Since Jacquizz Rodgers' breakout freshman year in which he received Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year, thoughts of a potential Heisman Trophy campaign have surely been in the back of everyone's mind. Now, with two years, 2,693 yards, and 32 touchdowns already logged, Rodgers is looking to keep making waves nationally as an upperclassmen.
Here's a video Oregon State has produced, hoping to get the attention of Heisman voters:
Jacquizz is competing for an award that has been dominated--in recent years, especially-- by quarterbacks. Only two winners in the past ten years have been running backs: Mark Ingram, last year's winner, and Reggie Bush, who won the award in 2005.
Ingram won the award as a sophomore, rushing for 1,658 yards and 17 touchdowns during the year, as Alabama went undefeated and won the National Championship.
After opening the season with 150 yards and a touchdown at Virginia Tech, he had three straight games in which he rushed for under 100 yards. He was held under 100 yards in two other games during the year, most notably, a 30-yard performance at Auburn.
Reggie Bush rushed for 1,740 yards and 16 touchdowns the year he won the Heisman in 2005. He was held under 100 yards on five occasions, but most of those games were heavily lopsided, as USC went undefeated in the regular season. Bush rushed for only 82 yards in the BCS title game against Texas, but accumulated 95 receiving yards as well.
Quizz's stats, from the first two years:
All this goes to say, that in terms of pure statistics, Jacquizz is knocking on the door. His yards per carry went up from 2008 (4.8) to 2009 (5.3), as have his total carries, total yards, and touchdowns. Mike Riley and Danny Langsdorf are going to keep looking for ways to keep Quizz healthy, but still, they're going to have to put the ball in the hands of their best offensive weapon as much as they reasonably can.
With all that said, what do you think needs to happen for Jacquizz to become one of the top candidates for the award? Does it have to do more with his individual success, or the success of the team? Oregon State is not the national icon that a Texas, Alabama, or even an Oregon is-- so it seems that many things will have to go right for this to happen.
Not that this bears too much weight in the process, but Olympic Sportsbook recently released their pre-season Heisman odds:
Mark Ingram 350
Terrelle Pryor 500
Ryan Mallett 1000
Case Keenum 1200
Dion Lewis 1200
Jacory Harris 1200
John Clay 1200
Noel Devine 1200
Jake Locker 1200
Evan Royster 1200
Christian Ponder 1500
Andrew Luck 1500
DeMarco Murray 1500
Kellen Moore 1500
Damon Berry 1800
Matt Barkley 1800
Jacquizz Rodgers 2000
Garrett Gilbert 2500
LaMichael James 3000
Tate Forcier 3000
Landry Jones 4000
Blaine Gabbert 5000
Jerrod Johnson 5000
Jordan Todman 5000
Josh Nesbitt 5000
Robert Griffin 6000
Obviously, at first glance it seems like Quizz should be higher on this list.
What needs to happen to get him higher-- to make him a finalist come December? I think it needs to start out with a big game under the bright lights and ESPN cameras in Cowboy Stadium. Quizz can't afford to have a slow start to the season like a player from a bigger-name school can, so he needs to impress from week one.
ESPN will again be covering the Beavers in Boise, and the Louisville game has yet to be picked up.
In my opinion, anything Quizz does at the end of the year will be undermined if he can't get off to a fast start in non-conference.
The schedule is daunting, but everyone will be watching.
--Jake | (firstname.lastname@example.org)