John Roberts College Football

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Preseason 2005: All Americans and the Heisman Trophy


QB Matt Leinart, USC
RB Adrian Peterson, Oklahoma
RB Reggie Bush, USC
WR Calvin Johnson, Georgia Tech
WR Greg Lee, Pittsburgh
TE Marcedes Lewis, UCLA
OL Eric Winston, Miami
OL Greg Eslinger, Minnesota
OL Justin Blalock, Texas
OL Marvin Philip, California
OL Marcus McNeill, Auburn

DL Matthias Kiwanuka, Boston College
DL Rod Wright, Texas
DL Darryl Tapp, Virginia Tech
DL Jesse Mahelona, Tennessee
LB Ahmad Brooks, Virginia
LB Chad Greenway, Iowa
LB A.J. Hawk, Ohio State
DB Charles Gordon, Kansas
DB Jaxson Appel, Texas A&M
DB Jason Allen, Tennessee
DB Jimmy Williams, Virginia Tech

K Andrew Wellock, Eastern Michigan
P Tom Malone, USC
KR Steve Breaston, Michigan
PR Ted Ginn Jr., Ohio State


The Heisman Trophy is one of the most coveted trophies in all of sports. It also may be one of the most political trophies in all of sports. Campaigns are run to try to earn a player this award. Sometimes things can turn ugly.

One thing sticks out in the Heisman race this season. That one thing is that there are about four legitimate candidates, but no one else even appears close to those four. There has to be a darkhorse out there somewhere. It is a long and winding road to the Heisman Trophy. Sometimes players finish in the Top Ten in the voting that don't even get All Conference honors. Sometimes they finish ahead of players that they finish behind in All Conference voting. Things are always a little bit different with the Heisman Trophy.

With that being said, here are the preseason Top Ten Heisman Trophy picks:

10. Marcus Vick, Virginia Tech- The Hokies are going to be good, and if they are going to be as good as was predicted earlier, then Vick will have a great season. He will be thrilling to watch. This is a case of a guy that is not currently on the All Conference list, but that will finish ahead of all of his counterparts in the Heisman voting.

9. Gerald Riggs, Tennessee- The Vols running back ran for over 1000 yards last year in a crowded backfield. This year he is all alone back there. He should put up huge numbers and be in the running down to the very end.

8. Calvin Johnson, Georgia Tech- Johnson appears ready to explode in his sophomore year as a wide receiver. He may become the first receiver since Desmond Howard to win the trophy. OK, so that's not going to happen, but the Yellow Jackets will be playing in plenty of marquee games, and he will be in the spotlight each time.

7. C.J. Leak, Florida- The Gators quarterback should thrive under the new system implemented by Urban Meyer. He looks like he is ready to take his game to the next level and he has always had the athletic tools to do it.

6. Ted Ginn Jr.,- This year's Reggie Bush, he does it all. He returns kicks. He runs the football. He catches the football. He even plays some in the secondary. If he stays healthy, he should be in for a phenomenal season. If he plays well against Texas on September 10, then his Heisman stock will skyrocket.

5. Adrian Peterson, Oklahoma- He is one of the candidates that must be included on any Heisman Trophy short list. However, this year should be a bit of a down year for him. He is a sophomore, and that often means a slump. Last year, Peterson would look great at times, but other times he looked like a freshman, despite his incredible numbers that he amassed. The line won't be as strong, and the quarterback situation is more messy this year. That all means that Peterson's season will be a bit down from last year.

4. Reggie McNeil, Texas A&M- The Aggies quarterback is one of the most exciting playmakers in the country. He can run. He can throw. He has finally developed into the type of player that everyone always thought he could be. He plays a lot like Vince Young.

3. Reggie Bush, USC- While the Trojans star back finished in the Top Five last year without being a permanent starter (he was behind LenDale White at running back), Bush should finish in the Top Five this year while starting. Bush is explosive in every way. He can run, catch, and return kicks. He may be the most exciting player to watch in all of college football.

2. Vince Young, Texas- If McNeil "plays a lot like Vince Young," then surely Young has to be ahead of him. Young will have plenty of chances to showcase his talent early in the year with a trip to Ohio State and a game against Oklahoma. Young may not play spectacularly in those games, but his numbers will be too much to ignore at season's end.

1. Matt Leinart, USC- Never has there been a bigger favorite to win the trophy than Leinart. He won it last year, and unless USC loses two games, he should win it again. He may deserve the immortal status that goes along with being the first college quarterback to ever win two Heisman Trophies in a row. He's that good.

Players that just barely missed the cut include:

Charlie Whitehurst, Clemson
Chad Henne, Michigan
Brian Brohm, Louisville
DeAngelo Williams, Memphis
Omar Jacobs, Bowling Green

Let the campaigns begin!


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