Oregon's Marcus Mariota warms up for the Valero (Credit: AP / Eric Gay)

Oregon's Marcus Mariota warms up for the Valero Alamo Bowl against Texas in San Antonio on Dec. 30, 2013.

Heisman Trophy Watch 2014

A preseason look at 10 possible candidates for the 2014 Heisman Trophy heading into the year.

MARCUS MARIOTA, Oregon

His decision to forego the NFL draft and
(Credit: Getty)

His decision to forego the NFL draft and the absence of off-field problems plus brilliant dual-threat skills make quarterback Marcus Mariota the leading challenger to Florida State's Jameis Winston if Oregon reaches the College Football Playoff. Mariota threw for 3,655 yards and 31 touchdowns last season. In two seasons, Mariota has totaled 63 passing touchdowns and 14 rushing touchdowns.

JAMEIS WINSTON, Florida State

Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston won the 2013
(Credit: Getty)

Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston won the 2013 Heisman as a redshirt freshman and capped it with a BCS title-winning pass, but off-field issues might affect some voters and only Ohio State RB Archie Griffin has repeated (1974-75).

BRYCE PETTY, Baylor

Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty arrived last season as
(Credit: Getty Images)

Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty arrived last season as orchestrator of the most prolific college offense in America. Sheer volume of his numbers (4,200 yards and 32 touchdowns) will be hard to top, but the Bears must win the big games to keep him in Heisman contention.

BRETT HUNDLEY, UCLA

It's hard to call UCLA quarterback Brett Hundleya
(Credit: AP)

It's hard to call UCLA quarterback Brett Hundleya "sleeper" after throwing 53 touchdown passes, rushing for 20 TDs and even catching a touchdown pass in the past two seasons. But if the Bruins deny Pac-12 title to Oregon, Hundley's stock rises.

NICK MARSHALL, Auburn

Senior quarterback Nick Marshall led the Tigers? shocking
(Credit: Getty Images)

Senior quarterback Nick Marshall led the Tigers’ shocking turnaround to reach the BCS title game last season, but he must carry a bigger load now that running back Tre Mason has moved on. A second SEC title puts him in race. Marshall totaled 26 touchdowns (14 passing, 12 rushing) last season for Auburn.

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TYLER LOCKETT, Kansas State

For sheer excitement, Kansas State's Tyler Lockett is
(Credit: AP)

For sheer excitement, Kansas State's Tyler Lockett is a highlight delight after catching 81 passes for 1,262 yards and 11 TDs last season and with 31.1-yard career kickoff return average for four touchdowns.

T.J. YELDON, Alabama

In two seasons at Alabama, running back T.J.
(Credit: AP)

In two seasons at Alabama, running back T.J. Yeldon has totaled 2,343 yards rushing and 26 TDs, and he figures to carry a heavy load for an offense relying on unproven QBs Jacob Coker and Blake Sims.

MELVIN GORDON, Wisconsin

Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon averaged 7.8 yards per carry
(Credit: AP)

Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon averaged 7.8 yards per carry while rushing for 1,609 yards and 12 TDs last season, and he could top those numbers behind an experienced offensive line averaging 319 pounds per starter.

TODD GURLEY, Georgia

Georgia junior running back Todd Gurley rushed for
(Credit: AP )

Georgia junior running back Todd Gurley rushed for 2,374 yards and 27 TDs the past two seasons and also is effective catching passes out of the backfield, totaling 53 receptions for 538 yards and six TDs in that time.

EVERETT GOLSON, Notre Dame

Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson took a hit
(Credit: AP)

Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson took a hit when he left school last year after a reported cheating scandal, but his return could make a night-and-day difference for an Irish team he led to the BCS title game in 2012.

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