2015 Heisman Trophy tracker, preseason edition: Hill, Booker and Keeton primed for big senior years

Posted: August 23, 2015 in BYU, BYU Cougars, BYU football, football, NCAA, rankings, sports, Taysom Hill
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Even though the college football season is just around the corner, the hype has already started for who will be the next Heisman Trophy winner. While the last two winners are off to the National Football League, there are plenty of returning stars who are ready to step up and place their names in contention for the biggest individual prize in college football.

Here is a preseason look at the best options for the 2015 Heisman Trophy.

Chuckie Keeton, quarterback, senior, Utah State

Keeton is back on the field for his senior season looking to bounce back from two injury shortened years. He played just three games in 2014 before his season came to an end. If he can return to the form he had during his sophomore year, he could lead the Aggies to new heights.

For his Utah State career, he had completed 65.4 percent of his passes for 6,387 yards and 58 touchdowns to go along with 1,234 yards and 15 scores in the running game.

KD Cannon, wide receiver, sophomore, Baylor

Cannon is an impressive talent who should improve on a stellar freshman campaign. In 2014, he had six game of at least six catches and four games of more than 100 yards. His best game came in a 70-6 win over Northwestern State when he caught six passes for 223 yards and three scores.

On the season, he had 58 receptions for 1030 yards and eight touchdowns.

Cayleb Jones, wide receiver, junior, Arizona

Jones was one of the biggest weapons in the Wildcats high-powered attack in 2014. He had five games with at least seven catches and four game of more than 100 yards. His best game came in a 49-45 win over California when he caught 13 receptions for 186 yards and three touchdowns.

For the season, he had 73 receptions for 1,019 yards and nine touchdowns.

Royce Freeman, running back, sophomore, Oregon

Although he wasn’t at his best during the final four games, Freeman had a standout freshman season. His best game came in a 45-20 win over Washington when he totaled 169 yards and four touchdowns on 29 carries.

For the year, he registered 252 carries for 1,365 yards and 18 touchdowns to go along with 16 catches for 158 yards an another score.

Kareem Hunt, running back, junior, Toledo

Even though he only played in 10 games as a sophomore, Hunt put up some of the best numbers in all of college football in 2014. He finished third nationally in rushing yards per game and second in yards per carry. His best performance came in the 63-44 win over Arkansas State when he managed 32 carries for 271 yards and five touchdowns.

On the season, he finished with 1,631 yards and 16 touchdowns on 205 carries.

Josh Doctson, running back, senior, TCU

After two solid seasons to start his Horned Frogs career, Doctson took a huge step forward in 2014. He had six games with at least six catches and three games of more than 100 yards. His best showing came in a 42-9 win over Oklahoma State when he caught seven passes for 225 yards and two touchdowns.

For the season, he had 65 receptions for 1,018 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Paul Perkins, running back, senior, UCLA

Perkins was one of the best running backs in a loaded Pac-12 conference. His best game came in the 40-35 Alamo Bowl win over Kansas State when he had 20 carries for 194 yards and two touchdowns.

On the season, he carried the ball 251 times for 1,575 yards and nine touchdowns to go along with 26 receptions for 201 yards and two more scores.

Devon Johnson, running back, senior, Marshall

Even though he struggled with some injuries, Johnson had a big junior year for the Thundering Herd. He finished sixth in the nation in rushing yards and first in yards per carry. His best showing came in a 35-16 win over Florida Atlantic when he carried the ball 24 times for 272 yards and four touchdowns.

On the season, he had 206 carries for 1,767 yards and 17 touchdowns to go along with six catches for 121 yards and two scores.

Gunner Kiel, quarterback, junior, Cincinnati

Kiel had a big sophomore campaign for the Bearcats. He had six games with at least three touchdown passes and four games with more than 350 yards passing. One of his best games came in the 58-34 win over Toledo when he threw for 418 yards and six touchdowns.

For the season, he completed 59.7 percent of his throws for 3,254 yards and 31 touchdowns.

Nelson Spruce, wide receiver, senior, Colorado

Spruce was one of a few bright spots in an otherwise miserable season for the Buffalos in 2014. He had 10 games with at least six catches and five games of more than 100 yards. His best game came in a 59-56 overtime loss to California when he caught 19 passes for 179 yards and three touchdowns.

For the season, he had 106 receptions for 1,198 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Pharoh Cooper, wide receiver, junior, South Carolina

Cooper had a breakout season for the Gamecocks in 2014. He had five games of at least six receptions and four games of more than 100 yards. His best performance came in a 45-42 overtime loss to Tennessee when he caught 11 passes for 233 yards and two touchdowns.

For the season, he totaled 69 catches for 1,136 yards and nine scores.

Derrick Henry, running back, junior, Alabama

Henry doesn’t have to contend with T.J. Yeldon for touches in the backfield anymore and that will do wonders for his already impressive totals. His best performance in 2014 came in the 42-13 SEC championship game win over Missouri when he had 20 carries for 141 yards and two touchdowns.

For the season, he carried the ball 172 times for 990 yards and 11 touchdowns to go along with five receptions for 133 yards and two more scores.

Sterling Shepard, wide receiver, senior, Oklahoma

Shepard was in the middle of a huge season before an injury limited the rest of the year. He had five games with at least five catches and 100 yards. One of his best games came in the 37-33 loss to TCU when he caught seven passes for 215 yards and a touchdown.

For the season, he had 51 receptions for 970 yards and five touchdowns.

Corey Davis, wide receiver, junior, Western Michigan

Davis has had two fantastic years for the Broncos. In 2014, he had eight games with at least six catches and crossed the 100-yard mark eight times. His most productive game of the year came in a 42-21 win over Ohio when he caught nine passes for 212 yards and two touchdowns.

For the season, he had 78 receptions for 1,408 yards and 15 touchdowns.

Corey Clement, running back, junior, Wisconsin

It didn’t take a ton of touches to realize that Clement has the skill-set to be a star for the Badgers. His best game came in a 38-28 win over Illinois when he had 13 carries for 164 yards and a touchdown.

For the season, he had 147 carries for 949 yards and nine touchdowns to go along with 14 catches for 119 yards and two more scores. Not bad for a guy who was playing behind Melvin Gordon.

Jared Goff, quarterback, junior, Cal

Goff was one of the elite signal callers in the Pac-12 in 2014. He had seven games with at least 300 yards and passing and seven games with at least three touchdown passes. One of his best games came in a 60-59 win over Washington State when he threw for 527 yards and five touchdowns.

For the season, he completed 62.1 percent of his passes for 3,973 and 35 touchdowns.

Brandon Doughty, quarterback, senior, Western Kentucky

Doughty had a breakout season in 2014. He led the country in passing touchdowns and passing yards to win the Sammy Baugh Trophy as the most outstanding passer in college football. He had nine games with at least three touchdowns and 10 games with at least 300 yards passing. One of his best games came in a 59-31 win over Bowling Green when he threw for 569 yards and six touchdowns.

For the season, he completed 67.9 percent of his passes for 4,830 yards and 49 touchdowns to go along with two rushing scores.

Leonard Fournette, running back, sophomore, LSU 

While his freshman campaign was solid, Fournette showed glimpses of what kind of star-power he possesses during the last two games of the year. His most impressive showing came in the 31-28 loss to Notre Dame in the Music City Bowl when he had 11 carries for 143 yards and two touchdowns.

On the season, he finished with 1.034 yards and 10 touchdowns on 187 carries to go along with seven receptions for 127 yards.

Tyler Boyd, wide receiver, junior, Pittsburgh

Boyd enters the season coming off back-to-back 1,000-yard receiving years. He finished 2014 with one double figure game in catches and five games were he had at least 125 yards receiving. One of his best games of his sophomore year came in a 40-35 loss to North Carolina when he caught five passes for 160 yards and a touchdown.

On the season, he caught 78 passes for 1,261 yards and eight touchdowns.

Devontae Booker, running back, senior, Utah

Booker was the perfect fit for a Utah offense that was looking for an identity. After splitting touched for the first three games of the year, he got to carry the load and great things happened. His best showing came in a 29-23 double-overtime win over Oregon State when he totaled 32 carries for 229 yards and three touchdowns.

On the season, he carried the ball 292 times for 1,512 yards and 10 touchdowns to go along with 43 receptions for 306 yards and two more scores.

William Fuller, wide receiver, junior, Notre Dame

Although the Irish struggled down the stretch, Fuller had a monster sophomore season. He had seven games with at least six catches and four games of more than 100 yards. His best game came in a 43-40 overtime loss to Northwestern when he had nine receptions for 159 yards and three touchdowns.

For the season, he caught 76 passes for 1,094 yards and 15 touchdowns.

Connor Cook, quarterback, senior,  Michigan State

Cook had another big year as the Spartans starter in 2014. He had three games with three touchdown passes and four more games with at least 300 yards passing. One of his best games came in 56-17 win over Indiana when he completed 75 percent of his passes for 332 yards and three touchdowns.

For the season, he completed 58.1 percent of his throws for 3,214 yards and 24 touchdowns.

Corey Coleman, wide receiver, junior, Baylor

Even though he missed the first three games of the year, Coleman still managed to make a huge impact in the Baylor passing game as a sophomore. He had five games with at least six receptions and five games of more than 140 yards receiving. His best game came in a 48-14 demolition of Oklahoma when he caught 15 passes for 224 yards and a touchdown.

For the season, he totaled 64 catches for 1,119 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Seth Russell, quarterback, junior, Baylor

Russell had some very impressive showings in limited action playing behind Bryce Petty and has the wide receivers to put up some massive numbers. His best game in 2014 came in a 70-6 win over Northwestern State when he threw for 438 yards and five touchdowns.

For the season, he completed 56.5 percent of his passes for 804 yards and eight touchdowns to go along with 185 yards and three scores on the ground.

Deshaun Watson, quarterback, sophomore, Clemson

Watson showed some remarkable talent in limited action in 2014. He had four games with at least three touchdowns and four games with more than 250 passing yards. One of his best games came in a 50-35 win over North Carolina when he threw for 435 yards and six touchdowns.

For the season, he completed 67.9 percent of his throws for 1,466 yards and 14 touchdowns to go along with 200 yards and five scores in the running game.

Taysom Hill, quarterback, senior, BYU

Hill was in the middle of a fantastic junior year when he was knocked out for the season in a loss to the Utah State Aggies. He had five games with at least two touchdowns and two games with at least 350 yards. His best showing came in a 35-10 win over Connecticut when he threw for 308 yards and three touchdowns to go along with 97 yards and two scores on the ground.

For the season, he completed 66.7 percent of his passes for 975 yards and seven touchdowns as well as 460 yards and eight scores in the running game.

Scooby Wright, linebacker, junior, Arizona

Wright had an incredible sophomore season for the Wildcats. He was the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, a consensus All-American and won the Bronko Nagurski (most outstanding defensive player), Chuck Bednarik (defensive player of the year) and Vince Lombardi (lineman of the year) Awards, according to Sports-reference.com. He led the nation in total tackles (163), tackles for loss (29) and forced fumbles (6) while finishing fourth in the country with 14 sacks.

James Conner, running back, junior, Pittsburgh

Conner is a big, bruising back who put up huge performances all season long. He finished seventh in the nation in rushing yards and third in rushing touchdowns. His best showing came in a 51-48 double-overtime loss to Duke when he had 38 carries for 263 yards and three touchdowns.

For the season, he carried the ball 298 times for 1,765 yards and 26 touchdowns.

Samaje Perine, running back, sophomore, Oklahoma

Perine wasn’t very consistent as a freshman, but when he had it going, he was hard to tackle. He finished eighth in the nation in both rushing yards and rushing touchdowns. His best game came in a 44-7 win over Kansas when he broke the FCS single-game rushing record with 427 yards and five touchdowns on 34 carries.

For the season, he carried the ball 263 times for 1,713 yards and 21 touchdowns.

Dak Prescott, quarterback, senior, Mississippi State

Prescott carried the Bulldogs to a terrific season and plenty of national attention in 2014. He had nine games with at least three touchdowns, seven games with at least 250 passing yards and four games with more than 100 yards rushing. One of his best games came in a 34-29 win over LSU when he threw for 268 yards and two touchdowns to go along with 105 yards and a score on the ground.

For the season, he completed 61.6 percent of his passes for 3,449 yards and 27 touchdowns. He added 986 yards and 14 scores in the running game.

Rashard Higgins, wide receiver, junior, Colorado State

Higgins was on our Heisman Trophy watch list for most of the 2014 season because of his exceptional play. He finished his sophomore campaign with 10 100-yard receiving games and five games with at least 10 receptions. His best game came in a 42-17 win over Tulsa when he caught six passes for 178 yards and four touchdowns.

On the season, he caught 96 passes for 1,750 yards and 17 touchdowns.

Nick Chubb, running back, sophomore, Georgia

Few expected the kind of success that Chubb had in the Georgia backfield in 2014. After he saw limited action to start the season playing behind Todd Gurley, Chubb got his chance and took full advantage. His most impressive showing of the season came in the 37-14 over Louisville in the Belk Bowl when he had 266 yards and two touchdowns on 33 carries.

On the season, he totaled 219 carries for 1,547 yards and 14 touchdowns to go along with 18 catches for 213 yards and two more scores.

Ezekiel Elliott, running back, junior, Ohio State

While all the hype surrounded the Ohio State quarterbacks during the 2014 campaign, Elliott quietly stepped up and had a terrific season. He finished third in the nation in rushing yards and eighth in yards per carry. His best game of the year came in the 42-20 win over Oregon in the National Championship when he rushed for 246 yards and four touchdowns.

For the season, he finished with 273 carries for 1,878 yards and 18 touchdowns to go along with 28 receptions for 220 yards.

Cardale Jones, quarterback, junior, Ohio State

Jones made a huge impact during his three games as the Buckeyes’ starter on the way to a national championship. His best showing came in a 59-0 win over Wisconsin for the Big 10 championship when he threw for 257 yards and three touchdowns.

For the season, he completed 60.9 percent of his throws for 860 yards and seven touchdowns to go long with 296 yards and another score.

J.T. Barrett, quarterback, sophomore, Ohio State

Barrett had a tremendous freshman campaign before an injury ended his year. He had seven games with at least four touchdowns and four games with more than 300 yards passing. One of his best games came in a 66-0 win over Kent State when he threw for 312 yards and six touchdowns.

For the season, he completed 64.7 percent of his throws for 2,834 yards and 34 touchdowns to go along with 938 yards and 11 scores on the ground.

Cody Kessler, quarterback, senior, USC

Kessler became one of the elite signal callers in the country in 2014. He had six games with at least four touchdowns and seven games with more than 300 yards passing. One of his best games came in a 49-14 win over Notre Dame when he threw for 372 yards and six touchdowns.

For the season, he completed 69.7 percent of his throws for 3,826 yards and 39 touchdowns.

Trevone Boykin, quarterback, senior, TCU

Boykin was one of the most productive signal callers in the nation in 2014. He had three games with at least 400 yards passing and three more games with more than 300 yards. One of his best performances came in an 82-27 win over Texas Tech when he threw for 433 yards and seven touchdowns.

For the season, he completed 61.2 percent of his passes for 3,901 yards and 33 touchdowns to go along with 707 yards and eight scores on the ground.

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