It’s the same story every year in college football; the Heisman hype machine begins running full-tilt before the first snap of the season. While most reporters and fans have a good idea who will finish near the top of the Heisman voting list this year, there always seems to be a player who manages to unexpectedly work his way into the conversation. As the season goes on, look for the following talented players to earn some unexpected Heisman consideration.
Trent Richardson – RB – Alabama
An odd choice considering he will likely be splitting carries with reigning Heisman winner Mark Ingram, but Richardson possesses a rare ability to break loose for extremely impressive runs. Before you count him out of the hunt, bear in mind that he plays for the top ranked team in football and had his most impressive performance last year against one of the top ranked defenses in the country. This guy has the talent to do big things in Tuscaloosa and if he doesn’t finish in the top 5 for Heisman voting this year, you can bet that he will be in the mix in 2011.
Garrett Gilbert – QB – Texas
Replacing one of the best quarterbacks in college football history is no easy task, but Gilbert doesn’t seem overly concerned. Even though the Longhorns lost their top down-field threat last season, Garrett Gilbert still has a nice stable of talent to work with out wide. Playing for such a highly ranked team will help him gain the necessary television exposure and it doesn’t hurt that he will have games against Rice, Wyoming, Iowa State, Baylor and Florida Atlantic to pad his stats a bit.
Jeremiah Masoli – QB – Ole Miss
Its hard to say if Masoli has the skills to be a successful quarterback in the SEC, but there is no denying that he has shown flashes of brilliance in years past. He has the ability to pick up yards through the air and on the ground but appears to lack that big play-making receiver necessary to rack up the highlight reel touchdown passes. Masoli definitely presents the college football world with an interesting situation considering he will playing for a second major regional audience. When you consider the exposure he received on the west coast and combine that with the exposure he will get in the south region, you have a guy who is set to potentially earn more votes than expected.
Donald Buckram – RB – UTEP
His statistics are mind blowing and his ability to break loose for “highlight reel” runs is amazing; seems like a shoe-in for Heisman consideration right? There is only one problem; he plays for that other University of Texas. In a perfect world a guy like Donald Buckram would be considered for the Heisman based solely on his ability to succeed on the football field, but unfortunately for this senior, that is simply not the case. He will playing against sub-par defenses all year and has a strong offensive line in front of him so look for this player to post huge numbers despite the lack of early Heisman attention.
“Texas Longhorns Football Schedule” – FBSchedules.com