Tuesday, October 16, 2012
SEC Heisman Watch: Week 8
By Edward Aschoff
We have a new No. 1, and age ain't nothing but a number:
1. Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M: Sure, he's a freshman. No freshman has ever won the Heisman Trophy, but Manziel has been the most exciting player in the SEC this season. He can hurt teams with his arm and legs and showed it once again in the Aggies' shootout victory over Louisiana Tech. He broke his own SEC record for total offensive yards when he threw for 395 yards with three touchdowns and ran for 181 yards and three more touchdowns. That's 576 yards from one person. Nasty. He's third in the SEC in passing (1,680 yards) and has 14 touchdowns to three interceptions. He also leads the SEC with 676 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns.
2. Mike Gillislee, RB, Florida: He probably should have been in this spot last week after his 146-yard performance against LSU's defense. Gillislee has quietly gone about his business and leads all SEC running backs with 615 yards and is one of only two backs to average 100 or more yards a game. He also has seven rushing touchdowns. Gillislee ran for just 56 yards against Vanderbilt, but he carried the ball only 13 times because the Gators didn't need to use him that much. Gillislee isn't getting a lot of national love, but he's been one of the best in the SEC this season, and if he has a good performance against South Carolina, it should push him up the national charts.
3. AJ McCarron, QB, Alabama: McCarron continues to be steady for the Crimson Tide. He's never flashy, but he's still extremely efficient with his 1,170 yards, 12 touchdowns and zero interceptions. Even though Alabama blew out Missouri over the weekend, the Tide did most of their damage on the ground, leaving McCarron with just 171 yards on 16-of-21 passing. McCarron's yardage has to increase if he's going to make a run at the Heisman, but Alabama's winning ways certainly help.
4. Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina: After pounding away for the past few games, Lattimore was stuffed against LSU and didn't even touch the ball in the fourth quarter of the Gamecocks' 23-21 loss to the Tigers. Lattimore had some beefy runs here and there, but carried the ball just 13 times for 35 yards and a touchdown. He's tied with Manziel for the league lead in rushing touchdowns (10) and is fourth with 584 rushing yards. He could thrust himself right back into the Heisman limelight with a strong second half of the season.
5. Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia: The gunslinger was off last week. Before his dreadful performance in the Bulldogs' loss to South Carolina, Murray was playing his best ball as a Bulldog. He has passed for 1,487 yards and 12 touchdowns plus four interceptions this season. He can still make a Heisman run, but he'll have to win out (that means beating Florida) and take the Dawgs to the SEC championship game. With the second-half schedule the Bulldogs have, Murray should be able to put up some nice numbers the rest of the season.