Mariota

1. Oregon QB Marcus Mariota 

Last week (W, 38-31, vs. Washington State): 21-for-25, 329 passing yards, 5 passing TDs, 58 rushing yards

2014: 1,135 passing yards, 13 passing TDs,
3 rushing TDs

Before the season began, Mariota was the quarterback most favored to have a breakout season. He’s lived up to that billing and more. The redshirt junior only missed on four of his throws last week, and, despite only having 25 attempts, he blazed Washington State for five touchdowns. But, the one stat that still rises above the rest is the zero that remains in his interception column. Mariota is flawless there so far, and every time he’s stepped onto the field this season, he’s looked pretty close to perfect. 

2. Alabama WR Amari Cooper

Last week (W, 42-21, vs. Florida): 10 receptions, 201 yards, 3 TDs

2014: 43 receptions, 655 yards, 5 TDs

Simply put, Cooper, a junior, is by far the best wide receiver in the nation right now. His 43 receptions and 655 yards both rank first in the country, and his impressive outing last week against Florida proved how special he can be. Cooper’s total yards against Florida were third most in Alabama’s history. If he keeps up this pace, he’ll easily shatter almost every Crimson Tide receiving record. 

3. Georgia RB Todd Gurley

Last week (W, 66-0, vs. Troy): 6 attempts, 73 yards

2014: 402 yards, 4 TDs

Georgia embarrassed Troy so badly last week that Gurley barely even played. Regardless, he still racked up 73 yards. Given the junior doesn’t even rank in the top 100 for attempts this season, it says a lot that he’s still in the top 10 for rushing yards per game and average yards per rush. Those numbers are a result of Gurley’s ability to make the most of his carries. His numbers should be big against Tennessee’s struggling
defense Saturday.

4. Nebraska RB Ameer Abdullah

Last week (W, 41-31, vs. Miami): 35 attempts,
229 yards, 3 total TDs

2014: 625 yards, 7 total TDs

The game against Miami marked the second time this season that Abdullah, a senior, has rushed for more than 220 yards. His 625 total yards are second only to Pittsburgh’s James Conner, but his greatest trait is his ability to make big plays at crucial times. In Nebraska’s victory over the Hurricanes, Abdullah’s fourth-quarter touchdown sealed the win. Abdullah is the kind of running back that gets better as the pressure mounts – a characteristic that helps in the
Heisman race. 

5. Texas A&M QB Kenny Hill

Last week (W, 58-6, vs. SMU): 16-for-22, 265 passing yards, 2 passing TDs, 57 rushing yards

2014: 1,359 passing yards, 13 passing TDs, 1 INT

The only reason Hill slid back in the Heisman poll is because the sophomore has barely needed to play since week one. Texas A&M hasn’t faced any stern competition since then, leaving Hill out of the conversation a little bit. But even with the lack of playing time, Hill has still thrown for more yards than Mariota and has as many touchdowns. Beginning with Arkansas on Saturday, A&M is arriving at its toughest stretch of the season. Now is Hill’s chance to prove himself.

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.