With week seven now in the books, there are a couple of significant changes in my watch list. While the top four positions are the same as last week, there was movement at five and a certain wide receiver from Clemson has come back from the watch list grave in a big way. Here we go with my week seven watch list!
5. Kellen Moore: Quarterback, Boise State
The last two weeks, there probably hasn’t been a better quarterback then Kellen Moore. Against Fresno State two weeks ago, Moore completed 74% of his passes for 258 yards and a 3-0 touchdown to interception ratio. The 6’1 senior was a huge factor in the Broncos blowout win over the Bulldogs, then again last week against Colorado State. Moore improved on his ridiculous numbers from week six against the Rams. Moore was surgical, completing 26 of 30 passes (87%) for 338 yards and four touchdowns. More importantly, for the second week in a row Moore didn’t turn the ball over. Moore’s stats speak for themselves, with a completion percentage of 76% for 1,729 yards and a 21-4 touchdown to interception ratio this season. His play also has the Broncos at 6-0 this season, and likely BCS busters. If Moore continues putting up numbers like this, he should have no problem getting an invite to New York in December.
4. Robert Griffin III: Quarterback, Baylor
Last week, Baylor suffered an embarrassing loss at the hands of Texas A&M, to the tune of 55-28. While Baylor’s superstar quarterback did throw his second interception of the season, he certainly did his part to help the Bears win. Even though Griffin III’s accuracy was off Saturday, completing just 70% of his passes compared to the 80% rate he had set going into the game, RGIII’s performance was still sensational. Griffin threw for a career high 430 yards and four touchdowns, the fourth time this season Griffin has thrown four or more touchdowns in a game. In fact, outside of a one touchdown performance against Iowa State, Griffin has had at least three scoring tosses in every game. He’s also completed a minimum of 70% of his passes in every game. RGIII leads all quarterbacks in passing touchdowns, with 22 this season, and falls ninth in the nation in total yards, with 1,950 in six games. His pair of interceptions is the lowest for any quarterback in the country with 180 or more passing attempts. There also may not be a more exciting player to watch on Saturdays. If the Heisman is truly about distinguishing the best player in college football, RGIII is definitely in contention to strike the pose.
3. Landry Jones: Quarterback, Oklahoma
Last Saturday, the Sooners traveled to Lawrence Kansas to face the second worst pass defense in the nation statistically. For the Sooners junior signal caller, it was an opportunity to pad his Heisman stats, and he did just that against a Jayhawks defense giving up 333 yards through the air per game. Jones picked the Kansas secondary apart, completing 29 of 48 passes (60%) for 363 yards and a 3-1 touchdown to interception ratio. Jones is 11th in the nation in attempts at 253, which makes his 68% completion rate this season even more impressive. His touchdowns on the year is tied for 11th in the country, although it’s the sixth highest total among all quarterbacks. While he does have six interceptions, a number that is astronomical when compared to Griffin’s total of two, it’s to be expected with the number of attempts he’s had, and four of his six picks have come in just two games. In the other four games, Jones had two games with one interception and two with zero. Perhaps the most impressive stat for Jones is his total passing yards, which ranks third in the nation at 2,177 yards. He is one of only seven quarterbacks to throw for over 2,000 yards at this point of the season, with six of the seven doing so in just six games. Jones is on pace for 4,356 yards with 32 touchdowns and 12 interceptions (not counting a likely Big XII championship game), numbers that if achieved would certainly have him in contention for the award.
2. Andrew Luck: Quarterback, Stanford
In my opinion, it took awhile for last year’s runner-up to get going, but since he has, he’s flown up the charts. Saturday night, Luck started out shaky, with his first pass being intercepted by Washington State cornerback Damante Horton. After that, it was smooth sailing for Luck and the Cardinal. While Luck wasn’t nearly as accurate against the Cougars as he had been the previous two games, completing just 64% of his passes compared to the 82% rate of the previous two weeks, he was accurate when it counted. Luck threw for 336 yards and connected with receivers four times in the endzone Saturday, leading the Cardinal to a 44-14 blowout win over the Cougars. Luck’s 1,719 yards this season ranks 19th in the nation, and his three interceptions is the second lowest for quarterbacks with 180 passing attempts. He’s also only been sacked two times this year, which is tied with fellow Heisman hopefuls Kellen Moore and Landry Jones for the lowest in the nation among quarterbacks with 180 or more passing attempts. On pace for 3,444 yards on just 360 attempts with an absurd 36-5 touchdown to interception ratio, Luck, the Houston, TX native, could certainly leapfrog my number one Heisman hopeful by the end of the season. In fact, in some Heisman watch lists, he’s already the clear-cut favorite.
1.Trent Richardson: Running Back, Alabama
When the Heisman was designed, it was created to recognize the best player in college football in a given season. While it can be debated whether or not that’s the case with each winner, what can’t be debated is what the Heisman is supposed to distinguish. With that said, there hasn’t been a player that has impressed me more than Trent Richardson. Ever since starting the season rough, with a 37 yard (despite scoring three touchdowns) day, Richardson has been the definition of consistency, gaining at least 100 yards in each game. Last week, Richardson had a monster game against the Mississippi Rebels. Despite only carrying the ball 17 times, Richardson tore through the Ole Miss defense for 183 yards. Richardson also scored four times against the Rebels, a new career high for the junior from Pensacola. Richardson, who has scored at least once in every game this season, is third in the nation among running backs with 15 touchdowns this year. He also is second in the nation in rushing yardage at 912 yards, despite being 16th in the nation in rushing attempts (30 less than yardage leader Ray Graham from Pittsburgh). Richardson has been explosive too this season, demonstrated by his 6.9 yards per rush which stands alone among running backs with 110 or more attempts. In fact, the next closest average is 6.4 yards per rush shared by two players, Miami running back Lamar Miller, and Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson. Richardson, who is on pace for 1,560 rushing yards on 228 attempts with 26 touchdowns certainly has the numbers worthy of the Heisman, and with games against #1 LSU and #20 Auburn still left on the schedule he certainly has the stage set for primetime performances for the nation to see. So what’s the problem? That pesky Stanford quarterback is red-hot right now, and looking at Stanford’s schedule, it doesn’t seem like he will be cooling off anytime soon either. Still, the Heisman is about who the best player in college football is, and right now….that’s Richardson. He’s been the most consistent week in and week out, and he’s done it in the best conference against the best competition. For that reason, he’s number one on my list for the second consecutive week.
Russell Wilson: Quarterback, Wisconsin
Wilson fell out of my top five, after his Badgers had a bye during week six. In week seven, he put himself right back in the Heisman discussion with a solid performance. Wilson attempted just 17 passes, but he connected on 12 of them for 166 yards and one touchdown. The former NC State star also showed off his athletic ability, with a 25 yard receiving touchdown on a Montee Ball halfback pass. The only reason Wilson isn’t higher up on my list is because of the strength of the Badgers schedule, that all changes this Saturday, as the Badgers will travel to Michigan State to face the 16th ranked Spartans.
Sammy Watkins: Wide Receiver, Clemson
Guess what? He’s back…..After an off game in Blacksburg, Watkins fell off my Heisman list all together. Since then, Watkins has been electric, compiling 495 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns. He’s easily the top Freshman in the country and may very well be the top wide receiver in the nation as well. The only thing holding Watkins back right now, is the exceptional play of the upper classmen in front of him. If they falter, Watkins will be there to take their place.
LaMichael James: Running Back, Oregon
This is all about not playing last week. James suffered a terrible looking injury when he dislocated his elbow against California two weeks ago. He’s still a ridiculous play maker though, and if he can get back on the field should be able to work his way back into the top five.
What to look for next week: Will Sammy Watkins crack the top five? Will Luck jump Richardson? Be sure to check back next Wednesday where I’ll have my week eight Heisman watch list.