Assuming that Kirk Cousins comes back for his senior season in 2011, the Heisman Trophy would have to be part of the discussion—which, in exchange, could be a selling point to persuade him.
Now although he would have two full years as the starting QB after this season, he still is not ready for the NFL. A third year of starting would buff out the rough spots and boost his draft status at the same time.
As a freshman in 2008, Cousins appeared in four of the Spartans' 13 games, completing 32 of his 43 attempts for 310 yards with two TDs and a pick.
Acquiring the starting job as a sophomore in 2009, he completed 198 of his 328 attempts for 2,680 yards, 19 TDs and nine interceptions. The only real cause for concern was the last two games of the season, where he threw two picks in each of those games.
Cousins was going to have to learn, and so far this season he has greatly improved his decision-making ability.
Through eight games in 2010 Cousins has compiled 1,948 passing yards, 14 TDs and only four interceptions. The better stat is his 141 completions in 212 attempts, which is a 66.5 percent completion percentage—an increase of six percent from the 2009 season.
The only cause for concern this year would be the 14 sacks in those eight games. Almost two sacks per game is a combination of one of three things: 1. The offensive line must improve, 2. Cousins must get a better pre-snap read of the defense, and/or 3. The receivers are not doing a good job of adjusting their routes against the zone/man coverages.
Regardless of what the reason is, no matter who you are and what you do, there is always room for improvement—especially in team sports.
Now however the 2010 campaign plays out for Sparty, Cousins must realize the offensive talent around him is only going to be improved. Both RBs Edwin Baker and Le'Veon Bell are underclassmen, as well are five of his six receivers who have at least 10 receptions or more.
Defensively in 2010 the Spartans have eight seniors, which means next year they will be rather inexperienced. Thus, more results will be expected out of Kirk Cousins. But if he is the competitor that all coaches and fans want on their team, he will welcome the challenge.
This will only improve his status in the eyes of NFL scouts as well. Because if he plays even better next year with an inexperienced/weaker defense, then the football world would be anxious to see how much success he has with a complete team around him.
Kirk Cousins has the opportunity of a lifetime in front of him, and a few questions about any young QB remain: "Will he take full advantage of what's on his plate?" "Will he leave behind a legacy that will be remembered as greatness?" "Or will it be forgotten because of disappointment?"
The amount of responsibility that he must undertake is partially because of people like me writing articles like this. So with that being said, the pressure is ALWAYS on, and it NEVER stops. He better get used to it.