College Football 2011: Tyler Wilson, 5 Darkhorse SEC Heisman Candidates
It's Tyler Wilson's show now.
In 2010, Arkansas' Wilson (6'3'', 215 pounds) came off the bench and provided decent numbers as a backup quarterback, throwing for 453 yards and four touchdowns. Now that Ryan Mallet has left for the NFL, the offensive passing system is now in Wilson's hands.
Though 2011 will be his first year starting, Wilson displayed poise and confidence leading the Razorback offense in hostile environments. Thrown inside the fire at Auburn after a Mallet injury, Wilson was 25 for 34, throwing for 332 yards. Very impressive.
Historically, the Heisman is viewed as an award that is given to a player who has produced offensively to lead the nation. With the return of explosive running back Knile Davis complimenting him, look for Wilson to show up big.
Next up: the top SEC dark horse prospects of the 2011 Heisman Trophy.
John Brantley (Florida)
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As predicted, John Brantley showed us early he would lack the skills and athleticism to run the offense the same way Tim Tebow did.
After passing for only 2061 yards and losing five games, Brantley considered transferring from the University of Florida. But he reconsidered leaving the Florida program with the hiring of offensive guru Charlie Weis.
If Brantley develops his passing form and mechanics under Weis' direction, his numbers will improve drastically and possibly win the Heisman.
"He’s experienced, he’s got talent,” Florida coach Will Muschamp told the Miami Herald. “He’s also got to have better people around him to help him, and that starts with our offensive line.”
Tauren Poole (Tennessee)
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While I included Tauren Poole on this list, several factors must happen for Poole to win the Heisman.
The 2010 Associated Press All-SEC Honorable Mention carried the heart of the Vols' offense and gave them a fighting chance to win several football games. Poole accumulated 11 touchdowns from 1,034 yards on the ground last season, having stellar performances of 100-plus yards against Oregon, Alabama and LSU.
But Poole's longevity and consistency are still in question by the Creamsicle orange faithful. He must show more improvement down the stretch to give the young Vol quarterbacks a better chance to throw the football, and you must throw the football to win games.
If Poole and the Vols don't win games, he has no shot at the Heisman.
Aaron Murray (Georgia)
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Aaron Murray (6'1'', 209 pounds) in 2010 was named a Freshman All-America by Sporting News, CollegeFootballNews.com and Rivals.com, and he was selected to Phil Steele's All-Freshman First Team.
Murray has incredible presence inside the pocket and a strong arm that can be a threat down the field. His 154.5 passer rating was amongst the best in the SEC last season.
Only question stopping the Heisman candidacy for Murray is surrounding talent. Will Murray continue to produce offensive numbers now that Washaun Ealey and A.J. Green are gone?
Alshon Jeffery (South Carolina)
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Over the past 24 years only three wide-outs have won the coveted Heisman Memorial Trophy. In 2011, Alshon Jeffery looks to break that curse.
Coming at 6'4" and 233 pounds, Jeffery is the ultimate specimen in terms of physical play. He possesses the quickness and footwork to match his outstanding talent and work ethic.
Finishing the season with 88 catches for 1,517 yards, Jeffery looks to once again dominate small SEC cornerbacks on the island.
Only problem that may hold Jeffery back from winning the Heisman is sharing the talent around the field. With Marcus Lattimore in the backfield averaging 250 carries a year, there may not be enough offense to go around for him to achieve the ultimate goal.
Michael Dyer (Auburn)
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Many of you see this as a strech, but Gus Malzahn's offensive system may enable Michael Dyer to win the Heisman Trophy in 2011.
Last season, Dyer was fortunate enough to have the presence of Cam Newton running the potent offense. But with Newton not at the helm, the task of winning a Heisman trophy may be difficult—though it can be done.
If Auburn can provide a quaterback that runs the misdirection well, expect for him to put up big numbers once again. Also, Auburn needs to win at least nine games for him to even be considered. (Tebow had 9 in 2007)