Pac-12 on Athlon's Heisman watchlist

Athlon Sports has released its Heisman Trophy watchlist for 2013 and the Pac-12 players listed among the top 25 are very familiar names.

Author Braden Gall broke down his list into three categories: finalists, top challengers and defensive long shots. The Pac-12 blog -- in one form or another -- has included all of the following names as potential Heisman contenders. Except for Washington linebacker Shaq Thompson, who is an intriguing name on the defensive long-shot list.

Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel -- last year's Heisman winner -- and Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller headline the group in terms of odds.

Here’s some snippets of what Gall has to say about the Pac-12 players. You can click here for the entire article and complete take on each player:


No. 5 Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon: Manziel gets most of the love as a redshirt freshman, but Mariota wasn’t far behind. He rarely played in any second halves and led the nation in road passing efficiency. Overall, he led the Pac-12 in passer rating and scored 37 total touchdowns. He plays with poise and confidence well beyond his years.

No. 6 Ka'Deem Carey, RB, Arizona: Carey was the most underrated player in the nation last fall. He led the nation in rushing (148.4 ypg, 1,929 yards), set the Arizona single-season rushing record and the Pac-12 single-game rushing record (366 yards). He scored 24 times and helped turn the Wildcats from a four-win team in 2011 to an eight-win, zone-read monster. And he did all of this as a sophomore.

Top challengers

De’Anthony Thomas, RB, Oregon: An elite big-play machine, Thomas’ biggest weakness is actually one of his biggest strengths. The Oregon scheme lends itself to huge numbers but it also distributes the football.

Marqise Lee, WR, USC: With a proven commodity at quarterback coming back, Lee would be in the “Finalists” category. But with Matt Barkley -- and counterpart Robert Woods who drew plenty of defensive attention -- leaving for the NFL, Lee’s numbers will almost assuredly go down.

Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA: The Bruins finally found a quarterback. The redshirt sophomore-to-be threw for three 300-yard efforts in his first four career games. He then led his team to the Pac-12 title game, scored 38 total touchdowns and produced nearly 4,100 yards of total offense in just his first year under center.

Defensive long shots

Anthony Barr, LB, UCLA: Is a terror off of the edge and will push for nation's lead in sacks.

Will Sutton, DL, Arizona State: Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year back on a team that could push for a division title.

Shaq Thompson, LB, Washington: Elite playmaker who should blossom into an All-American as just a sophomore.