Sept. 6, 2004
By Greg Amsinger
Special to CollegeSports.com
(CollegeSports.com) -- The Heisman race is already underway! If you're thinking this report is too early, you're wrong. College football freaks like us need to keep track of who deserves "Heisman Hype" by gauging the players who are putting up insane stats. Come on, we don't want another Heisman controversy like last year (Mr. Fitzgerald, you'll always be the winner to me).
So here's how it works: Each week I'll break down the top fifteen players who are trying to enter the "BIG LIST". Whoever is #1, is on the doorstep ... #15? - Well, his respective school can start sending out aggravating Heisman hopeful mail to the media.
At the very bottom of this column you can enjoy Greg's official "BIG LIST"... the guys already practicing their best Heisman pose.
TOP 15 "POSSIBLE POSERS"
1.) RB - Kay-Jay Harris, West Virginia: 25 carries, 337 yards, 4 TD Sure Kay Jay is the same age as I (25, stop laughing) - so he is old, but come on! The guy dominated East Carolina and has to be the No. 1 "Possible Poser" with numbers like that. Could you imagine if he reaches the 500-yard mark for the season next week against UCF?
2.) QB - Sonny Cumbie, Texas Tech: 40-66, 470 yards, 4 TD
Okay, so maybe it is the system. Graduated quarterback B.J. Symons was rewarded with a ton of clout last season for putting up the same exact stats at Tech. But even if it is the system ... it's fun to see a guy throw for 470 yards and four TDs. Sonny is playing D-I football, and completing 40 passes in this division isn't easy.
3.) RB - Vernand Morency, Oklahoma St: 29 carries, 261 yards, 2 TD
Guess who leads the Big 12 in rushing? Not Darren Sproles, not Brad Smith - but this guy! Vernand is another "old-timer" at 24. The junior exploited the gigantic holes his superior offensive line opened up for him Saturday. Nine yards a carry and over 250 yards puts Morency on everyone's radar.
4.) QB - Tye Gunn, TCU: 20-38, 368 yards, 4 TD
Tye won a "Gunn-fight" didn't he? A 48-45 double overtime victory over Northwestern could set the tone for the Horned Frogs season. Tye is a sleeper pick that I expect to put up solid numbers on a consistent basis.
5.) RB - J.J. Arrington, California: 16 carries, 181 yards, 3 TD
Everybody is talking Heisman about Cal's QB Aaron Rodgers, but what about J.J.? If you watched Saturday's mauling of Air Force, you would have noticed Arrington emerged as the most exciting player on the field. I'm not buying the theory that the Air Force defense was playing the pass every single down either.
6.) QB - Dan Orlovsky, Uconn: 19-28, 382 yards, 5 TD Orlovsky reminds me of former N.C. State QB Phillip Rivers. First off, he has a low side-arm delivery like the current Charger and has the same ability to make the big play. Not only is this Husky on my Heisman radar, he's my pick for Big East Player of the Year.
7.) RB - Brian Leonard, Rutgers: 25 carries, 150 yards, 6 catches, 40 yards I did some investigating and couldn't find Brian's nickname on the Rutgers team. I have a suggestion ... SUPERMAN! My goodness, Leonard can play football. This sophomore plays like a fifth-year senior with his ability to run and catch the ball out of the backfield. If an MVP award was up for grabs, there's little doubt Brian Leonard would be a front-runner. He IS the offense for the up-start Rutgers Scarlet Knights.
8.) WR - Mark Clayton, Oklahoma: 7 catches, 74 yards, 2 TD With so much attention given to Heisman winner Jason White and a running game that is better than ever with Kejuan Jones leading the way, Clayton is ready to cash in. He's one of the most dangerous receivers in the country and although he "only" had 74 yards on Saturday, he had a pair of touchdown snags that will quickly add up during another championship run in Norman.
9.) RB - P.J. Daniels, Georgia Tech: 25 carries, 169 yards, 2 TD, 3 catches, 24 yards, 1 TD Does anyone remember last season? Daniels rushed for 1,447 yards and had 10 touchdowns on the ground. P.J. is ready to make a statement as the best back in the ACC, and if he improves on his 2003-'04 numbers, Daniels has to be considered for the Heisman.
10.) RB - Lydell Ross, Ohio State: 17 carries, 141 yards, 1 TD I swear this is the last time you'll hear me say this; "Forget Maurice Clarett" - AH! I'm sorry. But seriously, Lydell is for real. Ohio State can't throw the ball consistently and the Buckeyes ALWAYS have a stacked offensive line, so Ross could become the Big Ten's most dangerous player by the end of the season.
11.) RB - Bobby Purify, Colorado: 26 carries, 189 yards, 1 TD Okay, so this is a really long shot ... but Bobby - and the Colorado program for that matter - deserves attention like this. Purify and his Buffalo teammates came together to win a game against rival Colorado State that meant so much to CU. Bobby Purify's backfield dominance was much-needed good news for the fans in Boulder.
12.) QB - Joe Dailey, Nebraska: 15-30, 218 yards, 4 TD, 4 carries, 28 yards, 2 TD So Joey made the West Coast offense look good after all? I'll be the first to admit I criticized Bill Callahan's offensive scheme in the preseason. Although the Cornhuskers beat up on I-AA Western Illinois, they did look good doing it. Dailey's six touchdowns tied a single-game record at Nebraska...not bad for a sophomore who made his first start ever in Lincoln.
13.) RB - Danny Ware, Georgia: 18 carries, 135 yards, 3 TD The Bulldog freshman made a statement on opening day by making it obvious...he deserves to be the starter. Will Danny Ware become a Heisman candidate as a frosh? It sounds weird I know...but did you watch him play? WOW.
14.) QB - Brett Basanez, Northwestern: 39-62, 513 yards, 4 TD Sure, the Wildcats lost a shoot-out to TCU, but Basanez put on a show. He's started 17 straight games for Northwestern now, which means Brett is finally comfortable with the offense. Two things must happen for Basanez to become a "Poser"; First, he must play at least half as good as he did Saturday for the rest of the season and second, the Wildcats must play a lick of defense, too. No wins will equal no Heisman.
15.) RB - Chris Barclay, Wake Forest: 29 carries, 179 yards, 1 TD Clemson found a way to pull off the comeback win, but Chris Barclay reminded Demon Deacon fans why he's so special. As a sophomore last season, Chris put up the second best rushing numbers in school history (1,192 yards). Barclay has NFL skill and with more performances like Saturday, he'll at least get to daydream about the Heisman Trophy.
Greg Amsinger serves as a host for CSTV and is a frequent commentator on the world of college sports for CollegeSports.com.
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