We’ve all heard plenty of Heisman Trophy predictions already, but the Associated Press’s Ralph Russo takes a look at six potential candidates who are getting no hype at all, including one from the ACC.
Russo’s list includes Texas A&M’s Kyle Allen (remember Kenny Hill last year?), Penn State’s Christian Hackenberg, Cincinnati’s Gunner Kiel, Arizona’s Nick Wilson and Baylor’s Seth Russell — along with NC State QB Jacoby Brissett.
From the AP:
"For one quarter last September, Brissett and the Wolfpack were the story of college football. They led Florida State 24-7 and Brissett was making Heisman-worthy plays. It didn't last, but the Florida transfer had a nice first season with North Carolina State, passing for 2,606 yards and 23 touchdowns and running for another 529 and three scores. If the Pack can complete an upset or two and emerge as a surprise contender in the ACC, Brissett will get more than 15 minutes of fame."
Given that Brissett is being considered the fifth- or sixth-best QB in the ACC alone to open the season, Heisman talk definitely seems like a stretch. He also doesn’t have a renowned set of receivers or an offensive scheme that could allow him to rack up some eye-popping stats.
But having said all that, Brissett was excellent for most of last season, and he does have a diverse array of weapons to work with this year, even if none are household names. And if we’re parsing stats, here’s one worth noting:
Power 5 quarterbacks with combined 3,000 yards, 25 total TDs and no more than five interceptions in a season the last decade:
Tim Tebow, Florida (twice)
Jimmy Clausen, Notre Dame
Tyrod Taylor, Virginia Tech
Russell Wilson, Wisconsin
Matt McGloin, Penn State
Marcus Mariota, Oregon (twice)
Bryce Petty, Baylor
Connor Shaw, South Carolina
Cody Kessler, USC
Brett Hundley, UCLA
Jacoby Brissett, NC State
It’s a pretty impressive list, with two Heisman winners (Tebow and Mariota) and Kessler, who is a Heisman favorite this year, the only one not currently on an NFL roster. It's also quite reasonable to say that no other QB on that list had less established talent surrounding him than Brissett did last year.
So while the Heisman may be a stretch for Brissett, he’s firmly established himself as one of the better quarterbacks in the country, and if the players surrounding him take a step forward this year, perhaps the awards hype won’t seem so unlikely by year’s end.