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Jacquizz Rodgers, Heisman Trophy Finalist: What Needs to Happen?

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 | (