2015 Preseason Heisman Trophy Candidates
Trevone Boykin QB TCU
Last year Boykin was a huge reason for TCU’s huge improvement from a 4-8 team in 2013 to a 12-1 team last season. He threw for 3,901 yards, 33 TDs and just 10 INTs and ran for 707 yards and 8 TDs and returns WR Josh Doctson. TCU was ranked number 2 in the Preseason polls and Boykin is the biggest reason for that. He flourished in their new spread offense last year and maybe could have made it to New York if TCU did not give away the Baylor game last year. They return 4 of 5 offensive line starters and the schedule is favorable as they get West Virginia, Baylor and Texas in Fort Worth. If TCU wants to run the table, they need another spectacular year from Trevone Boykin and that means he could easily find himself in NYC as a Heisman Trophy Finalist.
Ezekiel Elliott RB Ohio State
Elliott had the strongest finish of any college football player last season, rushing for more than 200 yards in his final 3 games. Those were against Wisconsin, Alabama and Oregon and he carries a lot of momentum into 2015. It helps that he has an OL that returns 4 starters and he will be relied upon heavily while the QB (whoever it is) gets settled in to the season. He has a huge chance to solidify himself week 1 on a nationally televised Monday night game at Virginia Tech. If he can pound the rock effectively against a Bud Foster coached defense and helps Ohio State get the win in Blacksburg, he could become the early frontrunner for the Heisman.
Cody Kessler QB USC
Kessler threw for 3,826 yards 39 TDs and just 5 INTs while completing 70% of his passes in 2014. He helped lead USC to a 9-4 record and is a big reason the expectations are so high in Southern CA for 2015. USC has stockpiled talent, but Kessler will have to do it without WR Nelson Agholor who is now in the NFL. They do, however, have J.J. Smith and a pure playmaker in Adoree Jackson. If USC wants to win the Pac-12 and make a potential CFB Playoff run, they will have to beat Oregon in Eugene and not slip up against someone. Kessler will have to have another great year for the Trojans to do that, and if that happens there is no reason for him not to be invited to NYC for the Heisman Trophy ceremony.
Nick Chubb RB Georgia
I’m sorry, but UGA is RB U. When Todd Gurley was suspended during the 2014 season and then eventually tore his ACL against Auburn, Georgia fans held their breath. They quickly realized, as did the rest of college football, that they had maybe an even better version of Gurley on the sidelines. Freshman sensation Nick Chubb rushed for 1,547 yards, breaking Gurley’s old freshman rushing record and 14 TDs. He also did it in fewer games than Gurley as he only started the final 8 games. He capped off an incredible 2014 with 266 yards and 2 TDs against Louisville in a Belk Bowl victory. His offensive line returns 3 starters including 3 year starter John Theus. Chubb also benefits from the SEC East, but he will get a crack to show himself against Alabama. The key for a RB to winning the Heisman is the team must be a contender in November, so Georgia can’t pull one of those head scratching performances like the loss against Florida. Chubb will make the offense go in 2015, and it will be fun to see how far he can carry the Bulldogs.
Deshaun Watson QB Clemson
Clemson was a different team with Watson last season, he threw for 1,466 yards, 14 TDs and 2 INTs. He hurt his knee and has had to spend to the offseason rehabbing. If Watson comes back fully healthy, and stays healthy for the whole season, he would be the ACC frontrunner for the Heisman. He split time with Cole Stoudt a year ago but this will be his show to run now. The offense returns 2014 receivers in Artavis Scott and Mike Williams and 2 senior offensive linemen. They play Florida State in Death Valley at home as well as a home game against Coastal winner Georgia Tech. Clemson wants to prove it is a dark horse for a playoff spot, and the schedule sets up nicely for it but Watson will have to live up to the hype and carry the Tigers in 2015. If e does, he should be a Heisman Trophy candidate.