Who are the Pac-12's Heisman contenders?


Once again, the preseason Heisman frontrunner hails from the Pac-12. Ted and I have given you our thoughts on a pair of Heisman hopefuls from the conference, but Athlon sports took it a step further -- actually, 23 steps further -- by breaking down their Top 25 Heisman contenders from the Pac-12.

Here's their full list:

  1. Matt Barkley, QB, USC

  2. Marquess Wilson, WR, Washington State

  3. De'Anthony Thomas, all-purpose, Oregon

  4. Keith Price, QB, Washington

  5. Robert Woods, WR, USC

  6. Keenan Allen, WR, Cal

  7. Kenjon Barner, RB, Oregon

  8. Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah

  9. John White, RB, Utah

  10. Jeff Tuel, QB, Washington State

  11. Stepfan Taylor, RB, Stanford

  12. Marqise Lee, WR, USC

  13. Chase Thomas, LB, Stanford

  14. Isi Sofele, RB, Cal

  15. Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington

  16. Jordan Poyer, CB, Oregon State

  17. Cameron Marshall, RB, Arizona State

  18. Marcus Mariota/Bryan Bennett, QB, Oregon

  19. Ka'Deem Carey, RB, Arizona

  20. T.J. McDonald, S, USC

  21. Johnathan Franklin, RB, UCLA

  22. Michael Clay, LB, Oregon

  23. Curtis McNeal, RB, USC

  24. Shaq Thompson, S, Washington

  25. Matt Scott, QB, Arizona

Some initial thoughts:

  • This is essentially a Top 25 list of the Pac-12's top players. And as Ted learned, you don't leave John Boyett off of a Top 25 list.

  • I still like Thomas ahead of Wilson -- even though Wilson might emerge as the top wide receiver in the conference, especially when you consider the system he's in. But wide receivers traditionally don't get the Heisman love.

  • And keeping with that, I'd put Price at No. 3 because quarterbacks do get the Heisman love. And Price certainly belongs in the conversation. If he's able to make it through the first half of the season with relatively good numbers against elite competition, it's going to boost his stock.

  • Woods and Lee are too far apart. I don't know which one is better, but I do know Woods isn't seven players better than Lee.

  • I think you could plug in any number of tight ends from the conference into the Austin Seferian-Jenkins spot and make an argument. That's not to say ASJ isn't worthy, it's just a commentary on how good the conference is at the position.

  • Taylor has some work to do at No. 11 if he wants to make it all the way up to No. 2. That would make it four straight runners-up for the Cardinal.

  • McNeal shouldn't be punished because of who isn't behind him. He belongs higher.

  • Would absolutely love to see a defensive tackle like Lotulelei get legitimate Heisman consideration. Unfortunately, that's not the reality of the award.

  • Every position group was hit except the offensive line, (and kickers, we're an equal opportunity blog). Yes, the conference lost the bulk of its elite linemen. But Khaled Holmes doesn't at least get a tip of the cap? I know Shaq Thompson is an amazing athlete, but I'd much rather see an established player like Holmes, Boyett, Kasen Williams or Dion Jordan on this list over someone yet to play a collegiate down.