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Tuesday, May 27
Updated: June 3, 8:24 AM ET
This may be a Heisman race to remember

It's never too early to start thinking about the 2003 Heisman race, is it? In what promises to be a race to remember, there is no sure-fire favorite heading into the season. Here is a list of 20 players -- in alphabetical order -- who could make some noise in the Heisman race this fall.

2003 Heisman Hopefuls
Cedric Benson, RB, Texas
Notable numbers: 305 carries, 1,293 yards, 4.2 ypc, 12 TDs
Comment: With questions at QB, teams may be lining up to stop the run and daring Chance Mock or Vince Young to beat them. Still, that may not work. Benson has rushed for over 1,000 yards in back-to-back seasons and scored 12 TDs in each of those years. The biggest obstacle for Benson as far as the Heisman goes is that he doesn't necessarily have the "burst" to break away from the pack for long runs. He averaged just 4.2 ypc last year and was held under 100 yards in six of the eight conference games.
Maurice Clarett, RB, Ohio State
Notable numbers: 222 carries, 1,237 yards, 5.6 ypc, 16 TDs
Comment: The biggest question about Clarett is can he top last year's season? That's going to be tough. But the scary part is he probably can top last year's numbers if he stays healthy. He missed three games and played sparingly in two others. If he's healthy, he's suddenly looking at a 1,700 yard season. That would be good enough for a trip to NYC.
Anthony Davis, RB, Wisconsin
Notable numbers: 300 carries, 1,555 yards, 5.2 ypc, 13 TDs
Comment: The other running back in the Big Ten. All Davis has done is run for consecutive 1,500 yard seasons. More impressively, he's done it against conference teams as well as the non-conference foes, rushing for five of his seven 100-plus yard games against Big Ten opponents. With the speed to break the long runs -- which always look nice on the highlight shows -- he could make a run at the Heisman as well.
Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Pittsburgh
Notable numbers: 69 receptions, 1,005 yards, 14.6 ypc, 12 TDs
Comment: You may not know much about Fitzgerald now, but you will by the end of this fall. Fitzgerald -- who had a breakout year last year -- may be even better now. He's added 15 pounds of muscle, had a great spring and with QB Rod Rutherford getting better every day, Fitzgerald could put up numbers to rival any receiver in the country.
Chris Gamble, DB/WR/KR, Ohio State
Notable numbers: 31 receptions, 499 yards, 16.1 ypc as a receiver. 24 tackles, 4 interceptions and 6 pass breakups as a DB.
Comment: Hey, if Michigan's Charles Woodson won the Heisman as a two-way player, there's no reason Gamble can't take home the little stiff-armer as well. In fact, you could argue Gamble is more valuable to his team than Woodson or Georgia's Champ Bailey were to their teams. Gamble is a lockdown corner like Woodson and Bailey, but he's also much more of an integral part of the Buckeye offense as a flanker than either Woodson or Bailey were to the Wolverines or Bulldogs. Add in his ability to return kicks and it will be impossible not to notice Gamble on Saturdays in the fall.
Frank Gore, RB, Miami
Notable numbers: DNP in 2002, but had 62 carries, 562 yards, 9.1 ypc, 5 TDs in 2001
Comment: All right, this is a bit of a reach on a guy who hasn't played in a year, but we have our reasons. Gore had a great spring and remember, he was the last guy to beat out Willis McGahee before a knee injury sidelined him last season. If he is back -- and all signs say he is -- he'll be right in the middle of all the Heisman talk.
DeAngelo Hall, DB/WR/KR, Virginia Tech
Notable numbers: 55 tackles, 4 interceptions, 12 pass breakups, 1 forced fumble
Comment: Following Chris Gamble's lead, Hall is going to be a two-way player this season as well as return kicks. He was amazing to watch on defense last season and with his athletic ability, he should easily adapt to the offensive side of the ball. If he makes the transition, Hall -- not Kevin Jones -- may be the Heisman contender to emerge from Blacksburg.
Kevin Jones, RB, Virginia Tech
Notable numbers: 160 carries, 871 yards, 5.4 ypc, 9 TDs
Comment: No more thunder in Blacksburg -- it's all lightning now. With Lee Suggs (a.k.a. Thunder) off to the NFL, Jones (a.k.a. Lightning) is left alone to light up the scoreboard. He is the total package -- speed, moves, power -- but it will be interesting to see if he can hold up to the extra carries. If he does, 2,000 yards isn't completely out of the question.
Eli Manning, QB, Mississippi
Notable numbers: 279-of-481 for 3,401 yards, 58% completion percentage, 21 TDs, 15 INTs, 2 rushing TDs
Comment: Can little brother do what daddy and big brother couldn't? While Archie finished third and Peyton finished second, Eli has a shot to bring the trophy home. He's accurate, has a strong arm, solid receivers around him, plays in a great conference and will receive plenty of exposure and, of course, the name.
T.A. McLendon, RB, NC State
Notable numbers: 245 carries, 1,101 yards, 4.5 ypc, 18 TDs
Comment: Maurice Clarett wasn't the only freshman to shine last year. It's just that McLendon was overshadowed by Mo-mania. Still, McLendon carried the Wolfpack to the Gator Bowl and if he can help NC State reach the BCS this year, he could maybe still a little of the spotlight back from Clarett.
Cody Pickett, QB, Washington
Notable numbers: 365-of-612 for 4,461 yards, 59.6 completion percentage, 28 TDs, 14 INTs, 3 rushing TDs
Comment: Somehow, Pickett's great season last year got lost in the year of the QB. While Carson Palmer, Kyle Boller, Byron Leftwich -- and others -- were the talk of the scouts, all Pickett did was throw for nearly 4,500 yards and 28 TDs. If he does that again this year, Pickett -- a former rodeo champ -- could lasso a Heisman.
Philip Rivers, QB, NC State
Notable numbers:262-of-418 for 3,353 yards, 62.7 completion percentage, 20 TDs, 10 INTS, 10 rushing TDs
Comment: People mock his throwing motion, but they sure as heck can't mock the results. While Rivers isn't flashy, he is deadly accurate and you don't throw for over 3,300 yards by accident. He's also tough and isn't afraid to get in the mix as evidenced by his 10 rushing TDs.
Michael Turner, RB, Northern Illinois
Notable numbers: 338 carries, 1,915 yards, 5.7 ypc, 10 TDs
Comment: The best running back you never heard of is "The Burner" Turner. He rushed for nearly 2,000 yards last year and had five games with over 200 yards. Watch how he starts when NIU hosts Maryland. A big game there and his Heisman campaign could have some legs.
Andrew Walter, QB, Arizona State
Notable numbers: 274-of-483 for 3,877 yards, 56.7 completion percentage, 28 TDs, 15 INTs
Comment: Walter emerged from out of nowhere last season, but he won't surprise anyone this season. In fact, another year like last season and Walter will be a household name.
Carnell Williams, RB, Auburn
Notable numbers: 141 carries, 745 yards, 5.3 ypc, 10 TDs
Comment: The Cadillac was in the shop for the second half of the season with a broken fibula, but is back and if he shows the form he showed during a four-game stretch when he averaged 125 yards and nearly 2 TDs a game, he'll be driving in the fast lane of the Heisman race.
Mike Williams, WR, USC
Notable numbers: 81 receptions, 1,265 yards, 15.6 ypc, 14 TDs Comment: What was it about freshmen last year? Williams burst in the scene and became Carson Palmer's favorite target. While there is some question about who will replace Palmer, there is little doubt Williams will again put up big numbers.
Reggie Williams, WR, Washington
Notable numbers: 94 receptions, 1,455 yards, 15.5 ypc, 11 TDs Comment:If Mike Williams isn't the most explosive receiver in the Pac-10, then Reggie Williams is. Reggie Williams teams with Cody Pickett to form one of the best tandems in the country and should again put up the kind of stats that make Heisman voters take notice.
Roy Williams, WR, Texas
Notable numbers: 64 receptions, 1,142 yards, 17.8 ypc, 12 TDs (plus 1 rushing TD)
Comment: Williams is simply a freak. He's big. He's fast. And if the ball is in the same area code, he's likely to catch it. One small problem is he tends to get nicked up. If he stays healthy all season, plan on seeing him in NYC.
Kellen Winslow, Jr., TE, Miami
Notable numbers: 57 receptions, 726 yards, 12.7 ypc, 8 TDs Comment: A tight end with wide receiver skills, he became the 'Canes go-to guy toward the end of last season. He's nearly an impossible matchup for defense -- too fast for a linebacker and too strong for a DB -- and should improve on last year's stats. Add in his improved blocking skills -- an overlooked skill -- on a team that always features a great running game, and Winslow should get plenty of attention this year.
Rashaun Woods, WR, Oklahoma State
Notable numbers: 107 receptions, 1,695 yards, 15.8 ypc, 17 TDs Comment: We refer all questions about Woods' inclusion on this list to Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops. Woods has torched the Sooners secondary in back-to-back years in shocking back-to-back wins. Woods has consecutive 1,000 yard seasons with double-digit TDs. There's plenty of talented receivers this season and Woods is just as good as any of them. Again, if you don't believe us, ask the Sooners.

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