Scouting the Heisman competition

There are plenty of potential Heisman candidates across the country heading into 2010, and former Clemson running back C.J. Spiller was the perfect example last fall of just how difficult it is to get an invitation to New York. Nebraska's Ndamukong Suh proved how difficult it is for a defensive player to win it.

The ACC does, however, have hope once again for Heisman representation. The Tallahassee Democrat wrote this week that "for the first time in a decade, the Florida State football program enters the offseason with a bona fide Heisman Trophy candidate."

Both FSU quarterback Christian Ponder and Virginia Tech running back Ryan Williams enter this fall as the league's top two potential Heisman candidates. Of course, they have to maintain, if not improve upon, their past success, stay healthy and win big collectively in order for these hopes to come to fruition.

But who are they up against? Just how tough will the competition be?

Here's a look at who else is on my Heisman radar heading into the fall and how they stack up against Ponder and Williams:


Jake Locker, Washington

Passing: No. 27 (19.17 completions/game)

Passing yards per game: No. 31 (233.33)

Total passing yards: No. 33 (2,800)

Passing efficiency: No. 55 (129.75)

INTs: 11

Ryan Mallett, Arkansas

Passing: No. 46 (17.31)

Passing yards per game: No. 7 (278.77)

Total passing yards: No. 5 (3,624)

Passing efficiency: No. 7 (152.46)

INTs: 7

Terrelle Pryor, Ohio State

Passing: No. 85 (12.85)

Passing yards per game: No. 88 (161.08)

Total passing yards: No. 73 (2,094)

Passing efficiency: No. 59 (128.91)

INTs: 11

Kellen Moore, Boise State

Passing: No. 26 (19.79)

Passing yards per game: No. 20 (252.57)

Total passing yards: No. 10 (3,536)

Passing efficiency: No. 2 (161.65)

INTs: 3

Case Keenum, Houston

Passing: No. 1 (35.14)

Passing yards per game: No. 1 (405.07)

Total passing yards: No. 1 (5,671)

Passing efficiency: No. 6 (154.79)

INTs: 15


*Missed final three games of the regular season and the Gator Bowl, not listed in NCAA passing stats.

Passing: 25.2

Passing yards per game: 301.89

Total passing yards: 2,717

Passing efficiency: 301.91

INTs: 7

My take:Mallett made a case for being the best quarterback in the SEC last year, and he made the best decisions against the best competition. Ponder's numbers are impressive considering how much time he missed with his shoulder injury, and they should only be better this fall if he stays healthy and the offensive line lives up to the hype.


Jacquizz Rodgers, Oregon State

Yards per game: No. 19 (110.77)

Yards per carry: 5.27

Touchdowns: 21

Total rushing yards: 1,440

Noel Devine, West Virginia

Yards per game: No. 17 (112.69)

Yards per carry: 6.08

Touchdowns: 13

Total rushing yards: 1,465

Dion Lewis, Pitt

Yards per game: No. 3 (138.38)

Yards per carry: 5.54

Touchdowns: 17

Total rushing yards: 1,799

Mark Ingram, Alabama

Yards per game: No. 11 (118.43)

Yards per carry: 6.12

Touchdowns: 17

Total rushing yards: 1,658


Yards per game: No. 5 (127.31)

Yards per carry: 5.65

Touchdowns: 21

Total rushing yards: 1,655

My take: In order for Williams to unseat the reigning Heisman winner, Ingram, he'll have to have his best performances against the toughest defenses, stay healthy, and get the bulk of the carries despite the return of Darren Evans. One huge boost to Ingram's campaign last year was that he averaged 178 yards per game vs. top-25 teams (VT, UM, USC, LSU). He also showcased his ability to catch the ball and had a nation-leading 38 runs of 10 yards.