdown run with 49 seconds remaining to beat Texas Tech 28-27 early Sunday morning.
Keenum ranks seventh nationally in passing and has a better completion percentage than the likes of Taylor Potts (Texas Tech), Kellen Moore (Boise State), and Tim Tebow (Florida).
Houston's remaining schedule does have a trip to Mississippi State remaining but other than that, it is littered with the Rice's and Tulane's of the college football world.
Case Keenum is looking to become the second Houston quarterback to win the Heisman Trophy. If he can pull that off, Houston will have more Heisman Trophy winners than Penn State and LSU.
1 - QB Tim Tebow (Florida)
Stats: 4 G, 44/68, 64.7%, 643 yards, 6 TD/1 INT, 271 rushing yards, 5 TD
Florida Record: 4-0 (next: at LSU)
Tim Tebow may not be an elite passer but his contributions on the field match any of the other quarterbacks mentioned.
Although, Tebow, who sits atop this list for a good reason, is in jeopardy of losing his position in the Heisman race.
His health is completely more important than a Heisman Trophy or football for that matter though.
Last night Tebow was sacked and prior to hitting the ground, his head snapped forward after bouncing off of one of his offensive lineman's legs.
Tebow laid motionless on the gridiron for a couple of minutes before being helped off of the field. He was then taken by ambulance to a hospital where he had to remain overnight.
The team believes it was a concussion.
The hit placed on Tim Tebow was clean and let me reiterate, it was not the hit that caused it, it was the reaction to the hit that caused the injury.
For the mean time, Tebow still sits atop his perch while the rest of the Heisman candidates look up at him but that could change soon.