Georgia RB Todd Gurley
Last week (W, 45-2, vs. Clemson): 15 attempts, 198 yards, 3 TDs, 1 kick return for TD
2014: 15 attempts, 198 yards, 3 TDs
If the Heisman Trophy was handed out after the first week, it would be hard to argue against what Gurley did on Saturday. Gurley’s week one stats, which included a school-record 293 all-purpose yards, reminded America that he’s a man amongst boys on the field. Gurley didn’t just tear up a small-school defense either. He did it against a ranked Clemson team, averaging a ridiculous 17.2 yards per carry on just 15 touches. When healthy, Gurley is very capable of this sort of performance, and that’s what makes him the frontrunner for the Heisman heading into week two.
Oregon QB Marcus Mariota
Last week (W, 62-13, vs. South Dakota): 14-for-20, 267 yards, 3 TDs (43 rushing yards, 1 TD)
2014: 14-for-20, 267 yards, 3 TDs (43 rushing yards, 1 TD)
Oregon’s well-oiled scoring machine made it look easy against South Dakota on Saturday, and its field general, Mariota, was at the center of the offensive attack. The truth is, Mariota did what was expected of him, but that shouldn’t discount his great week one numbers. If he keeps it up against the tougher competition that awaits, it could be his Heisman to lose.
Texas A&M QB Kenny Hill
Last week (W, 52-28, at South Carolina): 44-for-60, 511 yards, 3 TDs
2014: 44-for-60, 511 yards, 3 TDs
Johnny who? It didn’t take long for Aggie fans to forget about Johnny Manziel once the world saw what Hill could do. Hill didn’t just replace Manziel in the first game; he broke his passing record doing so. And maybe most impressive, Hill did it on the road against a talented South Carolina defense. Teams don’t just walk into Williams-Brice Stadium and get a win. The Gamecocks hadn’t lost at home in their previous 18 games, the longest streak in the nation. Hill changed that and vaulted himself into the early-season Heisman conversation.
Florida St. QB Jameis Winston
Last week (W, 37-31, vs. Oklahoma State): 25-for-40, 370 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs (9 rushing yards, 1 rushing TD)
2014: 25-for-40, 370 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs (9 rushing yards, 1 TD)
Florida State wasn’t supposed to struggle in its first game of the season, but they did, and some of the blame fell on Winston’s inconsistent play. Winston led a late charge to push the Seminoles past Oklahoma State and saved his spot among the top Heisman candidates, but his two second-quarter interceptions were unacceptable for someone many consider to be the best quarterback in the nation. The reigning Heisman winner needs to get back to last year’s form if he wants to top the list again.
Nebraska RB Ameer Abdullah
Last week (W, 55-7, vs. Florida Atlantic): 21 attempts, 232 yards, 1 TD
2014: 21 attempts, 232 yards, 1 TD
Like Gurley, Abdullah had too good of a first game to ignore. With Baylor’s Bryce Petty now battling a back injury, Abdullah moves into the top five this week. Even in Nebraska’s run-heavy system, 232 yards on the ground is no small feat. Abdullah had more than 1,600 rushing yards in 2013, so don’t be surprised if the senior continues to impress.