There’s nothing wrong with a little early Heisman Trophy hype. Jameis Winston will clearly be the favorite coming in. If Auburn wasn’t coming off a 3-9 season in 2012, Tre Mason might have made his way into the top three. Marcus Mariota and Sean Mannion both faded late, while Brett Hundley’s numbers weren’t overwhelming enough.
All players are listed under their current class.
Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State, Fr.: The reigning Heisman Trophy winner is certainly going to be the favorite in 2014. Winston broke all sorts of records, throwing for 4,057 yards, 40 TDs and 10 INTs. He put a cherry on top of arguably the greatest freshman season ever, leading the Seminoles on an 80-yard, game-winning drive in its 34-31 win over Auburn in the BCS national championship game.
Bryce Petty, QB, Baylor, Jr.: There is no question Petty is a serious contender. Petty threw for 4,200 yards, 32 TDs and 3 INTs for Baylor, which completed its greatest season. He threw for 312 or more yards in each of his first seven games and he didn’t toss his third INT until the Fiesta Bowl.
*Tre Mason, RB, Auburn, Jr.: Mason came out of nowhere, but made his presence felt, running for 1,816 yards and 23 touchdowns. He ran for an incredible 304 yards and 4 TDs in the SEC championship game. He ran for 195 yards and a score in the national title game against Florida State and caught a pass for 42 yards and a score.
Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon, Jr.: Mariota was the toast of college football the first half of the season. But a bad game in a loss Stanford, followed by mediocre performances in a loss to Arizona and a tight win over Oregon State doomed Mariota’s Heisman hopes. But he’s back and ready for another shot. Mariota, who passed for 3,665 yards, 31 TDs and 4 INTs, didn’t throw his first interception until Oregon’s 11th game.
Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA, So.: Hundley was an incredibly consistent player who ended his season on an extreme high. The sophomore signal caller threw for 226 yards and 2 TDs and ran for 161 yards and 2 scores in UCLA’s 42-12 beating of Virginia Tech in the Sun Bowl. Hundley was the ultimate dual-threat QB, throwing for 3,071 yards, 24 TDs and 9 INTs and running for 748 yards and 11 scores.
*Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State, Jr.: Miller was shaky down the stretch, completing just 50 percent of his passes with 5 TDs and 3 INTs in his final three games. But Miller was solid overall for the Buckeyes, throwing for 2,094 yards and 24 TDs and running for 1,068 yards and 12 scores.
**Sean Mannion, QB, Oregon State, Sr.: Mannion threw for 4,662 yards, 37 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. He was lights out through the Beavers’ first seven games, throwing 30 TDs to just three interceptions as his squad started out 6-2. Mannion took a nose dive his last five games, tossing 7 TDs and 12 interceptions.
*Ka’Deem Carey, RB, Arizona, Jr.: Carey’s lowest output this season was a 23-carry, 119-yard, 4-TD performance in a 44-20 win over Colorado. He put himself on the Heisman radar after blitzing Oregon for 206 yards and 4 TDs.
*Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State, So.
Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin, So.
*Rashad Greene, WR, Florida State, Jr.
Nick Marshall, QB Auburn, Jr.
DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville, Jr.
*Still may declare for NFL Draft.
**Will be a graduate student