10. DAK PRESCOTT, QB, MISSISSIPPI STATE
Every season sees someone emerge as the September of October Heisman: a player who garners the lion’s share of buzz for the first month or two, but either because of injury, his own decline in production or his team faltering, falls out of the race.
This was Dak Prescott in 2014.
Prescott’s slide from Heisman front-runner to also-ran was due more to Mississippi State declining down the stretch than anything Prescott did specifically. With the Bulldogs losing a ton of talent off of last year’s lineup that flirted with an SEC championship, it’s unlikely Prescott will return to that Heisman front-running place he once occupied.
Nevertheless, entering the 2015 season as the SEC’s best returning quarterback warrants inclusion in the Top 10 — at least, for now.
9. ROYCE FREEMAN, RB, OREGON
Oregon’s potent offense relies heavily on a multifaceted run game, so powerful No. 1 back Royce Freeman typically won’t see the same number of carries as other featured ball-carriers around college football.
Still, past Oregon feature backs Kenjon Barner and LaMichael James put up Heisman-worthy statistics while sharing the workload. James was a finalist in 2010 and very well could have been again in 2011, despite missing time to injury.
Freeman’s capable of putting up Heisman numbers even with a solid No. 2 sharing carries, but Thomas Tyner’s shoulder surgery likely ups the sophomore’s touches in the coming season.