Each week, Advocate sportswriter Scott Rabalais, a Heisman Trophy voter since 1997, breaks down the top candidates for college football’s most prestigious award.
1. TODD GURLEY
RUNNING BACK, JR., GEORGIA
Gurley was simply electric in his 2014 debut against Clemson, overpowering his way to 198 yards and three touchdowns — plus a fourth score on a 100-yard kickoff return. It’s tougher for tailbacks to win these days, but Gurley can break through ... anything. Word from Krypton is his parents are very proud.
2. MARCUS MARIOTA
QUARTERBACK, SO., OREGON
Mariota didn’t have a lot of time to flap his wings in the Ducks’ 62-13 track meet win over South Dakota, but he certainly didn’t disappoint. The sophomore completed 14 of 20 passes for 267 yards and three touchdowns, plus another touchdown rushing. Saturday’s Michigan State game could be his spotlight.
3. JAMEIS WINSTON
QUARTERBACK, SO., FLORIDA STATE
Forced to win a shootout with Oklahoma State, Winston delivered, completing 25 of 40 passes for 370 yards and a touchdown in a 37-31 victory, though he threw two interceptions. His 28-yard touchdown run was Heisman worthy, but repeat Heisman seekers have a high threshold to cross.
4. KENNY HILL
QUARTERBACK, SO., TEXAS A&M
If the Heisman Trophy were awarded after Week 1, Hill would win it. He was brilliant in a 52-28 win over South Carolina, going 44-of-60 for 511 yards and three touchdowns. Two problems: The season has just begun, and he could get labeled as a product of his program.
5. BRETT HUNDLEY
QUARTERBACK, JR., UCLA
Hundley was a decent 20-of-33 for 242 yards and had 15 carries for 39 yards and a touchdown in a 28-20 win at Virginia, but he was constantly harassed and sacked five times. Hundley needs to worry more about his health than the Heisman right now.
ON THE RADAR
Ameer Abullah, running back, Sr., Nebraska
Everett Golson, quarterback, Sr., Notre Dame
Melvin Gordon, running back, Jr., Wisconsin
Bryce Petty, quarterback, Sr., Baylor
T.J. Yeldon, running back, Jr., Alabama