Unheralded Heisman hopefuls

July, 10, 2008
7/10/08
4:43
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Graham Watson

 
 Andy Lyons/Getty Images
 Dan LeFevour had a QB rating of 133.5 for the Chippewas last year.

It's been 17 seasons since a non-BCS player has won the Heisman Trophy. In 1990, BYU junior quarterback Ty Detmer bested Notre Dame's Raghib Ismail and Colorado's Eric Bienemy, among others.  

Could it happen again this year?

The competition is tough, but here are my Top 5 non-BCS candidates worth tracking over the next several months.

1. Dan LeFevour, QB, Central Michigan -- LeFevour was the MAC Freshman of the Year in 2006 and the MAC Offensive Player of the Year in 2007. The junior is the second quarterback in Division I FBS history to pass for 3,000 yards and rush for 1,000 yards in a single season.

2. Eugene Jarvis, RB, Kent State -- Jarvis is the best running back no one is talking about. He is the nation's top returning rusher, averaging 139 yards per game and 6.0 yards per carry as a sophomore. He one of the nation's smallest backs at 5-foot-5, 170 pounds.

3. Max Hall, QB, BYU -- Hall is already considered a Heisman contender after becoming the nation's top-ranked sophomore quarterback last season by passing for 3,848 yards over 13 games. He led the MWC with an average of 297.1 yards of total offense per game. He also had a league-high 26 touchdown passes on the season.

4. Chase Holbrook, QB, New Mexico St. -- Holbrook suffered a rib injury midseason which contributed to his passing yards dropping by nearly 1,000 from his sophomore to junior seasons. When healthy, he has the ability to repeat his 4,619 yard (70 percent completion rate) sophomore campaign. Holbrook has never completed fewer than 70 percent of his passes in any season.

5. Jarett Dillard, WR, Rice -- Dillard comes into this season as the active NCAA leader in receptions (205), receiving yardage (2,828) and touchdown receptions (40). His 40 touchdowns ranks eighth all-time in NCAA history. His numbers were down last year because of double coverage but still led all C-USA receivers with 14 TDs.

The darkhorses

1. Ian Johnson, RB, Boise State -- Led the nation in scoring and touchdowns in 2006 and was on his way to a repeat performance before a bruised kidney sidelined him for two games. He finished with 1,030 yards and 16 touchdowns on 203 carries.

2. Nate Davis, QB, Ball St. -- Davis led the MAC in passing efficiency while compiling a league-leading 3,667 yards and 30 touchdowns. He had a five games 300-plus passing yard games last season.

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