In no discernible order, these are my top four favorites to be sitting in New York in early December for the right to take home the stiff-armed trophy:
Tim Tebow, QB, Florida—The only sophomore to ever win the prestigious award, Tebow could become only the second player ever to win the Heisman not only on separate occasions, but in consecutive seasons. Ohio State running back Archie Griffin won the award in 1974 and 1975. Look for Tebow to be among the front-runners all season long despite the fact he will not post ’07-like numbers (55 total TDs: 32 passing, 23 rushing).
Chris Wells, RB, Ohio State—Wells is an extremely gifted runner who’s fast enough to get to the edge, yet fierce enough to run between the tackles with conviction. This season may be the best shot Wells, a junior, gets at capturing the Heisman, since many expect he will forgo his senior year and declare himself eligible for the 2009 NFL Draft. The Buckeyes’ early-season contest with USC in Los Angeles will go a long way in validating—or hampering—Wells’ cause.
Chase Daniel, QB, Missouri—The senior gunslinger will garner a considerable number of votes based purely on the fact that he is the clear-cut most valuable player on a team with national championship aspirations. Daniel is not only the lifeline through which the Tigers’ aerial assault of an offense thrives, but he is the undisputable heart and soul of a program that has earmarked 2008 as its most anticipated season ever. One potential stumbling block in Daniel’s path to the podium at the New York City Athletic Club could be his very own teammate, Jeremy Maclin, who has the potential to receive votes of his own if he improves on spectacular numbers from a year ago.
Knowshon Moreno, RB, Georgia—A lot of people will tell you that QB Matthew Stafford is the gear that truly makes the Bulldogs’ electrifying offense run. While that may be true, it is Moreno whose flash and overall athletic ability makes that offense so difficult to defend. Because he has to be accounted for on each and every play, the attention Moreno attracts from defenses allows his teammates the chance to shine, including Stafford. After a scintillating freshman season, Moreno will need to equal, if not exceed, last year’s performance against a number of top-ranked defenses if he wants to become the first Georgia running back to win the Heisman since Herschel Walker in 1982.