By Joshua Davis, Sports Writer
As the college football season draws near, I have found myself poring over numbers and schedules to see who will have the best shot at winning the Heisman Trophy.
Anyone who knows anything about college football realizes that no amount of studying and analyzing can help predict the prestigious award’s recipient.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, it’s that college football is unpredictable, especially the Heisman trophy winner.
Not surprisingly, I chose to stick with the recent trend of Heisman winners by continuing with quarterbacks and running backs.
In case you didn’t know, the last 17 Heisman Trophy winners have played one of those two aforementioned positions. Here’s the list of my top four candidates (in no particular order):
QB TREVONE BOYKIN – TCU
Trevone Boykin was the leader of the No. 2 scoring offense in the nation last year (46.5 points per game). On top of that, eight starters from TCU’s offense return this season.
Many analysts believe TCU head coach Gary Patterson’s team will actually improve upon their remarkable 2014 season. Let’s not forget, Boykin was a top candidate in last season’s Heisman race.
Boykin’s dual-threat ability is undeniable and it made him one of the scariest player’s in college football last season (3,901yds, 33TDs, 10INTs through the air; 707yds, 8TDs on the ground).
The senior quarterback from Dallas will start this season with a year under his belt as the main signal caller for the Horned Frogs.
TCU’s game against Baylor scheduled for Nov. 27 in Fort Worth could be Boykin’s make-or-break platform in his Heisman campaign.
RB EZEKIEL ELLIOTT – OHIO STATE
Last year’s national championship came offensive MVP, Ezekiel Elliott returns to run for an extremely talented Buckeyes squad.
Elliott’s playmaking ability is something that I believe is frequently overlooked on this team, due to the drama of the quarterback position
After a stellar postseason finish last year, Elliott will be on everyone’s radar and I expect head coach Urban Meyer to give him the ball even more this season.
His capability to find a hole, make a defender miss and then outrun everyone to the house is extraordinary.
It won’t hurt that he’ll be running behind an offensive line with a combined 76 career starts. Ohio State’s scheduling should also help Elliot’s chances at the Heisman.
The final two games are Nov. 21 versus Michigan State and Nov. 28 at Michigan. A strong finish over both Michigan schools and a win in the Big Ten Championship Game could be just enough to send Elliott home with the hardware.
RB NICK CHUBB – GEORGIA
Not many people expected the true freshman Nick Chubb to have the immediate impact that he did in 2014, especially with running back Todd Gurley on the scene. Gurley was actually ranked No. 1 in the Heisman race after the first five weeks of the season. Unfortunately, he was suspended for the next four games and returned against Auburn where he wound up tearing his ACL, which ended his season. Chubb took full advantage of the opportunity during Gurley’s absence – compiling 1,547yds, 14TDs, and 7.1 yards per carry, while topping the 100 yard mark in each of his final eight games.
If head coach Mark Richt can’t find a good balance between the passing game and running game, it may spell doom for Chubb as defenses will be able to load up to stop the run.
RB SAMAJE PERINE – OKLAHOMA
If anyone told you they knew Samaje Perine would break the NCAA single-game rushing record last year … they were probably lying or just didn’t know what they were talking about.
Although the true freshman began the 2014 season third on Oklahoma’s depth chart, he ended up rushing for an astonishing 1,713yds, 21 touchdowns, and 6.5 yards per carry last season.
This year, Perine has a chance to improve upon those incredible numbers. After all, he only started eight games last season. If he can stay healthy, he will have 12 games to make his mark this season.
Add that to the fact that head coach Bob Stoops will be trying to break in new transfer quarterback Baker Mayfield and it seems like a lock for a heavy workload for Perine.
I expect the 5-foot-11, 243 pound running back to have no problem with an increased workload and it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if we see him in New York once December rolls around.