After each week, I’ll take a look at the top five Heisman Contenders inside the Big 12 Conference. I’ll look at their stock week to week, give them a letter grade, and post it on every Tuesday.
1. Geno Smith – QB – West Virginia – A+
For the West Virginia quarterback, he picked up right where he left off. In Geno Smith’s last four quarters (dating back to the 2012 Discover Orange Bowl) of football he’s thrown for 730 yards and 10 touchdowns. Smith looks more comfortable than ever before. He understands the simplicities and complexities of Dana Holgorsen’s offense. The encouraging notion for Smith is that he found seven different receivers during Saturday’s game against Marshall. Also factor in how many school records Geno Smith will break this season. On Saturday he broke the all-time WVU completion record and is just 373 yards shy of breaking Marc Bulger’s WVU school passing yard record.
2. Landry Jones – QB – Oklahoma – B-
(Passing: 21/36, 222 yards, 2 TD’s; Rushing: -19 yards @ UTEP)
Oklahoma really came out flat in their game at UTEP, and Jones was part of that. Despite coming out a little sluggish, Jones was able to connect with Kenny Stills for a long 68-yard touchdown as well as hit Brannon Green for an 18-yard strike. Jones has to overcome a makeshift offensive line that gave up three sacks. Jones has to be given a little more time so that he can get in sync with some of his youngest target, Trey Metoyer and the Penn State transfer, Justin Brown.
3. Tavon Austin – WR – West Virginia – A-
(Rushing: 3 carries, 66 yards; Receiving: 10 catches, 53 yards, 1 TD vs. Marshall)
In terms of an all-purpose type Heisman candidate, Tavon Austin, is by far and away the nation’s top guy. Austin proved that on Saturday churning in 173 All-purpose yards. Austin is a dynamic player, and Dana Holgorsen wants to put the ball in his hands. He called Austin’s number on a jet sweep play, as well as a reverse. Austin can make people miss. The only area where Austin may have to do some work is in the punt return game, he did drop a punt on Saturday.
4. Nick Florence – QB – Baylor – A-
(Passing: 21/30, 341 yards, 4 TD’s; Rushing: 24 yards vs. SMU)
Wow, Baylor looks like they haven’t skipped a beat and it’s because of Nick Florence. The Bears quarterback looked outstanding, finding eight different targets during Sunday’s blowout win against SMU. Florence has a deep receiving core led by Terence Williams and Lenear Sampson. If Florence looks as calm and collective as he did on Sunday, Baylor may find themselves in more games than even they though. If Baylor gets to about eight or nine wins it’ll be because Florence is leading the offense efficiently.
5. Joseph Randle – RB – Oklahoma State – B+
(Rushing: 6 carries, 107 yards, 2 TD’s)
Randle might have been higher on this list if he would have played past the first quarter. But with an 84-0 blowout win, doesn’t really give a good idea as to where a guy should be in this kind of list. Needless to say, Randle did average 17.8 yards a carry which is good against any competition. It’ll be interesting to see how Randle and the Cowboys fare this week against a tougher Arizona team.
Just Missed the Cut:
Collin Klein – Kansas State; Stedman Bailey – West Virginia; John Hubert – Kansas State; Jeremy Smith – Oklahoma State; Joe Bergeron – Texas