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.
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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.
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.
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