3. QB Sam Ehlinger, Jr. Texas
Okay, so he’s sort of obvious after what he did against Georgia in the Sugar Bowl, but he’s still a few clicks below the Tagovailoas, Lawrences and Fromms of the Heisman world.
More of a Face of the Franchise type of candidate, he’s not going to throw for a million yards, but he was hardly bad last season with close to 3,300 yards and 25 touchdowns and just five picks.
Oh yeah, and he ran for 482 yards and turned into Tebow Lite with 16 tough guy scores. With Collin Johnson blowing off the NFL Draft to return as the star of a good receiving corps, and with enough on the O line to help barrel for the hard yards, Ehlinger should be able to take his stats to another level.
He’s vocal, he’ll a media presence all season long, and he’ll get his shot early on the take his campaign into hyperdrive with a date against LSU.
If he’s amazing against the Tigers, and if he can lead the Longhorns to a win over Oklahoma, the thing might be his by mid-October.
Who else could be a veteran team leader whose worth will go beyond the stats – but the stats will be good, too?
Alternative … QB Shea Patterson, Sr. Michigan
Michigan – considering it’s Michigan – might just fly a bit under the radar after the way last season ended. However, the Wolverines are going to a quicker passing offense, the receivers are there, and Patterson is a veteran triggerman coming off a 2,600-yard, 22 touchdown season. The stats will be there, but all that matters is going 11-1 with a win over Ohio State on the way to the Big Ten Championship.