Off-the-radar Heisman candidates


We are in the summer months, so that means predictions for the upcoming college football season are coming in left and right.

ESPN Insider KC Joyner posted his eight off-the-radar Heisman candidatesInsider and the SEC is represented by two players.

His top two candidates are Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson and Florida quarterback John Brantley.

Wilson isn't a stretch. Despite playing sparingly behind Ryan Mallett in 2010, Wilson has a little bit of hype surrounding him, especially after a solid performance when he replaced Mallett in the Auburn game. He takes over as the Razorbacks' starter this season (even though coach Bobby Petrino hasn't made it totally official) and inherits a slew of talent at receiver with Jarius Wright, Greg Childs and Joe Adams returning. He doesn't have Mallett's cannon arm and we'll have to see how well he keeps his composure when all of the pressure is on him, but he'll be able to put up a ton of numbers in Petrino's pass-friendly offense.

Here's what Joyner wrote about Wilson:

Assuming he can win the Razorbacks' starting job, Wilson will take over a situation that looks ready-made for a Heisman Trophy run. In 2010, the Razorbacks had the only offense in the NCAA to boast a 3,000-yard passer (Ryan Mallett), a 1,000-yard rusher (Knile Davis) and five 600-yard pass catchers (Joe Adams, Greg Childs, Cobi Hamilton, D.J. Williams and Jarius Wright). Davis and all but one of the receivers will be returning, so Wilson will be in great shape as far as a supporting cast.

It's also not as if Wilson is a complete unknown. He took over for an injured Mallett against Auburn last year and used that national television venue to showcase his ability to pilot the offense. He completed 17 of his first 19 passes for 290 yards and four touchdowns and also added a two-point conversion completion. A performance of that nature in a game of that magniture shows the potential for Wilson to have a shot at being the best quarterback in the toughest conference in college football -- for a team that is a legitimate national title contender.

Joyner's decision to list Brantley might leave a few people -- even in Gainesville -- scratching their heads. There's no question Brantley has the arm to get the job done, especially in Charlie Weis' new spread offense, but he lacked confidence last year and the only way he'll be effective for the Gators is if he regains it this season. It will help that he won't be running the option ever again. In a true pro-style offense, Brantley was one of the best quarterbacks in high school and even broke Heisman winner Tim Tebow's Florida high school passing records. Brantley also needs to find some playmakers to get the ball to.

Here's what Joyner had to say about Brantley:

Brantley's 2010 numbers were not indicative of how well he played at times. In the three games against the Gators' toughest pass defense opponents (at Tennessee Volunteers, at home against the LSU Tigers and at the Alabama Crimson Tide, all teams that placed in the top 31 in the FBS in passer rating allowed last season), Brantley had 18 completions (plus one defensive pass interference penalty) in 24 medium depth attempts for 347 yards, one touchdown and zero interceptions (medium being defined as passes thrown 11-19 yards downfield).

That equates to a 214.4 passer rating on some of the toughest types of pass attempts against three top-level pass defenses. New offensive coordinator Charlie Weis will know how to utilize these skills quite effectively.