Five SEC players who will push for a Heisman in 2014

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FSU’s Jameis Winston officially took home the Stiff Arm Trophy Saturday night, beating out the SEC trio of Johnny Manziel, AJ McCarron and Tre Mason, and we’re only a couple days removed. But it’s never too early to start talking about 2014 and the potential for several SEC players to be right in the mix for the award.

Related: Winston wins the 2013 Heisman

The SEC will feature five main contenders in 2014, headlined by four running backs and one quarterback:

Mike Davis, South Carolina: Davis was one of the biggest workhorses this season, and he rushed for 1,134 yards and 11 touchdowns. Davis exploded onto the scene week one against South Carolina, and he continued to raise eyebrows the entire season. We’ll see what effect losing QB Connor Shaw will have on the offense, but Davis should have another big year for a team that will contend for a championship.

Related: SEC’s top rated underclassmen

Todd Gurley, Georgia: As the country’s best running back when healthy, Todd Gurley was in the mix for the Heisman in 2013, obviously before he was injured. Gurley has combined for 2,288 rushing yards in two seasons, with the bowl game left to add to those numbers. Gurley is a boss between the tackles, and he bullies his way to yards after contact. Hopefully in 2014, we’ll see him stay healthy the entire season.

Nick Marshall, Auburn: One of the most dynamic athletes in the country, Nick Marshall will be in year two of leading Gus Malzahn’s offense. He’s combined for 2,782 yards and is a 1,000-yard rusher and passer. He’s also combined for 23 touchdowns, and the Tigers’ offense is only going to get better next season. Marshall is a catalyst for the most explosive running game in the country.

Related: Final regular season player statistics

Tre Mason, Auburn (Left for the NFL): Assuming Mason doesn’t turn pro, which he probably will, he’ll be in the running for another Heisman. As a finalist this year, Mason rushed for 1,621 yards and 22 touchdowns, and had there been more buzz during preseason regarding Mason and the award, I think he would have given Jameis Winston a run for his money Saturday night. Instead, voters had already turned in their ballots too early before he went off the last two weeks.

TJ Yeldon, Alabama: With AJ McCarron gone, TJ Yeldon will be the guy in the Tide’s offense next season. Yeldon has combined for 2,271 rushing yards and 25 touchdowns. He’s so fluid and it looks effortless when he totes the rock.

Photo Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

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COMMENTS

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  • After what Missouri’s Josey went thru with his knee, it’s anybodies guess if he even wants to risk playing pro ball, Knile Davis went for it and is starting to see some carries with the Chiefs. In 2011 Josey did not share carries as much and would have gained about 1400 yards as a freshman. If Pinkel changes strategies with Hansborough, Murphy, Hansborough, Steward (White is graduating), all sharing, Josey is a Heisman candidate because he could easily go from his 1,073/ 2013 to 1,500/2014 and still share some carries.

    • i agree Mason will go to the NFL

    • Josey was a sophomore in 2011, not a freshman. He played as a true freshman in 2010 and took a redshirt in 2012 to recover from the injury, which made him a junior this season.

      • Thanks for correcting that, it’s possible that Pinkel would have more incentive to let him have more rushes (like Lawrence did) because he will be a senior. If I were coaching the Tiger’s however I would probably keep spreading the touches out and maybe even get a heavy body like Steward some playbook expansion

  • Don’t forget Dorial Green-Beckham. He has 12 TDs and counting this season and only really figured things out about halfway through the year. With the other two pieces of mizzou’s three-headed monster graduating this year (L’Damian Washington and Marcus Lucas), DGB should see even more targets next year. If he progresses as expected, he could be in for a 1,200 yard 16 TD type season. That would get some Heisman attention if Mizzou wins games.

    • When’s the last time a WR won the Heisman, though? Desmond Howard comes to mind, but I don’t know if a WR has won it since then. Not saying it can’t happen, but it will take more than 1,200 yards and 16 TD to get it done for a WR.

    • To piggy back what Dawg780 said, Desmond Howard was a return guy on special teams along with being a WR, and Charles Woodson was a 2 way player along with Special Teams. DGB should be in the talks cause dude is amazing, however it’s pretty much QB/RB award now unless you are “Extra Special” when it comes to being a Wideout.

      • Being extra special as a wideout doesn’t help at all, Look at Larry Fitzgerald, and AJ Green the two best WR I can think of in the past 20 years, and if they didn’t win, no way DGB will win, he impressed me in the SEC championship game, but he is still a poor mans AJ Green

    • The media can only think in absolute values so this is going to cause panic attacks of sports reporting consciousness, but DGBeckum is going to continue to get better in increments. Maty Mauk will use him more because he is willing to take risks with the type of balls he throws. This will make his numbers look better right away. I don’t think he will reach Justin Blackmon status till mid season 2014, then maybe have Kelin Winslow-ness late 2014-2015. Dawg and Worm are right on however when they write that QBs and Running Backs are the Heisman winners. It won’t change until they change the rules…and they should change the rules. QBs and Running Backs have their own award. It’s time to make the Heisman the best player in any position on the field.

  • Jesse Palmer seems to think that Dak Prescott could be a dark horse next year. I seriously doubt it. But now that it’s his team and no longer shared time with Russell, you’ll see his numbers improve drastically. Especially with a veteran OL in front of him and a WR corp that came together and made strides towards the end of the year. With speedsters like Lewis and Holloway in the slot and big bodies like Morrow, Wilson etc on the edge, he’s got plenty of targets. Also bringing back four RB’s with significant playing time doesn’t hurt either.

    • Jesse Palmer is gay…

    • Chris Relf 2.0?? Doubt it.

    • I love Dak as the type of QB he is, play-action/speed option, but I really want Dan to develop Dak’s arm control this off season. Yes, his running ability is what saves games for us, but I don’t want to have to “save” a game every single time. I want to be able to win a game outright without having to rely on his running ability. A quarterback throws. Plain and simple. A running quarterback, such as Dak, will run but still has to throw and throw well. Dak can throw pretty decently, but in order to be considered “Heisman”-worthy, he needs to get better at the QB position and not just a throwing-RB.

  • No one mentioning LSU’s Jeremy Hill??? He was a close 2nd behind Mason on rushing yardage and TD’s and played in 2 less games. He did all that while sharing the workload with Terrence Magee, Alfred Blue, and Kenny Hilliard. With a much more mobile quarterback in Anthony Jennings I see a little bid of read option coming from Cam Cameron’s offense next year as well.

  • 1. Mike Davis will have to get on his horse in a hurry next season as the Gamecocks are deep at the running back position. I guess that’s a good thing if you are a Gamecock fan! SC fans are still rooting for Marcus Lattimore even though he is now with the 49ers. Davis will have to do something really special next season if he is going to get past the memory of Marcus….he just may do that!
    2. As far as the Auburn players are concerned, going from worst to first does have it’s drawbacks as there are less goals which haven’t already been reached. I am looking to guys like Marshall and Mason to maybe making a trip to DC and balancing the federal budget in their spare time next year!
    3. Gurley at Georgia and Yeldon at Alabama were both on my short list for the Heisman this season, and they will obviously be there next year as both of these young men will put up some sick numbers next season, which will probably be their last in college. Gurley is one of the only running backs in college who looks like he can run with no blocking. Both of these guys will be looking for million dollar homes in no time.

  • Agree with what Josey went thru – he is awesome player – 50,000 mi rebuilt, has the heart and drive…DGB gonna be a force to reckon with in coming seasons. Pinkel & Co have made some awesome choices…just keep them healthy. Heisman is an award, look at how many received and didn’t go very far at all…

  • The Dak attack is coming

  • Yeldon won’t be the entire offense. I think Alec Morris and Justin Bateman will have something to say about that. Possibly Luke DelRio will as well….

  • You wanna talk about a darkhorse? Sir Dylan Thompson SHOULD hit the ground running next year. With our entire receiving corps returning including our monstrous tightends that we don’t ever use and Mike Davis toting the rock, Dylan has everything he needs for a big year. We might finally see Spurrier’s favorited fun n gun offense next year now that he has a passer with a cannon for an arm. This could be fun.

  • “Davis exploded onto the scene week one against South Carolina, and he continued to raise eyebrows the entire season.”

    Actually Davis exploded vs NORTH Carolina, not Carolina.

  • The “new” Heiman winners come from winning programs. Over 2 loses and you better be REAL good. So throwing names around and positions like WR etc you also better back it up in the W column. Otherwise forget it ! If a WR or DB wins the Heisman (which is a longshot) their overall team better be good or undefeated.

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