Same candidates, a little bit of reshuffling in the XN Sports Heisman Watch this week.
Mississippi State Dak Prescott remains the favorite and will be rested and ready as the Bulldogs come off their bye week for a matchup at Kentucky. Oregon QB Marcus Mariota lurks in second and the reigning Heisman winner, Florida State QB Jameis Winston, is moving up the ranks.
XN Sports will take a look each week at who is in the Heisman running, who is knocking on the door, and who is under the radar but deserves a long look.
On to week 4 of the Watch.
Mississippi State QB Dak Prescott – Back at it after a week off, Prescott leads Mississippi State into a meeting with Kentucky on Saturday. The Wildcats are licking their wounds after a 41-3 loss at LSU and Prescott has a chance to add greatly to his already impressive stat line. Prescott has thrown for 1,478 yards with 14 TDs and four interceptions and has added 576 yards rushing and eight TDs. He also has high-profile games left with Alabama and Ole Miss that could set him apart from the field.
Oregon QB Marcus Mariota – Mariota threw for 336 yards and two TDs in Oregon’s 45-20 victory over Washington and he has helped the Ducks move right back into the playoff hunt while re-establishing himself as a legit Heisman candidate. So far this season Mariota has throw for 1,957 yards and 19 TDs with NO interceptions while rushing for five more scores. He will have the national stage pretty much to himself on Friday as he gets a chance to impress Heisman voters when Oregon heads to Berkeley to take on California.
Florida State QB Jameis Winston – The Seminoles have won a school-record 23 straight games, including 11 in a row at Doak Campbell Stadium and their latest victory, a nail-biter over Notre Dame, was vintage Winston. He may be polarizing with his off-the-field issues but Winston has been stellar on it. He led the Seminoles to three huge TD drives in the second half to remain unbeaten in his college career.
Winston has won 20 straight starts to begin his college career, the most by an FBS quarterback since 2000 and he has a good chance to run that streak to 25 heading into the ACC Championship Game.
Notre Dame QB Everett Golson – Golson is now 16-2 as a starter in South Bend with his only losses coming against Alabama in the BCS Title game and Saturday at Florida State. He was good against Florida State, throwing for 313 yards and and three TDs and it would have been four TDs and he might be at the top of the list if the Irish had not been flagged for offensive pass interference in the final seconds on what would have been a game-winning TD pass. Golson has big games remaining against Arizona State, Louisville, and USC but now he needs to win them all and be impressive in doing so.
Georgia RB Todd Gurley – Georgia announced Wednesday that it is filing a request with the NCAA to reinstate Gurley’s eligibility. The Bulldogs are off this week and play Florida in Jacksonville on Nov. 1. If Gurley is on the field for the World’s Largest Cocktail Party then he has a shot to revive his Heisman hopes. He was at or near the top of most Heisman lists before getting caught up in an autograph incident and with five regular season games to go, including dates with Auburn and Georgia Tech, and a possible SEC Title game, he could make a comeback. If the NCAA decides Georgia’s self-imposed two-game ban is not enough, Gurley is done as a Heisman contender.
Keep an eye on: Nebraska RB Ameer Abdullah, Wisconsin RB Melvin Gordon, Auburn QB Nick Marshall, Ohio State QB J.T. Barrett and Alabama WR Amari Cooper.
Darkhorse Candidate: West Virginia WR Kevin White leads the FBS with 145.7 receiving yards per game and has had at least 100 yards in all seven games this season. He is coming off a strong game in West Virginia’s upset of Baylor where he had eight receptions for 132 yards and two TDs.