Marcus Mariota will win the 2014 Heisman. How many finalists will join him?
The only real controversy surrounding this year’s Heisman Trophy is how many players should accompany the Oregon quarterback to New York City. We’ll find out the finalists Monday evening.
The Heisman Trophy, to be awarded December 13, will list its finalists Monday. The number of finalists isn’t the same every year, so we’ll wait and see who will join the three biggest names. The field might be limited to just those three, in fact.
Marcus Mariota, Oregon QB: Gonna win
68.3 completion percentage, 3,773 passing yards, 10.1 yards per attempt, 38 passing touchdowns, two interceptions, 669 rushing yards, 14 rushing touchdowns, one receiving touchdown
Mariota only strengthened his candidacy with his dominating performance against Arizona in the Pac-12 Championship. It was his seventh straight game with at least 300 yards of total offense and sixth with at least four total touchdowns. Mariota was remarkably consistent this season, without a single bad game all year long, helping lead Oregon to a Playoff bid and beating ranked opponents Michigan State, UCLA, Utah and Arizona. In wins against those four schools, Mariota averaged 267.5 passing yards, 2.5 passing touchdown, 66.0 rushing yards and 1.5 rushing touchdowns with zero interceptions.
Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin RB: Certain finalist
309 rushes, 2,336 rushing yards, 26 rushing touchdowns, 17 receptions, 151 receiving yards, three receiving touchdowns
Gordon sent an FBS record with 408 rushing yards against Nebraska (broken a week later by Oklahoma’s Samaje Perine), the high point of an excellent season. He had five 200-plus-yard games, scoring at least four touchdowns in three contests. Gordon’s chances of actually winning the award took a blow in Wisconsin’s blowout loss to Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship, but he’s still a shoo-in for the ceremony.
Amari Cooper, Alabama WR: Certain finalist
115 catches, 1,656 yards, 14 touchdowns
Cooper’s Heisman candidacy was cemented in the Iron Bowl, his third game with at least 200 yards this season. The junior repeatedly burned Auburn deep, catching 13 passes for 224 yards and three touchdowns. Cooper caught at least eight passes in every game but two (at Arkansas, vs. Western Carolina), with four multiple-touchdown games. He led the nation in receptions and receiving yards and averaged 8.8 catches for 127.4 yards per game.
Trevone Boykin, TCU QB: Potential finalist
60.5 completion percentage, 3,714 passing yards, 8.1 yards per attempt, 30 passing touchdowns, seven interceptions, 642 rushing yards, eight rushing touchdowns, one receiving touchdown
You’d be hard-pressed to find a player who improved more than Boykin. Formerly a run-first package quarterback who split time with Casey Pachall and played wide receiver last season, Boykin was the major key in TCU’s offensive renaissance. The Horned Frogs brought in co-offensive coordinators Doug Meacham and Sonny Cumbie, and Boykin’s numbers skyrocketed. The junior had four four-touchdown games, including a 433-yard, seven-touchdown performance against Texas Tech.
J.T. Barrett, Ohio State QB: Potential finalist
64.6 completion percentage, 2,834 passing yards, 9.0 yards per attempt, 34 passing touchdowns, 10 interceptions, 938 rushing yards, 11 rushing touchdowns
Barrett was thrust into starting duty after the season-ending injury to Heisman candidate Braxton Miller, then keyed the Buckeyes’ Playoff run. The freshman’s performance was a factor in Ohio State’s early loss to Virginia Tech, but he improved by leaps and bounds, scoring at least three touchdowns in nine of his final 10 games. The season ended short for Barrett, as he was lost for the year in Ohio State’s regular season finale against Michigan. He could get snubbed for the ceremony, in part due to third-stringer Cardale Jones‘ strong performance against Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship, but Barrett’s on-field excellence showed he belongs in New York.
Other potential finalists
Bryce Petty, Baylor QB
Dak Prescott, Mississippi State QB
Jameis Winston, Florida State QB
Scooby Wright III, Arizona LB
Tevin Coleman, Indiana RB