Heisman Hunt: Don't Forget About Backs
By Eric Russell
Since Ricky Williams and Ron Dayne won back-to-back Heisman Trophies in 1998-99, only one running back has won the award (not counting Reggie Bush, who was forced to return his Heisman).
It's not likely that the trend of quarterbacks winning the award will change this season, but there are a few guys who should get serious consideration for the award. Three running backs stand out so far as potential factors in the Heisman race.
Melvin Gordon has gotten off to a phenomenal start for the Wisconsin Badgers. Fans should've seen the productivity coming after he rushed for 621 yards on 62 carries in 2012 while backing up Montee Ball and James White. After rushing for 10 yards per carry last season, Gordon again is close to that figure. He has rushed for 1,012 yards and found the end zone 10 times.
Gordon will look pile on more big numbers when his team takes on Iowa — to which he verbally committed before choosing Wisconsin. The Hawkeyes do have the 24th-ranked rush defense.
Another back who has collected big gains is Lache Seastrunk. Baylor's top back only has 96 carries, but he's closing on 900 rushing yards. The Bears have a good balance going on offense. Fellow Heisman candidate Bryce Petty has the passing game flowing well, which will only help Seastrunk down the stretch. The junior running back will get three straight chances to prove himself in big games. Baylor will welcome Oklahoma and Texas Tech before traveling to play Oklahoma State. Seastrunk can not only make his case for the Heisman trophy he predicted in December, but he can also help his team's Big 12 and BCS chances.
Boston College running back Andre Williams doesn't have a gaudy rushing average, but he has been Boston College's best player. He has 1,010 yards and eight touchdowns so far. Williams already has shown he can run against a tough defense when he went for 149 yards against Florida State. He also has two 200-yard games.
Williams may not have the numbers to hang around the Heisman conversation at the end of the season, but he hasn't disappointed so far this season.