Way Too Early Rankings For The Top 15 Heisman Trophy Candidates In 2015

By Jerry Landry
Way Too Early Rankings For The Top 15 Heisman Trophy Candidates In 2015
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Way Too Early Rankings For The Top 15 Heisman Trophy Candidates In 2015

Way Too Early Rankings For The Top 15 Heisman Trophy Candidates In 2015 Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
In the instant-gratification Internet age, it’s never too early for anything. That’s why I’m giving you these “way too early” rankings right now, because you’re a hungry college football fan and I just know you’re starving for some Heisman content.

Way Too Early Rankings For The Top 15 Heisman Trophy Candidates In 2015

In the instant-gratification Internet age, it’s never too early for anything. That’s why I’m giving you these “way too early” rankings right now, because you’re a hungry college football fan and I just know you’re starving for some Heisman content.

15. Dalvin Cook, Florida State RB

15. Dalvin Cook, Florida State RB Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Dalvin Cook rises from the rubble of the 2014 Florida State Seminoles and should be the most impactful player in Tallahassee. Cook needs to work on ball security over the offseason, but otherwise possesses the skill set to bring home the Heisman hardware.

15. Dalvin Cook, Florida State RB

Dalvin Cook rises from the rubble of the 2014 Florida State Seminoles and should be the most impactful player in Tallahassee. Cook needs to work on ball security over the offseason, but otherwise possesses the skill set to bring home the Heisman hardware.

14. Justin Thomas, Georgia Tech QB

14. Justin Thomas, Georgia Tech QB Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
I’m not yet sure if Justin Thomas is Russell Wilson version 2.0 or maybe just a hasty patch to 1.0.1, but the 2015 season could get us closer to that answer.

14. Justin Thomas, Georgia Tech QB

I’m not yet sure if Justin Thomas is Russell Wilson version 2.0 or maybe just a hasty patch to 1.0.1, but the 2015 season could get us closer to that answer.

13. Brad Kaaya, Miami (FL) QB

13. Brad Kaaya, Miami (FL) QB Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Brad Kaaya’s first name is awesome and his second name sounds like a karate cadence — so it’s safe to say Kaaya passes the charm test. What really keeps Kaaya from cracking the top-10 is the uncertainty of Miami and whether or not the sophomore quarterback can avoid a sophomore slump.

13. Brad Kaaya, Miami (FL) QB

Brad Kaaya’s first name is awesome and his second name sounds like a karate cadence — so it’s safe to say Kaaya passes the charm test. What really keeps Kaaya from cracking the top-10 is the uncertainty of Miami and whether or not the sophomore quarterback can avoid a sophomore slump.

12. Leonard Fournette, LSU RB

12. Leonard Fournette, LSU RB Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
The buzz is high around this soon-to-be sophomore back. Fournette has withstood significant SEC growing pains, but showed the capacity to break big runs in the Tigers’ bowl game versus Notre Dame. If Fournette is to bring home the Heisman, it’ll be imperative to tie together a more consistent string of performances.

12. Leonard Fournette, LSU RB

The buzz is high around this soon-to-be sophomore back. Fournette has withstood significant SEC growing pains, but showed the capacity to break big runs in the Tigers’ bowl game versus Notre Dame. If Fournette is to bring home the Heisman, it’ll be imperative to tie together a more consistent string of performances.

11. Royce Freeman, Oregon RB

11. Royce Freeman, Oregon RB Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Just 19 years old, and not turning 20 until February 26, 2016, Royce Freeman would become the youngest to ever secure a Heisman if selected. The ‘why’ would be not so far-fetched either, Freeman put up 1,365 yards on 5.4 per carry as a freshman in 2014. With Marcus Mariota moving on to the NFL, Freeman could stretch that high average over many more attempts.

11. Royce Freeman, Oregon RB

Just 19 years old, and not turning 20 until February 26, 2016, Royce Freeman would become the youngest to ever secure a Heisman if selected. The ‘why’ would be not so far-fetched either, Freeman put up 1,365 yards on 5.4 per carry as a freshman in 2014. With Marcus Mariota moving on to the NFL, Freeman could stretch that high average over many more attempts.

10. Paul Perkins, UCLA RB

10. Paul Perkins, UCLA RB Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
Speaking of high averages, Paul Perkins put up 6.3 yards per carry with the UCLA Bruins in 2014. What’s even more promising is how Perkins also put up big numbers in big games, arguably none better than the 194 yards and two touchdowns with 20 carries stamped on Kansas State in the Alamo Bowl.

10. Paul Perkins, UCLA RB

Speaking of high averages, Paul Perkins put up 6.3 yards per carry with the UCLA Bruins in 2014. What’s even more promising is how Perkins also put up big numbers in big games, arguably none better than the 194 yards and two touchdowns with 20 carries stamped on Kansas State in the Alamo Bowl.

9. Samaje Perine, Oklahoma RB

9. Samaje Perine, Oklahoma RB Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports
As if not to be outdone, Samaje Perine averaged even more per carry than both Freeman and Perkins notching 6.5 yards per run. Perine finished with 21 touchdowns and 1713 yards in 2014 and with many expecting Oklahoma to crack the top 25 in 2015, Perine should get much needed national exposure.

9. Samaje Perine, Oklahoma RB

As if not to be outdone, Samaje Perine averaged even more per carry than both Freeman and Perkins notching 6.5 yards per run. Perine finished with 21 touchdowns and 1713 yards in 2014 and with many expecting Oklahoma to crack the top 25 in 2015, Perine should get much needed national exposure.

8. Deshaun Watson, Clemson QB

8. Deshaun Watson, Clemson QB Credit: Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports
I have Watson higher than most are willing to rank this Clemson QB because — at least to me — Watson just blows you away on the eye test. Remember Johnny Manziel? Of course you do. Remember how he only put up 26 touchdowns against nine interceptions his Heisman year? Of course you don’t. The eye test ladies and gentlemen.

8. Deshaun Watson, Clemson QB

I have Watson higher than most are willing to rank this Clemson QB because — at least to me — Watson just blows you away on the eye test. Remember Johnny Manziel? Of course you do. Remember how he only put up 26 touchdowns against nine interceptions his Heisman year? Of course you don’t. The eye test ladies and gentlemen.

7. Derrick Henry, Alabama RB

7. Derrick Henry, Alabama RB Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
It just seems about time for an Alabama player to win the Heisman. It doesn’t happen often, but it sure feels like it does. Also, Alabama is the only place where Derrick Henry could get benched if he doesn’t put up Heisman-level numbers. Believe me and fear Nick Saban.

7. Derrick Henry, Alabama RB

It just seems about time for an Alabama player to win the Heisman. It doesn’t happen often, but it sure feels like it does. Also, Alabama is the only place where Derrick Henry could get benched if he doesn’t put up Heisman-level numbers. Believe me and fear Nick Saban.

6. Nick Chubb, Georgia RB

6. Nick Chubb, Georgia RB Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
Nobody reloaded at running back like the Georgia Bulldogs in 2014. Lose a possible NFL first-rounder to a season-ending knee injury? No problem. Just put a freshman Nick Chubb in Todd Gurley’s place and watch him rumble for a modest 1,547 yards. If Chubb doesn’t repeat Gurley’s feeble track record, it’ll be an exciting season in Athens.

6. Nick Chubb, Georgia RB

Nobody reloaded at running back like the Georgia Bulldogs in 2014. Lose a possible NFL first-rounder to a season-ending knee injury? No problem. Just put a freshman Nick Chubb in Todd Gurley’s place and watch him rumble for a modest 1,547 yards. If Chubb doesn’t repeat Gurley’s feeble track record, it’ll be an exciting season in Athens.

5. Cody Kessler, USC QB

5.  Cody Kessler, USC QB Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
I think “Heisman Trophy Winning 101” is a required course for all incoming USC freshman football players. If Cody Kessler paid attention and can keep up the 167.1 QB rating from 2014, then hello Carson Palmer!

5. Cody Kessler, USC QB

I think “Heisman Trophy Winning 101” is a required course for all incoming USC freshman football players. If Cody Kessler paid attention and can keep up the 167.1 QB rating from 2014, then hello Carson Palmer!

4. Trevone Boykin, TCU QB

4. Trevone Boykin, TCU QB Credit: Paul Abell-USA TODAY Sports
The last five Heisman trophy winners were quarterbacks and four of those quarterbacks boasted at least a three-to-one touchdown-to-interception ratio the year they won the award (Mariota 42-4, Jameis Winston 40-10, RG III 37-6, Cam Newton 30-7). Boykin has already put up 33 touchdowns against 10 picks in 2014 and with TCU expected to contend for a national championship in 2015, anything near those numbers will guarantee a ticket to at least the ceremony.

4. Trevone Boykin, TCU QB

The last five Heisman trophy winners were quarterbacks and four of those quarterbacks boasted at least a three-to-one touchdown-to-interception ratio the year they won the award (Mariota 42-4, Jameis Winston 40-10, RG III 37-6, Cam Newton 30-7). Boykin has already put up 33 touchdowns against 10 picks in 2014 and with TCU expected to contend for a national championship in 2015, anything near those numbers will guarantee a ticket to at least the ceremony.

3. Dak Prescott, Mississippi State QB

3. Dak Prescott, Mississippi State QB Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Up until the Egg Bowl, Dak Prescott was an eye-melting blip on the 2014 Heisman radar. Size, speed, arm strength, it’s all there; putting it all together will be the task for 2015.

3. Dak Prescott, Mississippi State QB

Up until the Egg Bowl, Dak Prescott was an eye-melting blip on the 2014 Heisman radar. Size, speed, arm strength, it’s all there; putting it all together will be the task for 2015.

2. Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio State RB

2. Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio State RB Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Although Ohio State will now be more closely monitored on their midriffs, I don’t think this will affect Ezekiel Elliott’s stock one bit. The reason he is No. 2 in my ranking? Because No. 1 is a special kind of beast in the backfield.

2. Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio State RB

Although Ohio State will now be more closely monitored on their midriffs, I don’t think this will affect Ezekiel Elliott’s stock one bit. The reason he is No. 2 in my ranking? Because No. 1 is a special kind of beast in the backfield.

1. James Conner, Pittsburgh RB

1. James Conner, Pittsburgh RB Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
I’m surprised Conner is not ranked higher among Las Vegas odds and Heisman power rankings. Conner owns multiple records once long-held by Tony Dorsett, and at 6-foot-2, 229 pounds, is a brutal combination of size and speed. Maybe it’s perceived Pittsburgh pedigree, I mean Heisman voters determined Dan Marino should finish ninth in 1982.

1. James Conner, Pittsburgh RB

I’m surprised Conner is not ranked higher among Las Vegas odds and Heisman power rankings. Conner owns multiple records once long-held by Tony Dorsett, and at 6-foot-2, 229 pounds, is a brutal combination of size and speed. Maybe it’s perceived Pittsburgh pedigree, I mean Heisman voters determined Dan Marino should finish ninth in 1982.

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