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Heisman Watch 2014: Marcus Mariota, Todd Gurley Lead The Pack

Jeremy Shapiro |
September 18, 2014 | 3:27 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

The college football season is barely underway, but it is never too early to analyze contenders for the Heisman Trophy. Here is a look at the five leaders heading into Week 4.

1. Marcus Mariota, Junior, Quarterback, University of Oregon

806 passing yards, 70.4 completion percentage, 8 touchdowns, 0 interceptions, 156 rushing yards, 3 rushing touchdowns

The Heisman Trophy is Mariota’s to lose. The dual-threat signal caller entered the season with plenty of Heisman hype after deciding to return to school despite many scouts and analysts claiming that Mariota would be a top pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. He has picked up right where he left off last season, leading the Ducks to an eye-opening demolition over the defending Rose Bowl champion Michigan State Spartans. Showdowns against UCLA and Stanford will ultimately seal Mariota’s Heisman fate, but right now he and the undefeated Oregon Ducks look poised for a decorated season, ending with plenty of hardware.

2. Todd Gurley, Junior, Running Back, University of Georgia

329 rushing yards, 9.4 yards per carry, 4 touchdowns

Gurley has proven to be college football’s premiere running back after phenomenal games against formidable opponents Clemson and South Carolina. The versatile, 226-pound tailback remains in the thick of the Heisman chase despite Saturday’s loss to the Gamecocks. If Gurley stays healthy and continues to put up gaudy statistics, he has a great chance to punch his ticket to the Big Apple come December. 

3. Kenny Hill, Sophomore, Quarterback, Texas A&M University

1094 passing yards, 69.2 completion percentage, 11 touchdowns, 0 interceptions

Kenny “Trill” and the Aggies have not skipped a beat through the first three games of the post-Johnny Football era. Hill dazzled in his first start against South Carolina where he threw for over 500 yards on 44 for 60 passing, creating a national buzz that Texas A&M was cementing its place among college football’s elite. Tough tests against Alabama, Auburn and LSU will help voters decide if Hill is more than a product of Kevin Sumlin’s pass-happy system, but for now he looks like the real deal.

4. Everett Golson, Senior, Quarterback, University of Notre Dame

780 passing yards, 64.6 completion percentage, 7 touchdowns, 0 interceptions, 4 rushing touchdowns

Golson has rebounded seamlessly after sitting out last season for being academically ineligible. While Golson does not have the flashiest statistics, he has yet to throw an interception and is in total control of Brian Kelly’s dynamic offense. Golson’s perfect start to the season is a key reason why the Fighting Irish are comfortably ranked in the top 10, vaulting him into the Heisman conversation along the way.

5. Amari Cooper, Junior, Wide Receiver, University of Alabama

33 receptions, 454 receiving yards, 2 touchdowns

Alabama’s offense has been firing on all cylinders under first-year offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin. The oft-maligned coach has utilized Cooper as he did with Marqise Lee during his 2012 Biletnikoff Award winning season. The 6’1’’, 210-pound receiver is Blake Sims's favorite target and poised for a monster year after recording over 130 yards in each of the team’s first three games. If Alabama finds a way to make the playoffs, expect Cooper to secure a spot as a finalist for college football’s most prestigious award.

Reach Staff Reporter Jeremy Shapiro via e-mail here or on Twitter here



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