Is Stanford QB Kevin Hogan a dark horse Heisman candidate?

By Gil Alcaraz IV
Kevin Hogan
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Not many people outside of the PAC-12 know who Kevin Hogan is. Then again, unless you’re a bitter Oregon Ducks fan, the name might be a bit of a head-scratcher for even some PAC-12 faithful.

In case you are unaware, Hogan is the starting quarterback for the Stanford Cardinal.

Hogan took over as the Cardinal’s lead signal-caller midway through the 2012 season and never looked back. The redshirt freshman stepped up after then-starter Josh Nunes was handed a clipboard and a headset. In his first road start, he toppled a Ducks team destined for a National Championship appearance and went on to lead Stanford to a Rose Bowl victory.

While there’s still plenty of growing for Hogan to do as he heads into 2013, his skill set and surrounding talent have him quietly tip-toeing his way into the Heisman conversation.

First and foremost, Hogan is a natural playmaker. Dubbed Stanford’s own “Tim Tebow” by fullback Ryan Hewitt, Hogan has a knack for making sparks fly with his feet. Before taking over as the Cardinal’s starter in 2012, he was used in read-option packages and had no trouble making the most of his limited touches. Then he stole the starting gig and the window of opportunity burst open.

Despite spending half of the season on the bench, Hogan managed to finish second the team in rushing yards in 2012, only behind workhorse running back Stepfan Taylor. He managed 4.8 yards per carry and found the end zone twice on only 55 attempts. Imagine the type of damage he could do with four times as many opportunities.

Plus, he’s pretty good at the whole throwing-the-football part of being a quarterback, too.

The other factor that makes a Heisman run realistic for Hogan is Stanford’s schedule. Although the early going isn’t too tough, the Cardinal will face an onslaught of talent to end the season. They’ll be pitted against Oregon, USC, Cal and Notre Dame to end the season, which could all be showdowns with Top 25 teams by that point. Assuming the Cardinal’s record makes it out of that massacre unblemished, it would be hard to ignore Hogan as a legitimate Heisman candidate.

Hogan crushed Oregon’s National Championship hopes at Autzen Stadium last year, so we all know he has the mental toughness to get the job done. He’s got an outstanding supporting cast, so there are no excuses there. Put simply, if he can get Stanford to the end of the 2013 season without a tally in the loss column, he better start preparing his acceptance speech.

Many players make the final push for the Heisman in the waning weeks of the season. If Hogan can overcome that four-game stretch, he might just put himself at the top of most Heisman ballots.

Only time will tell.

Gil Alcaraz IV is a Content Planner/NFL Featured Columnist for Follow him on Twitter @GilAlcarazIV, like him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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