Football Bowl Subdivision

By Nicholas DeLorenzo, FBS Editor - Archive - Email
Heisman Rankings: Week 3
(L-R) Marcus Mariota, Todd Gurley, Kenny Hill and Jameis Winston Marcus Mariota, far left, is completing 70.4 percent of his passes for 806
yards and has accounted for 11 total touchdowns with zero interceptions.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - With early favorites and fresh faces making a splash in the third weekend of the season, let's take a look at the latest power rankings in the race for the Heisman Trophy.

1. Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon -- While Oregon failed to cover the lofty 43-point spread in its 48-14 victory over Wyoming, Mariota had no trouble hanging on to his No. 1 ranking with yet another dominant performance. Although he exited before the end of the third quarter, Mariota managed to rack up 221 passing yards (on 19-of-23 completions) and 71 rushing yards while scoring four touchdowns. You'd be hard pressed to top Mariota's season numbers even by playing as him on a video game, as he's completing 70.4 percent of his passes for 806 yards, has rushed for 156 yards and has accounted for 11 total touchdowns with zero interceptions. He's a no-brainer at the top of this list, and the gap between him and the field is larger than ever.

2. Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia -- While the play of the defense, the quarterback and the kicker ultimately cost Georgia a crucial 38-35 loss against SEC Eastern Division foe South Carolina, Gurley was predictably outstanding. Although South Carolina's defense doesn't appear as strong as many had predicted in the preseason, Gurley still dazzled with 131 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries, giving him a two-game total this season of 329 yards on a whopping 9.4 yards per carry while crossing into the end zone five times. The question moving forward is not if Gurley can keep terrorizing defenses - that seems like a certainty - but whether or not the Bulldogs can stay relevant in the SEC long enough for Gurley to keep pace with the favorites.

3. Kenny Hill, QB, Texas A&M -- Thankfully, the nation's gut reaction to compare everything Hill does on the field to his predecessor Johnny Manziel has subsided now that the current signal caller has proven just as capable of running the Aggies' high-octane offense. The QB continued to support his "Kenny Trill" nickname with another outstanding performance against Rice, completing 20-of-31 passes for 300 yards and four touchdowns while also showing flashes of his excellent rushing ability for the first time all season (five rushes, 38 yards). Hill's stock was also helped by South Carolina's win over Georgia, making his Week 1 performance against the Gamecocks all the more impressive. He ranks in the top-five nationally in passing yards (1,094) and touchdowns (11) and has yet to throw an interception. He will have another opportunity to pad his stats at SMU next week.

4. Everett Golson, QB, Notre Dame -- An obvious theme among the quarterbacks at the top of this list is dual-threat playmaking ability, a bill that Golson has no problem fitting. After another great performance over the weekend in a 30-14 victory over Purdue (259 passing yards, 56 rushing yards, three TDs), he now sits with 11 total scores in three games. It's a pace that's set to obliterate his previous high of 18 touchdowns in 2012, back when he led the Fighting Irish all the way to the BCS National Championship Game. Just as important as the touchdowns, however, are the lack of mistakes Golson has made, as he joins Mariota and Hill in having yet to toss an interception.

5. Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama -- I made my case for Cooper as Alabama's signature player in his debut on the list last week, and he continued to make my prognosis look good with another stellar receiving performance in the Crimson Tide's 52-12 victory over Southern Miss, as he caught eight balls for 135 yards and a touchdown for his third straight 100-yard performance (10th career). With a nation-leading 33 receptions for 454 yards, Cooper's on pace for a cool 143 catches and 1,967 yards. Nick Saban expressed some concern after the Southern Miss win, stating that regardless of Cooper's tremendous start, other playmakers need to step up around him. This is probably true, especially with Alabama's schedule ahead (starting next week versus Florida), but Cooper has proven capable of shouldering the load in the passing game.

6. Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State -- It certainly didn't help the reigning winner that the Seminoles had an early bye week, but luckily for Winston, no one has ever won the Heisman in September. With 626 passing yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions through two games, he's falling shy of the pace he set as a freshman in 2013, but there's little reason to worry just yet. Winston will have a golden opportunity to ascend in the ranks in primetime this week as he faces off against Clemson and one of the nation's premiere defenses.

7. Bryce Petty, QB, Baylor -- Petty's status for Friday night's contest at Buffalo was in question all week after missing the Sept. 6 matchup against Northwestern State with a couple of cracked vertebrae in his lower back. As vicious as that injury sounds, he was healthy enough to return to the field, and he was back to his old self in the 63-21 rout. In just three quarters of work, Petty completed 23-of-34 passes for 416 yards, the second-highest total of his career, while tossing four touchdowns and no picks. After showing no ill-effects from the nasty injury, Petty's Heisman campaign is back on track, and after a bye week, he and the Bears will dive into Big 12 action at Iowa State on Sept. 27, where another offensive explosion is expected.

8. Ameer Abdullah, RB, Nebraska -- Fair or not, Abdullah's stock took a tumble when Nebraska dropped out of the AP Top 25 after its nail-biting win versus an FCS opponent two weeks ago, but the Cornhuskers could be back in the national mix soon enough now that they are 3-0 following a dominant 55-19 triumph over Fresno State on Saturday. The win marked Abdullah's third straight noteworthy performance to open the season, turning 19 carries into 110 yards, including a 57-yard touchdown scamper, bringing his yearly totals to 396 rushing yards, 105 receiving yards and four scores. It doesn't hurt that the star tailback has full support from his university as well, as Nebraska has launched a viral #FearAmeer campaign for awards season.

9. Taysom Hill, QB, BYU -- The Cougars have generated a lot of buzz in the early going this season, especially since making their debut in the AP Poll at No. 25 last week, and driving the hype machine is their electric playmaker at quarterback. Hill is coming off his worst passing performance of the season in BYU's 33-25 win over Houston, as he completed 21-of-34 passes for 200 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions, but he made up for it by rushing for 160 yards and a score, giving him over 1,000 total yards in three games and 10 touchdowns (four passing, six rushing). Hill was a highlight-reel machine in 2013 as well (2,938 passing yards, 1,344 rushing yards, 29 TDs), but now the nation is starting to take notice, and a Jordan Lynch-like rise to stardom is certainly in the cards.

10. Dak Prescott, QB, Mississippi State -- The Bulldogs first three opponents this season have been far from intimidating (Southern Miss, UAB, South Alabama), but they have nonetheless emerged 3-0 while posting great offensive numbers (43.7 ppg, 526.7 ypg). Prescott has orchestrated this up-tempo attack nearly perfectly thus far by throwing for 696 yards with nine touchdowns and two interceptions while showing explosion on the ground with 273 rushing yards and two scores. MSU is a trendy dark horse pick in the SEC, and it'll be put to the test in its next three matchups against LSU, Texas A&M and Auburn. If it can somehow escape that stretch with a victory or two, you can bet Prescott's stock will soar in a hurry.

Dropped Out: Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin; Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA (injury).

Honorable Mention: Trevor Knight, QB, Oklahoma; James Conner, RB, Pittsburgh; Taylor Kelly, QB, Arizona State.