April 15, 2009
By Todd Helmick

Site Owner Todd Helmick maintains an Official Heisman Vote

NationalChamps.net 2009 Top 25 Heisman List

1. QB Tim Tebow - Sr., FLORIDA
The man has two national championship rings and a Heisman already. Yes, Bradford won the “Stiff Arm” competition last year with far better passing numbers over the course of the year, but Tebow showed in their head-to-head match up for all the marbles just how good he can be. Should the Gators win another title as they are heavily favored to do, Tebow would easily have to go down as one of the greatest college quarterbacks of all-time.
2. QB Sam Bradford - Jr., OKLAHOMA
His passing numbers were astounding a year ago in this hurry-up no-huddle offense as the Sooners left opposing teams wondering what happened just 25 minutes into the game. He made a few mistakes that cost his team in the BCS title game but there is no reason to believe he won’t improve on or duplicate the same aerial numbers (and won/loss record). He is the defender of the Heisman for now. Let the same comparisons resume. However, after the Heisman was handed out, Tebow took over in grand fashion and won the battle that counted most.
3. QB Colt McCoy - Sr., TEXAS
Tebow, Bradford or McCoy? One almost has to feel bad for McCoy as his name is always the last to be mentioned in this three-man discussion. His team defeats the Sooners in the regular season but gets voted out of a chance to play for the title in favor of the same team they beat. He puts up Heisman-like statistics while out rushing all the other top candidates (also maintained the highest completion rate) but again, he gets voted out of this prestigious award while wallowing in the shadows of Oklahoma. He is a four-year starter, but it’s obvious he has to do more than just win games. What that is, unfortunately nobody really knows.
4. WR Dez Bryant - Jr., OKLAHOMA STATE
Want more Big 12 offense? Then look no further than Stillwater. Three Oklahoma State players (Bryant, Hunter and Robinson) all rank high on this list. What separates Bryant aside from the fact he finished ranked among the top three nationally in four major statistical categories, he is also a return specialist extraordinaire. Receivers rarely ever win this award. If they do, it is because they do something else than catch passes. If he continues to put up multiple scores via his electric return talents, he has a shot.
5. RB Evan Royster - Jr., PENN STATE
What really helps Royster is the fact the nation’s top backs of 2008 have departed early to play in the NFL. Five of the top six backs likely taken in the NFL Draft left college before their eligibility expired, which leaves Royster as one of the premier ball carriers. He won’t have the luxury of operating behind the same veteran offensive line, but with Penn State losing most all of their receivers, he now becomes their No. 1 threat. A Big Ten running back usually dots this list and Royster carries on the tradition.
6. QB Todd Reesing - Sr., KANSAS
Where did Todd disappear to last season? His sophomore campaign of 2007 and the stats that came with it put the Austin, TX native on the Heisman map. His notoriety got whipped off the board in 2008 as Big 12 neighbors Bradford, McCoy, Harrell and Daniel stole the limelight. After an impressive bowl outing to close the year and a wealth of receivers returning to surround him, Reesing is ready to lobby for more votes with a superior senior effort. The Jayhawks need more than another 8-5 record however to boost his chances.
7. QB Max Hall - Sr., BRIGHAM YOUNG
Max was never in a position to get invited to the Heisman ceremony. He was however, making a push for outside consideration before crashing the final two games of ’08 against Arizona and Utah. He did manage to become the MWC single-season record holder for touchdowns (35) and he may be the smartest quarterback on this list. Winning a conference title in a league where TCU and Utah have made the MWC nothing to sneeze at would go a long way to boosting his voting total.
8. RB Kendall Hunter - Jr., OKLAHOMA STATE
The Big 12’s leading rusher by more than 30 yards per game is a prime example of how difficult the task is of defending these wide open attacks. The Cowboys are the talk of league heading into 2009 in terms of veteran offensive firepower at the skill positions and Hunter is a big part of that equation.
9. RB Jahvid Best - Jr., CALIFORNIA
California's "Best" at everything gave the Golden Bears a 1,000 yard rusher for the seventh year in a row, the second best streak in the Pac Ten only to USC's 10 in a row from 1972-81. In addition to his running prowess he finished tied for second on the team in receptions and is first in the Pac Ten in both all-purpose yards and kickoff returns. Playing so many lucrative roles makes Jahvid one of the most versatile athletes on this list.
10. RB Jonathan Dwyer - Jr., GEORGIA TECH
Granted Tech has a history of producing sound running games and Dwyer produced a solid freshman season just two years ago, but the reigning ACC Player of the Year has now become a beast in Paul Johnson’s triple option attack. Rushing for over 1,400 yards while averaging 7.0 yards per carry, there were times at the end of last season that Dwyer looked absolutely unstoppable. Dwyer is going to manufacture colossal numbers carrying the ball as he learns to master this complicated system.
11. RB Jacquizz Rodgers - So., OREGON STATE
Only standing at a 5'7, the freshman sensation of 2008 is one of the quickest running backs in the country from point A to point B. He owns the Pac-10 record for freshman rushing with 1,253 yards and was named the Pac-10’s Offensive Player of the Year, marking the first time a freshman has received the award.
12. QB Zac Robinson - Sr., OKLAHOMA STATE
While there are several quarterbacks listed ahead of Robinson here, when dissecting the term "dual-threat QB" no other candidate on this list fits the description better. Robinson has Tim Tebow-like numbers with 1,553 career rushing yards and 6,223 career passing yards. The spread offense has been good for the Big 12, Oklahoma State and Zac Robinson. All his team has to do is be in the thick of the Big 12 South race entering November, and those odds look good.
13. RB DeMarco Murray - Jr., OKLAHOMA
Murray does more than just excel as another running back in this prolific Sooner offense. He set an OU single season record for all-purpose yards last fall and was the team's leading kick returner with 774 yards, second best in the school's history. Not only that, but he has blossomed into quite a receiving threat while recording 31 catches a year ago. Teams like Oklahoma are going to win and in the process players like DeMarco Murray are going to find their way into Heisman discussions.
14. QB Case Keenum - Jr., HOUSTON
The highest rated candidate not participating in a BCS aligned conference, the young Keenum is primed to smash all the school records held by famous Houston quarterbacks before him like Andre Ware, David Klingler and Kevin Kolb. He finished the 2008 season as the nation's leader in total offense at 403.2 yards per game.
15. RB MiQuale Lewis - Sr., BALL STATE
With Ball State finishing the 2008 regular season undefeated, someone like Lewis was sure to get noticed. He has an instinct for finding the end zone after tallying 22 rushing touchdowns and 132 points a year ago. He also managed to rush for over 100 yards 11 different times. He won't have QB Nate Davis handing him the ball and taking the heat off the run game, which won't help his cause. Lewis needs another 12-win team effort to climb on this list and that likelihood does not appear to be in the Cards.
16. QB Juice Williams - Sr., ILLINOIS
When Juice emerged as a freshman on the field three seasons ago, everyone could see how his feet were going to make a difference (currently in the Top 5 of the Big Ten Quarterback Career Rushing List). But now he is starting to do damage with his arm. The problem is he sometimes completes passes to the other team. Repeating his 16-interception performance of '08 won't remotely put him anywhere near a sniff of this race. He does have a great chance to leave Illinois as the school's most productive signal callers.
17. QB Dan LeFevour - Sr., CENTRAL MICHIGAN
Earning a reputation while playing in a conference that has become famous for producing NFL caliber quarterbacks is no easy task. LeFevour will likely finish 2009 as the MAC record holder for total offense, surpassing Marshall's Byron Leftwich. The Chippewas are primed to be the MAC heavy hitter this fall, which is good enough to merit more national recognition for the four-year starter.
18. QB Daryll Clark - Sr., PENN STATE
When Penn State wins as it was doing last season, guys like Royster and Clark are going to get recognized. Clark is not the best passer in the Big Ten, nor is he the best runner despite the fact he does both very well. His game management and ability to make plays with both his feet and his arm is good enough to give the Nittany Lions a great shot at defending their conference crown despite the massive personnel losses. This feat would not be possible without Clark behind center. He eerily reminds fans of former PSU quarterback Michael Robinson.
19. QB Jevan Snead - Jr., OLE MISS
The Texas Longhorn transfer has already done more for the Ole Miss program than the highest of expectations could have imagined. The Rebels are now a contender in the SEC. Snead does not currently have the numbers to compete in this race, especially when playing conference second fiddle to Tim Tebow. Don't be surprised to see Snead better those stats as he grows into head coach Houston Nutt's system. He has a wealth of playmakers surrounding him.
20. RB Noel Devine - Jr., WEST VIRGINIA
WVU has become synonymous with rushing attack. With QB Pat White departing, the person expected to continue the ground success is the all-around, quick hitting athlete Devine. He has a knack for rushing, receiving and returning kicks with bursts of speed second to few. All his departed blockers need replaced and it will be interesting to see just how Devine handles the load as the team's premier star.
21. QB Matt Grothe - Sr., SOUTH FLORIDA
Only standing at 6'0 tall, his NFL forecast isn't so grand. Grothe emerged on the national landscape after his sensational freshman campaign of 2006. He is exquisite at making things happen while scrambling and is primed to become the Big East record holder for career yards in total offense. His big problem... he has tossed 14 interceptions in each of the last two seasons. Coaches have put enough talent around him that hopefully he begins to realize he does not have to do it alone. Under this premise, his last season could be the best.
22. QB Tim Hiller - Sr., WESTERN MICHIGAN
Some folks might wonder how Tim Hiller cracks this list. Granted he is in a long shot type of position playing in Kalamazoo, MI but his stats rank right up there with many of the qualified 2008 quarterbacks. Don't sleep on quality MAC passers. Hiller finished in the Top 10 nationally in passing yards per game while throwing 36 touchdowns to only 10 interceptions. He was buried behind LeFevour and Davis last year on the MAC quarterback pecking order. With some team success he could make a move in the race for MAC quarterback supremacy.
23. QB Terrelle Pryor - So., OHIO STATE
Every college football fan under the sun knows what the expectations are for the heralded prep star that took over the starting duties in Columbus his first year on campus. Granted, his true freshman statistics do not measure up when compared to many of the names on this list despite the fact he is the team's returning leading rusher. But everyone also knows that it's only a matter of "when" and not "if" he can compete for this type of hefty honor. Pryor has all the physical tools and obviously a strong supporting cast to make the move now.
24. QB Jimmy Clausen - Jr., NOTRE DAME
This Irish team has taken a step forward every season since Clausen arrived on campus and began life operating the most prestigious position in college football. Of course, this would have been hard not to accomplish after the failures demonstrated early in the process. The incredibly strong recruiting classes have yet to pay full dividends and people have become accustomed to watching Notre Dame struggle. That is not going to be the case in 2009 and even with a possible 8 or 9 win season, the ND signal caller still gets plenty of exposure. He wasn't the 2006 High School Player of the Year by many publications for no good reason.
25. QB Colin Kaepernick - Jr., NEVADA
The reigning WAC Offensive Player of the Year used his strong arm and quick feet to become just the fifth QB in NCAA Division I-A (FBS) history to throw for 2,000 yards and rush for 1,000 yards in the same season. He still has a ways to go before mastering the passing aspects of the "Pistol Offense" he operates under. This offense is geared for constructing personal statistics and Kaepernick is flourishing. In reality, a kid from Reno won't have a shot at winning the Heisman, but he is worthy of being a part of the extended discussion.