Published October 9, 2012 - 8:45am
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Much shifting has been going on since the original preseason watch list. Mike Gillislee from Florida is playing as well as anyone, and two freshmen Johnny Manziel and Todd Gurley are still on the list. This award is very much “what have you done for me lately”.
1. Mike Gillislee, RB, Florida (SR): Gillislee slides up from receiving votes to being the top running back in the conference after his 135-yard two-touchdown performance against LSU. LSU had not allowed that kind of yardage and performance to a running back since 2010, and Florida fed off Gillislee’s toughness and tenacity in the second half. Florida stuck to their game plan – run Gilly run – throughout the game and won it in the second half. Florida is winning the time of possession in the SEC, and Gillislee is a huge reason Florida is sitting 5-0 and arguably has the best resume in college football. He’s rushed for a total of 548 yards and seven touchdowns, averaging 109.60 yards per game.
2. AJ McCarron, QB, Alabama (JR): McCarron returns this week from a bye week with a road trip to a struggling Missouri team. The Tigers lost last week against Vanderbilt at home. McCarron is the face of the best team in college football, and he’s playing very efficient football – just what he’s asked to – through five games. McCarron has thrown for 999 yards and 12 touchdowns. No, those aren’t Geno Smith statistics, but that’s all that is asked of him from Alabama.
3. Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia (JR): Murray is coming off one of the worst games of his career to find out his father has cancer. Well wishes to the Murray family. But Georgia was just dominated by South Carolina from the get-go. Murray finished 11 of 31 (35 percent) for 109 yards and one INT. To win this award, you have to beat the best teams and look good doing while doing so. However, it’s just one game, and Murray will bounce back for the remainder of the schedule. But Murray and the offense never could get anything going against the Gamecocks.
4. Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M (FR): The legend of Johnny Football grows again this week as Texas A&M went on the road and picked up another SEC win. The Aggies had to score two touchdowns in the fourth quarter, both led by Mr. Manziel himself. He connected with Ryan Swope for the 20-yard go-ahead touchdown to make it 30-27 with 1:46 remaining. Manziel threw for 191 yards and one touchdown, while rushing for 129 yards and one touchdown. Manziel could lead the Aggies to a 10-win season. Wouldn’t that be something?
5. Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina (JR): Lattimore returned to his workhorse days against Georgia. Once the Gamecocks went up by three touchdowns, it was Lattimore time. He carried 24 times for 109 yards and one touchdown, and he was relieved later in the game by Kenny Miles. On the season, Lattimore has 116 carries for 549 yards and nine touchdowns. He jumps up to second in the SEC in total rushing yards.
Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina (SO): The man-beast made his intentions known from the get-go against Georgia. It’s almost like he has a personal vendetta against Aaron Murray and the Bulldogs. He had 1.0 sacks and 2.0 tackles for loss and lived in the backfield. Clowney totals 6.5 sacks on the season and 11.5 tackles for loss. He’s getting better, too.