When it comes to the Heisman watch in the SEC, there’s no shortage of talent—or, for that matter, uncertainty. One division is in shambles; the other is dominating the polls, but about to cannibalize with head-to-head matchups. Numbers don’t mean everything, and this season, sometimes they mean nothing. For example, suspended quarterback Kenny Hill leads all SEC quarterbacks in passing yards heading into Week 11, but let’s be honest. Hill has as much a chance at making it the Heisman ceremony as Mack Brown does of sharing a float in the Homecoming Parade with Charlie Strong. With three teams from the SEC West in the top five of the College Football Playoff Rankings, the strongest Heisman campaigns will be making their case on fields in Alabama and Mississippi between now and the voting deadline—December 8th, 2014.
While the month of November draws its lines between the winners and the champions, here are five Heisman hopefuls to keep an eye on in the SEC.
Dak Prescott, QB, Mississippi State: Dak Prescott has been turning in noteworthy performances all season, and shows no signs of slowing down. The “Dak Attack” set a new career high record for passing yards during the Bulldogs matchup against Arkansas in Week 10 when he threw for 331 yards. The undefeated quarterback has a total of 2025 passing yards for the season with a completion rating of 61.1% heading into a game against seriously overmatched UT Martin. He’s not just a threat in the air though; Prescott is also 8th in the SEC for rushing, with 725 yards and 10 touchdowns for the season.
Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama: the one-loss Crimson Tide are hungrily poised to pounce on the lead in the SEC West should Mississippi State falters. No one has displayed more voracity than the Tide’s Amari Cooper, who is ranked second nationally in total receiving yards, with 1132 yards under his talented cleats this season.
Blake Sims, QB, Alabama: Reason #2 for the Crimson Tide’s resurgence this season. Sims solidified his leadership role within the team after winning the quarterback battle against Jacob Coker. has gotten has completed 65.5% of his passes for 2034 yards. Although it’s unlikely that Sims would receive the nod instead of Cooper, the Tide have huge matchups looming with #1 Mississippi State and # Auburn, and Heisman voters will assuredly be watching should Sims decide to put on a show.
Nick Marshall, QB, Auburn: Marshall’s numbers haven’t racked up as much as those of Prescott or other notable quarterbacks around the country, but the Tigers are ranked #3 and could easily replace Mississippi State’s predicted spot in the SEC Championship game, providing a spotlight for Marshall highlight his ability to wrestle wins out of high-pressure games. Marshall has 1357 yards so far and a modest 59.6% completion percentage, but there are few quarterbacks that are as good at engineering a comeback as he is.
Cameron Artis-Payne, RB, Auburn: Artis-Payne is certainly not a newcomer to the Heisman conversation—he came in 6th in Heisman votes in 2013. In 2014, he’s putting up the numbers to earn a place in the conversation again, currently leading the nation in rushing yards at 974 yards with 7 touchdowns.
Check out more Heisman analysis from the brand-new SECin60 show on the SEC Radio Network with Mark Rogers and guest Brittnee Taylor Newman.
For the latest in sports injury news, check out our friends at Sports Injury Alert.
Have you tuned into Last Word On Sports Radio? LWOS is pleased to bring you 24/7 sports radio to your PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone. What are you waiting for?
Main Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images