College Football: Heisman Sleepers to Watch Out For

Adam RothlisbergerCorrespondent IJune 29, 2008

In order for any of these players to have a chance at the Heisman trophy, their teams must perform well.  But each of the players listed is blessed with the ability to carry his team on his back, as well as rack up some crazy stats during the course of the year.

Most of these guys are players you have probably heard of before.  I am just pointing out the fact that if their teams do well, don't be surprised if you see one or more of them in New York City as a top candidate for the Heisman.

Most of the teams they are playing for are built around them and are going into this year as sleeper teams within their respective conferences.


1. Jake Locker - 6'3", 225, QB, Washington (So.)

This guy is probably the closest thing to Tim Tebow in college right now.  If he were playing for a team like Florida, he would already be in all the early season Heisman talk.

In his first year in college, he threw for 2,062 yards and 14 TDs, along with running for 986 yards and 13 TDs.


2. Zac Robinson - 6'3", 205, QB, Oklahoma St. (Jr.)

Oklahoma State is supposed to be one of the teams to watch for in the 2008-09 season.  If they can find themselves near the top of the Big 12, it will be because of the play of Zac Robinson.

Last year he threw for 2,824 yards with 23 TDs and ran for 847 yards and 9 TDs.


3. Willie Tuitama - 6'3", 206, QB, Arizona (Sr.)

Arizona is another team people have their eyes on as a team that can make some upsets this year.  In order for them to win against teams like USC, Oregon, Cal, and UCLA this year, Tuitama has to show great senior leadership.

Last year he threw for 3,683 and 28 TDs.  He's not a dual-threat quarterback, but he is a great pocket passer.  Last year Arizona was only 5-7, but they had the 10th-best passing attack in the nation.


4. Javon Ringer - 5'9", 200, RB, Michigan St. (Sr.)

Ringer means as much to Michigan State as Beanie Wells means to Ohio State.  Without the production of Ringer, MSU has no shot at making a run at the Big Ten crown.

Ringer ran for 1,447 yards but only six TDs last year.  I see his touchdown numbers going up dramatically this year.

If Michigan State was a well-known team, then Ringer would already be placed within the same early season discussions as running backs Beanie Wells and Knowshon Moreno.


5. Josh Freeman - 6'6", 250, QB, Kansas St. (Jr.)

This is a quarterback that showed a lot of maturation as a quarterback last year.  He increased his completion percentage from 52 percent his freshman year to 63 percent this past season.  He is a huge quarterback and reminds me a lot of Byron Leftwich when he was playing for Marshall.

Freeman threw for 3,353 yards and 18 TDs last year.  After seeing how much he matured last year, I can see him having a really great season with numbers like 4,000 yards and 30 TDs.

If Kansas State can beat Kansas and Missouri this upcoming season, then you will see them representing the Big 12 North in the Big 12 championship.  They can't do it without Freeman.


6. Nate Davis - 6'2", 217, QB, Ball State (Jr.)

Realistically, a MAC player will probably never win the Heisman.  But Ball State has quite the passing attack with Nate Davis under center.  Ben Roethlisberger was almost invited to the Heisman award show, so it's not impossible for a MAC player to get the invite.

Last year he threw for 3,667 yards and 30 TDs and ran for 235 yards and five TDs.


7. Justin Willis - 6'1", 210, QB, SMU (Jr.)

With new head coach June Jones, SMU will have a passing attack that I predict nobody in Conference USA will be able to defend.  Now to say that June Jones will turn the team completely around in one year, after they had a 1-11 record last year, would be stupid.  But at the same time, this is only Conference USA.

Willis threw for 2,944 and 25 TDs, along with 699 rushing yards with three TDs.


Now the chances of any of these players actually winning the Heisman or even being invited to the ceremony are pretty slim.  But who would have predicted Missouri doing what they did last year and Chase Daniel garnering Heisman consideration?  I can ask the same thing about Kansas and Todd Reesing.

This list was intended to name a few guys that I feel are great college football players who deserved to be recognized for the impact they have on their teams.