Projecting the 2015 SEC Heisman darkhorses
With another name added to the history of the Heisman Trophy this weekend, we take a look at next year’s possible darkhorses from the Southeastern Conference.
Pharoh Cooper, WR, South Carolina
Probably the brightest part of the Gamecock’s 2014 season was the emergence of Pharoh Cooper as a stud wide-out. Cooper had 60 catches for 966 yards and eight touchdowns. He added two touchdowns and 198 yards on the ground as well. With Dylan Thompson departing, Cooper will likely rely on Connor Mitch to get him the rock in 2015.
Kelvin Taylor, RB, Florida
Heisman hopeful at Florida? On offense? With Jim McElwain taking over, 2015 should be a nice change of pace for Florida fans with regards to offensive production. Kelvin Taylor, former five-star recruit and son of legendary Gator running back Fred Taylor, might benefit the most from the arrival of McElwain. McElwain has experience grooming Heisman running backs in the SEC (Alabama’s Mark Ingram).
Jeremy Johnson, QB, Auburn
Next year’s Auburn squad will be one to watch as it will be the first time Gus Malzahn runs his system since taking over as head coach without QB Nick Marshall. Fans are optimistic about Jeremy Johnson who is considered a better passer than Marshall. To make a run at the award, Johnson will need weapons to throw to, and it’s possible that Auburn loses two 700-yard receivers in D’haquille Williams and Sammie Coates (both juniors). WR Quan Bray is also graduating.
Maty Mauk, QB, Missouri
Maty Mauk led the SEC East champion Missouri Tigers in 2014, but most view his season as inconsistent and erratic. If you look closely, however, Mauk’s game improved nicely during the second half of the season. Mauk had eight interceptions in the first half of the season highlighted by an ugly four interception game against Georgia, but finished the season with only three interceptions in his last seven games including the SEC Championship against Alabama. Mauk’s ability and talent are real, and if he can continue to develop as a quarterback, Missouri might have one of the best in the SEC next season.
Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss
One of the top playmakers in the SEC, Laquon Treadwell crushes the eye test when you watch him on the field. Through nine games in 2014 before suffering a devastating injury, Treadwell accumulated 632 yards on 48 receptions. He also had five touchdowns. Looking ahead, Treadwell’s first order of business is a full recovery from the injury he suffered at the end of the Auburn game. QB Bo Wallace is gone in 2015, but Hugh Freeze should be able to construct an offense with the new quarterback to get the ball into Treadwell’s hands.
Who else should be considered darkhorse candidates next year?