With collegiate football programs already in the midst of preseason training camps, now is a good time to check out who’s got a shot at the NCAA’s most prestigious individual award for the 2009 season.
Tim Tebow, Quarterback, University of Florida
College football lines indicate that Tebow is the odds-on favorite (2/1) to capture his second Heisman trophy; in 2007, he became the first underclassmen in NCAA history to win the award. While last season was considered a “down” year for Tebow, he still managed to finish third in Heisman voting behind University of Texas QB Colt McCoy and University of Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford, the eventual winner.
To say Tebow’s college career has been a success would be a wild understatement – in three years, he’s thrown for 67 TDs to just 11 interceptions – and, for good measure, ran for 43 scores. The University of Florida once again appears primed to be a national title threat, meaning Tebow’s chances for a second Heiseman are very high.
Sam Bradford, Quarterback, University of Oklahoma
Quarterbacks don’t have much better seasons than the one Bradford had a year ago. The numbers read like something out of a video game: 4,721 passing yards, 67.9 completion percentage and a whopping 50 touchdown passes. Widely expected to be a high first-round pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, Bradford stunned the football world by returning to school for his junior season and will likely battle Tebow neck-and-neck for this year’s Heisman. Currently, sports book betting has Bradford at 11/4 to win the 2009 Heisman Trophy outright. Terrelle Pryor, Quarterback, Ohio State University
After a stellar campaign that saw him win the 2008 Big 10 Freshman of the Year award, Prior is expected to battle for a much bigger trophy in 2009. Much like Tebow, Pryor is a dual threat with both his arm and feet – in 2008, the 6’6, 235-pound dynamo threw for 1,311 yards with 12 TDs, running for 631 with 6 TDs. What might hurt Pryor’s chances for the Heisman, though, are the players around him. Gifted running back Chris “Beanie” Wells and sure-handed receiver Brian Robiskie both left for the NFL – this means a lot more pressure will be placed upon Pryor to carry the Buckeyes. Should he do it, the payoff could be sweet – he’s currently listed at 8/1 to win the Heisman this year.
Jahvid Best, Running Back, University of California
Continuing in the recent string of talented RBs to come out of Cal (think Marshawn Lynch, J.J. Arrington and Justin Forsett), Best could compete with the aforementioned trio of QBs for Heisman glory. The sophomore was an absolute beast last season for the Golden Bears – 194 carries for 1,580 yards and 15 TDs – putting up a ridiculous 8.1 yards-per-carry average. Best gained national prominence last year with an eye-popping performance against Washington, running for a school-record 311 yards while adding four TDs. If he can replicate most of that success this year, he’ll be in line for some Heisman votes – currently, he’s listed at 10/1 to win the award.