Tag Archive | Johnny Manziel

2015 NFL Mock Draft 1.0

By Ryan Crawford

The hot commodities of this draft include the two intriguing quarterbacks, two high level running backs, a batch of very good interior defensive linemen, three dynamite edge rushers and a group of wide receivers that just might rival last years extraordinary crop. Here’s my initial mock draft for 2015. There’s sure to be many changes before long.

1. TAMPA BAY BUCS – Jameis Winston – QB – Florida State
Lovie Smith and the Bucs badly need a franchise quarterback and Jameis Winston can be that guy. Questions about his maturity and too many interceptions are the major red flags. I think the Bucs jump at the opportunity to snag such a high level QB prospect and hope the potential problems work themselves out.
 
2. TENNESSEE TITANS – Leonard Williams – DT – USC
I do not think the Titans are enamored with developing Marcus Mariota at QB. Williams might be the top talent in the draft and fills a huge need in the middle of the Titans defensive line.

3. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS – Randy Gregory-OLB- Nebraska
Jaguars are looking to upgrade on defense and Gregory is a stud.

4. OAKLAND RAIDERS – Amari Cooper-WR-Alabama
Take your choice between Cooper, White, Parker etc. but there is a clear need at the receiver position and the Raiders will have plenty to choose from. Cooper seems to be the cream of the crop.

5. WASHINGTON REDSKINS – Landon Collins – S- Alabama
Best safety in the draft fills a huge void for the Redskins.

6. NEW YORK JETS – Dante Fowler – DE/OLB – Florida
Bigtime explosive pass rusher is a welcome gift for the defensive minded new head coach Todd Bowles.

7. CHICAGO BEARS – Shane Ray – DE – Missouri
Watching the Bears play defense last season was somewhat frightening for Bears fans. Ray is a pure pass rusher who should put some pressure on opposing quarterbacks.

8. ATLANTA FALCONS – Danny Shelton -DT- Washington
Another team with a bad defense…seeing a trend down here? Danny Shelton was a monster at the senior bowl and should anchor the middle of the Falcons line for years.

9. NEW YORK GIANTS – Brandon Scherff- OT- Iowa
The Giants most important job is to keep Eli Manning upright so he is able to get the ball to Odell Beckham Jr, Victor Cruz and Ruben Randle. This load should help accomplish that goal.

10. ST LOUIS RAMS – Marcus Mariota- QB- Oregon
Rams are thrilled to see Mariota drop into their laps and will jump at the chance to replace the often injured and highly paid Sam Bradford

Could Marcus Mariota slip to the Rams at 10?

Could Marcus Mariota slip to the Rams at 10? (Via SportsChat)

11. MINNESOTA VIKINGS – Kevin White – WR- West Virginia
White ran a 4.35 at the combine. At 6’3″ with top flight speed, he can be a dynamic weapon for Teddy Bridgewater

12. CLEVELAND BROWNS – Devante Parker- WR- Louisville
Parker is another top weapon to be contended with and the Browns have major concerns at the wide receiver spot with Josh Gordon being a major question mark.

13. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS – Vic Beasley-DE-Clemson
Beasley is a prolific pass rusher who will be called upon to play OLB because of his size. Certainly the Saints will require some defense sooner or later. Had a great combine.

14. MIAMI DOLPHINS – Ereck Flowers- OT- Miami
Another massive body in front of Ryan Tannehill could be just what the doctor ordered for the Dolphins.

15. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS – Arik Armstead –DE/DT-Oregon
New coach, new ideas but there will be a big need to retool the ferocious 49ers defense and Armstead is a mountain of a man for the defensive line.

16. HOUSTON TEXANS – Andrus Peat – OT- Stanford
The Texans need to build up their offensive line and Peat is great place to start

17. SAN DIEGO CHARGERS – Eddie Goldman- DT- Florida State
With all the weapons they have on offense, the Chargers can use a little defense and this guy is a force in the middle of a four man front

18 KANSAS CITY CHIEFS – Dorial Green Beckham- WR- Missouri
Green-Beckham is just one of those guys who could not seem to find his niche in college but oozes talent. The Chiefs are a team that had no touchdowns last year from a wide receiver. Seems like a match to me.

19. CLEVELAND BROWNS – TJ Clemmings- OT- Pittsburgh
The Browns continue to build up their offense. Now if they can only figure out the quarterback situation then they can start to move the team forward.

20. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES – Trae Waynes – CB – Michigan St
Not sure how I got Waynes to drop down this far, especially after he ran a 4.30 in the combine, but the Eagles would be thrilled if he did and snatch him up quickly.

21. CINCINNATI BENGALS – Bud Dupree- DE/OLB- Kentucky
Called a physical freak of nature, this future NFL edge rusher will help the Bengals defense immensely. Ran a 4.56 in the 40 yard dash and has a 42 inch vertical leap and did a 138 inch broad jump. All while weighing in at 270 lbs. Oh My!!

22. PITTSBURGH STEELERS – Malcolm Brown- DT- Texas
A mountain for the middle of the Steeler defensive line.

23. DETROIT LIONS – LaEl Collins – OT – LSU
The Lions have a few holes on their offensive line and Collins looks like he’ll be a pretty good one. At 6’5″ and 322 lbs, he projects at left tackle.

24. ARIZONA CARDINALS – Jaelen Strong- WR- Arizona State
At 6’4″, this blazer is another stud in the crop of highly sought after receivers. A local product, the Cards are thrilled to scoop him up at 24.

25. CAROLINA PANTHERS – Marcus Peters – CB- Washington
Regarded as the number two cornerback in the entire draft, Peters is a very physical corner who fills a major need for the Panthers.

26. BALTIMORE RAVENS – Melvin Gordon-RB-Wisconsin
The Ravens are in dire need of a top flight running back and Gordon is considered the best of a strong group.

27. DALLAS COWBOYS – Maxx Williams- TE – Minnesota
The heir apparent to Jason Witten, the Cowboys are on the lookout for a young tight end that they can develop. Williams has great hands and top speed. Reminds some of a young Jeremy Shockey.

28. DENVER BRONCOS – Devin Funchess- WR- Michigan
Broncos are in salary cap dilemmas with the Thomas boys. If they franchise Demaryius Thomas, they might lose Julius Thomas. Either way they should be in the market for a pass catching tight end with speed to play receiver and Funchess certainly fits the description.

29. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS – Cedric Ogbuhei- OT- Texas A & M
When you have a quarterback with the ability of an Andrew Luck, you must wisely do anything and everything to protect him. A big tackle helps and Ogbuhei oozes with potential.

30. GREEN BAY PACKERS – Denzel Perryman – ILB – Miami
The Packers just released veteran A.J.Hawk and Perryman is a highly regarded prospect who could step into that inside linebacker role.

31. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS – Kevin Johnson- CB- Wake Forest
The Legion of Boom was a little banged up by the end of the season and with Byron Maxwell slated for free agency, a young corner might be just what the doctor ordered.

32. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS – Mike Bennett – DT- Ohio State
Another big body for the defensive front should help the Patriots continue to dominate the NFL.

Other Potential 1st Round Picks

Todd Gurley- RB- Georgia
Trey Flowers – DE- Arkansas
Shaq Thompson- OLB – Washington
Eli Harold- DE- Virginia
Breshad Perriman- WR- Central Florida
Quinten Rollins – CB- Miami (Ohio)

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Johnny Who? Browns Should Stick with Hoyer at Quarterback

By Alex Horowitz

He has never started a professional football game. He has thrown nine total pass attempts, only one of which was a touchdown. And yet when Johnny Manziel entered the game for the Cleveland Browns last Sunday, you would’ve thought he was the second coming of Peyton Manning, based on the reaction of football fans around the nation. “Johnny Football” is more so known for his off-the-field life rather than his football skill, but nowadays that is what captivates people; it’s like the whole Tim Tebow mania from 2011.

 

Sure, he was a Heisman award winner at Texas A&M, but even two years later he still is one of the more popular players in the National Football League. In this age of Twitter and other types of social media, our society has become fascinated with his “fun” lifestyle, for lack of a better term. While he parties frequently and has been arrested on multiple occasions, this should not impact his talent as a quarterback in the least; the hype has already been bought into though. Cleveland is strongly considering starting Manziel next Sunday versus Indianapolis, but they would be incredibly foolish to do so. Simply put, Manziel has not learned the ropes yet to succeed in this brutal league.

 

Normally, a young quarterback would need to prove himself over a fairly long period of time in order to win the starting job. In the case of Manziel, what has he done to boost his on-field resume? A 10-yard rushing touchdown started a comeback effort last week, but ultimately the Browns fell short. However, this literally was his only positive play of the season. The majority of his time has been spent on the sideline, learning the ropes from the coaching staff and incumbent starter Brian Hoyer. That’s not to say this experience is not beneficial, because there definitely is value in learning from a seasoned veteran. But the mental side is only half the battle. Having the ability to hit open receivers and escape pressure is an entire challenge in an itself, and one that Manziel is not ready for at this current time- no matter what the media or anyone else makes you believe.

The Manziel Hoyer controversy has Cleveland on the edge of its seat (Via AP)

The Manziel Hoyer controversy has Cleveland on the edge of its seat (Via AP)

Brian Hoyer certainly is not one of the top quarterbacks in today’s game. His 46.67 total quarterback rating this season ranks 28th among all qualified quarterbacks. Only a handful of signal callers are worse than him in that regard. He has not had much to work with though. His leading receiver, Josh Gordon, was suspended for the first ten weeks, and Cleveland’s running backs have posted the fifth-worst yards-per-carry average league wide. These excuses aside, Hoyer has led the Browns to a 7-5 start, which is the most important statistic of them all. His team is in the thick of the AFC playoff race, something even the most optimistic of fans would have been skeptical of months ago.

 

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. This will be a tough concept for Browns fans to accept, but unless they want to be heartbroken yet again, Johnny Manziel must continue to remain the backup quarterback. If the team decides otherwise, then another chapter of disappointment will be added to Cleveland sports lore. Unlike “The Drive”, “The Shot”, or “The Fumble”, this curse will be much more straightforward.

 

“Johnny Football”

 


Alex Horowitz is a senior at Briarcliff High School and is an aspiring sports writer. As a lifelong sports fan, he has rooted for the New York Knicks, New York Mets, and Detroit Lions. You can follow him on Twitter @alexhorowitz3

Studs and Duds: NFL Week 13

By Brett Malamud

Here’s week 13’s edition of Studs and Duds:

Stud: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Houston Texans 

Fitzpatrick had a great day on Sunday, throwing six touchdowns and 358 yards in Houston’s rout of the Titans.

Dud: Cleveland Quarterbacks

Down in the fourth quarter, the Browns brought Johnny Manziel into replace Brian Hoyer. Manziel rushed for a touchdown and in doing so, sparked some controversy in Cleveland. After announcing that Hoyer will start this weekend against the Colts, be sure that Johnny Football fans will be outraged for no good reason at a team that still has a winning record.

Stud: DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans

Hauling in most of Fitzpatrick’s throws was DeAndre Hopkins, who had 238 receiving yards and two touchdowns.

Dud: Jets antics

The Jets are in a bad place right now. It was reported last week that head coach Rex Ryan was forced by the “higher ups” in the Jets organization to start Geno Smith at quarterback on Monday night against the Dolphins. Then the antics continued when the Jets announced the entire offense on the PA system, but didn’t announce Geno Smith. The speculation is that the Jets tried to avoid fans booing Smith.

Rex Ryan was forced to start Geno Smith this week. (Via AP)

Rex Ryan was forced to start Geno Smith this week. (Via AP)

Stud: Tre Mason, St. Louis Rams

Mason was great on the ground and in the air. He finished with 117 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Mason also added 47 receiving yards and a receiving touchdown.

Dud: Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys 

Romo didn’t throw a touchdown pass, but did throw two interceptions. He also threw for just 199 yards.

Stud: Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints

Brees hit nine different receivers in route to his 257 yards, five touchdown passing performance.

Dud: Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers

Kaepernick couldn’t handle the Seattle defense. He threw for just 121 yards and no touchdowns. He also threw a pair of interceptions in the 49ers Thanksgiving loss to the Seahawks.


Brett Malamud is a Computer Science Major at Binghamton University. He is the co-founder of dabuzzza.com. His favorite athletes are Derek Jeter and Todd Bertuzzi. You can follow him on twitter at @brettnyy

2014 Mock Draft 1.0

By Ryan Crawford

Let me start off by saying this is a very interesting draft. While there are multiple Quarterbacks that everyone talks about, I don’t think they are on a level with many of the QB’s that have been top ten picks in the past. Of course the teams that generally need Quarterbacks reside in the top ten. You would expect some of those teams to trade down for some additional value but I don’t anticipate the teams looking to move up paying a steep price to move. Teams generally overpay for franchise QB’s and these guys don’t fit that description. Don’t expect teams to jump up for the strength of this draft, which are Wide Receivers, Tackles and a couple of Defensive studs at the top. The result will be a cat and mouse game and alot of picks that people will be shocked at, both high and low. It will be one of the hardest drafts in years to predict. Good luck to the experts on this one. Should be a lot of fun…

1. HOUSTON TEXANS- Jadaveon Clowney-DL- South Carolina

Texans need a QB but not at #1. Clowney is still the best player in the draft.

Amid all of the hype for other players this season, expect Clowney's name to be called first at the NFL Draft (Via US Presswire)

Amid all of the hype for other players this season, expect Clowney’s name to be called first at the NFL Draft (Via US Presswire)

2. ST. LOUIS RAMS- Greg Robinson- Tackle- Auburn

This guy is a mountain with huge upside. I expected Rams to try to trade down but the price might not be worth it if someone is not coming up to get a QB or Clowney.

3. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS- Khalil Mack-OLB- Buffalo

The Jags need a QB bad and if they jump it would probably be Bortles but I think they wait till later rounds to grab the QB and keep building their defense.

4. CLEVELAND BROWNS- Sammy Watkins-WR-Clemson

Another QB needy team that will wait till later. Any QB coming in to a situation with Josh Gordon and this stud receiver will look better anyway.

5. OAKLAND RAIDERS- Jake Matthews- Tackle- Texas A & M

If Al Davis were alive, this pick would have Johnny Manziel written all over it. Does anyone ever really know what the Raiders will do? Matthews is the smart pick for a team in need of protection up front.

6. ATLANTA FALCONS- Taylor Lewan- Tackle- Michigan

The Falcons need linemen to protect Matty Ice and Lewan is the third tackle off the board early.

7. TAMPA BAY BUCS- Darqueze Dennard- CB- Michigan State

Defense, Defense, Defense for new coach Lovie Smith as the Bucs secure one of the top corners in the draft.

8. MINNESOTA VIKINGS- Blake Bortles-QB-UCF

Vikings sit tight and grab the only QB they really wanted for new coach Mike Zimmer.

9. BUFFALO BILLS- Eric Ebron- TE- North Carolina

Bills snag a big time weapon for second year QB EJ Manuel.

10. DETROIT LIONS- Mike Evans- WR- Texas A&M

Could go corner here but teaming Evans with Megatron makes too much sense and scares the heck out of opposing secondarys.

11. TENNESSEE TITANS- Justin Gilbert- CB- Oklahoma State

With the secondary defections in free agency, a big need for Titans is filled with this pick.

12. NEW YORK GIANTS- Anthony Barr- OLB- UCLA

Giants are in need of strong defenders and haven’t had a linebacker with this much potential in years.

13. ST LOUIS RAMS- Ha Ha Clinton Dix- S- Alabama

If the Rams can’t trade down off the 2nd pick, look for them to trade down here to add more picks later on. If they use the pick, a good safety is a big need and Dix is one of the top two. Calvin Pryor also a strong possibility

14. CHICAGO BEARS- Timmy Jernigan- DT- Florida State

The Bears need to beef up the defensive line and Jernigan brings the beef in a big way

15. PITTSBURGH STEELERS- Aaron Donald-DT-Pittsburgh

The Steelers stay in town to pick the speedy, strong Donald. Another team that needs to rebuild its defense and this is a good start.

16. DALLAS COWBOYS- Johnny Manziel-QB-Texas A&M

Nothing more than a hunch on my part, but imagine this guy playing for America’s team. Jerry Jones is never one to miss a good marketing opportunity and Tony Romo is 33 and not exactly Peyton Manning or Tom Brady. Makes sense from so many vantage points.

17. BALTIMORE RAVENS- Odell Beckham Jr-WR-LSU

Ravens can really use another weapon for Joe Flacco and Beckham Jr is one of the best. Brandin Cooks could go here as well.

18. NEW YORK JETS- Calvin Pryor- S- Louisville

Yes I know the Jets need another receiver badly but this guy is a hammer and Rex is drooling at the thought of a young Ed Reed. The Wide Receiver class is very deep and they will get a couple in later rounds.

19. MIAMI DOLPHINS- Morgan Moses- OT- Virginia

It’s no secret that the Dolphins need some serious help on the offensive line and this guy should slot in at one of the tackles.

20. ARIZONA CARDINALS- Bradley Roby- CB- Ohio State

Even with the addition of Antonio Cromartie, the Cards could use a young corner and this guy has all the talent in the world

21. GREEN BAY PACKERS – Kony Ealy- DE/LB- Missouri

The Packers need a lot of help on this side of the ball and the versatile Ealy can play multiple spots. CJ Mosley is a possibility here as well.

22. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES- Brandin Cooks-WR-Oregon State

Doesn’t take the Eagles long to replace Desean Jackson with this speedster whom Chip Kelly knows well from his Oregon days.

23. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS- Kelvin Benjamin-WR-Florida State

Chiefs need more weapons for Alex Smith and Benjamin is a big target.

24. CINCINNATI BENGALS- Jason Verrett- CB- TCU

Marvin Lewis is concerned about his secondary and the corners are starting to run so he grabs a very good prospect in Verrett

25. SAN DIEGO CHARGERS- Louis Nix- NT- Notre Dame

A strong nose tackle prospect, Nix is a great fit for the Chargers D.

26. CLEVELAND BROWNS- Teddy Bridgewater- QB- Louisville

How many times have we seen this one. The guy a team was considering at 4 drops to their next pick at 26. The last time we saw this was with Geno Smith and the Jets last year. The Browns can’t believe their good fortune and the shouts of joy are heard all the way from Cleveland.

27. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS- Ryan Shazier-OLB- Ohio State

The Saints need to improve their defense and Shazier is a good step in that direction. He can play inside or move outside if needed at the linebacker spot.

28. CAROLINA PANTHERS- Zach Martin –T-Notre Dame

Looking for another Tackle, Martin falls right into the Panthers lap.

29. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS- CJ Mosley- ILB- Alabama

Another defender for the Patriots. A wide receiver is a possibility here or trading down as the Pats like to do.

30. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS- Marqise Lee- WR- USC

In need of another young receiver, 49ers are thrilled to get Lee at 30.

31. DENVER BRONCOS- Dee Ford- DE- Auburn

Think the Broncos need more defense? Me too. Another guy to rush the passer

32. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS- Ra’Shede Hageman- DT- Minnesota

What do you get the team that has everything? Another weapon for Russell Wilson? Another defender for a team full of stud defenders? Some protection for the offense? Just get the best guy available and at this point that is Hageman.

Broadway Johnny?

By Brett Malamud

Finally the time has come and the wait is over. After making his mark in the NCAA, Johnny Manziel has declared himself eligible for this year’s NFL draft. The Heisman winner is a projected top-ten pick with many even placing him in the top-five. While Manziel is a scrambling quarterback, he averaged 317 passing yards per game for a total of 4117 yards. This is 408 yards more than he threw for last season, a season in which he won the Heisman Trophy. In improving his passing game, Manziel had to take a step back in tucking the football and running. He rushed for only 53% of what he had rushed in 2012. However in the end, the touchdown totals remain to be consistent. Manziel finished with 47 touchdowns in 2012 and 46 touchdowns in 2013. Not too shabby when you consider the fact that Manziel threw for more yards than Andrew Luck did in any of his seasons at Stanford.

Manziel does have his problems though. He has been in the news for his behavioral issues. He was arrested back in 2012 for getting in a late night fight and possessing a fake ID. The issues continued even after he won the Heisman Trophy. He overslept while attending the Manning Passing Academy. He was kicked out of a University of Texas fraternity party. He also voiced his displeasure with Texas A&M by tweeting that he “can’t wait to leave College Station” after he received a parking ticket. His taunting on the field became quite the story during the 2013 season, and was regularly featured on ESPN. But the most notable issue came in early August 2013. The NCAA began investigating whether Manziel accepted payments from autographs that he had signed in January 2013. While it is widely believed that he did accept the money, the NCAA could not find any evidence and suspended him for only the first half of the season opener against Rice.

Johnny Manziel will enter the 2014 NFL draft as one of the top quarterbacks available (via Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

Johnny Manziel will enter the 2014 NFL draft as one of the top quarterbacks available (via Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

Right now if you look at the NFL draft order, Houston has the first pick. The Texans need a quarterback and are expected to draft Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater. The St. Louis Rams have the second pick and while it seems that they might need a quarterback, they have showed no indication that they want to dump Sam Bradford. The third and fourth picks belong to the Jacksonville Jaguars and Cleveland Browns respectfully. Both teams need a quarterback. The Oakland Raiders sit in the five spot and the Vikings sit at the eight spot. It’s possible that they could each want to draft a QB as well. UCF quarterback Blake Bortles is on the board as well but it’ll be interesting to see which QB gets drafted first.

An interesting pick for Manziel though could be the New York Jets. The Jets currently hold the 18th pick. Now I’m not saying that Manziel is going to slip to the 18th pick. We did see Brady Quinn slip to the 22nd pick back in 2007, after being projected to go in the top ten. Manziel is not likely to slip based on the amount of teams needing quarterbacks. Therefore, only way the Jets can get Manziel will be by trading up picks to draft him. I think that a run at Manziel could be what the Jets need. Now I know some people look and they’ll say, “why would they do that?” Well, they’ve done it before. Back in 2009, the Jets traded up to the fifth pick to select USC quarterback Mark Sanchez. Now I know that didn’t turn out to be such a great decision now that Sanchez has lost the starting position, but Manziel is a bigger threat than Sanchez ever was. The Jets current starting quarterback, Geno Smith, had the lowest QB rating in the entire league. General Manager John Idzik stated at the end of their week 17 game that they will “look at quarterbacks” in the offseason. It is this statement that shows that Idzik doesn’t believe that Smith is “the guy.” If the Jets want to get their hands on a reliable quarterback for years to come, they must trade up and select Johnny Manziel.

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Brett Malamud is a Computer Science Major at Binghamton University. He is the co-founder of dabuzzza.com. His favorite athletes are Derek Jeter and Todd Bertuzzi. You can follow him on twitter at @brettnyy

Mariota Will Return to Oregon, 2014 Heisman Impact

By Nick Vespasiano

Yesterday, Oregon Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota elected to return to Eugene next season. The redshirt sophomore was considered one of the top quarterback prospects in the 2014 NFL draft. He entered the 2013 season a Heisman hopeful but saw it slip away with losses to Stanford and Arizona.

Despite being out of the Heisman race for 2013, Mariota has completed 63.1 percent of his passes for 3,412 yards, 30 touchdowns and four picks. He also has 582 yards on the ground and nine scores. Those are Heisman numbers but his team’s two losses are keeping him out of contention.

Marcus Mariota will return next season to the Oregon Ducks (Via ESPN)

Marcus Mariota will return next season to the Oregon Ducks (Via ESPN)

This decision comes as a surprise to me. Running back De’Anthony Thomas is likely entering the draft, number one receiver Josh Huff is a senior, and last season Chip Kelly abruptly bolted for the Philadelphia Eagles. Mariota could be vying for a better draft position. The upcoming NFL draft will feature quarterbacks like Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater, Clemson’s Tajh Boyd, Alabama’s A.J, McCarron, and Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel. Despite the competition he would have faced in the next draft, he was widely considered a potential first round pick. Perhaps he’s just loyal to his Ducks.

Mariota should be an early Heisman favorite yet again heading into the 2014 season. Other players who are ineligible for the 2013 draft with legitimate 2014 Heisman ambitions include Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston, Georgia running back Todd Gurley, Alabama running back T.J. Yeldon, and my favorite, UCLA linebacker/running back Myles Jack.

Draft eligible but returning next season is Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty who should be on the short pre-season Heisman list. UCLA’s star quarterback Brett Hundley and Ohio State’s Braxton Miller have yet to make decisions on next year’s draft.

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Nick Vespasiano is a senior English major at St. Olaf College and aspiring sports writer. He was raised in Minnesota, favorite teams are the Vikings, Wild, and Twins. Favorite athletes are Randy Moss and Jaromír Jágr.

Three Intriguing Match-Ups for College Football’s Week 11

By Nick Vespasiano

(19) Wisconsin vs (25) Minnesota

As a native Minnesotan, it’s hard to feel anything but apathetic about Gophers football. So far this season they have exceeded everyone’s expectations but their own. Jerry Kill and this coaching staff have turned this team around, especially by playing to the strengths of the running game. Junior running back David Cobb has burst onto the Big 10 this season, rushing for 942 yards thus far and averaging 142 yards in Minnesota’s last four games. The key matchup will be this heavy run attack going up against a Wisconsin defense that has impressed all season. New defensive coordinator Dave Aranda’s switch to a 3-4 scheme has worked wonders for the run defense, which ranks fifth in the country with 4.3 yards per carry for opponents. Last week the Badgers’ defense held an Indiana offense that is averaging 40-plus points per game, to just a field goal. The Gophers have their hands full on defense, with Heisman Trophy sleeper, sophomore running back Melvin Gordon and dynamic playmaker Jared Abbrederis highlighting Wisconsin’s offense. The main storyline here is the renewed rivalry. Wisconsin has won the last nine meetings but both teams go into the game at 8-2, making this matchup relevant for the first time since 2002. This Saturday will also mark my first Gophers game at TCF Bank Stadium, which should be cool.

Jerry Kill has done a fantastic job in the Twin Cities (Via AP)

Jerry Kill has done a fantastic job in the Twin Cities (Via AP)

(4) Baylor vs (10) Oklahoma State

Those poor Baylor Bears, they have to win out the rest of the season with no guarantee that it will even matter (sound familiar Ohio State?). This is arguably the hardest opponent on their remainder of their schedule and all signs point to a shootout. Baylor and Oklahoma State rank first and fourteenth respectively in points scored per game. I was surprised to see they both rank in the top-fifteen in points allowed per game but both defenses are inconsistent. For example, Oklahoma State held Mississippi state to three points and gave up 35 the next week to UT-San Antonio. However, OSU had a nice 52-34  win week 8 over Texas Tech, a team with a potent offense like Baylor’s. Both teams feature great passing offenses. Clint Chelf has impressed replacing JW Walsh at quarterback for OSU. While Baylor’s Bryce Petty sits third on most hypothetical Heisman ballots (including mine). The edge on offense here goes to Baylor because of their running attack. Star junior Lache Seastrunk is still injured but freshman Shock Linwood has replaced him effortlessly and has 812 yards on the season. Add Petty’s 10 rushing touchdowns and the ground as dangerous as the air against Baylor. Both teams rank higher than I would have expected. There are Big 12 title (and possible National Title in Baylor’s case) implications. The last 10th ranked team Baylor played was the Oklahoma Sooners on week 9, and they won by four touchdowns.

(12) Texas A&M vs (22) LSU

In last season’s matchup on 10/20, LSU defeated Texas A&M 24-19. Johnny Manziel played probably his worst game of the season finishing 29-59, 276 yards, 0 TD, 3 INT, and just 27 yards rushing. That was in College Station. This year the Aggies travel to Death Valley for the first time in the careers of head coach Kevin Sumlin and repeat-Heisman hopeful Johnny Manziel. For LSU to earn a second straight win against A&M, they’ll have to keep the ball out of Manziel’s hands and that means running the football. Sophomore running back Jeremy Hill is averaging 6.8 yards per carry, totaling 964 yards and 13 touchdowns through week 10. He had 127 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries in last season’s game and can expect to see a lot of action for LSU to keep the clock moving. Senior quarterback Zach Mettenberger and junior wide receiver Odell Beckham are one of the deadliest QB/WR duos in the SEC. In the midst of a breakout year, senior quarterback Zach Mettenberger will at least have to play the “game manager” role well and above all, not turn over the ball. That was the key last season where LSU won the turnover battle with zero to A&M’s five. How well Manziel and A&M’s offense plays depends on LSU’s defense which has been inconsistent this season. Head coach Les Miles plans to regularly rotate two to three players at every position on defense to limit fatigue versus an athletic no-huddle offense. We’ll see if they’re up for the challenge, Manziel, Malena, Evans, and the top offense in the SEC have a tendency to tire out a defense.

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is a senior English major at St. Olaf College and aspiring sports writer. He was raised in Minnesota, favorite teams are the Vikings, Wild, and Twins. Favorite athletes are Randy Moss and Jaromír Jágr.

Jameis Winston: The Next Heisman Winner?

By: Matt Federbusch

It may be too early for Heisman talks but Florida State QB Jameis Winston seems like a good candidate. The true freshman from Bessemer, Alabama has been putting up videogame numbers for the Seminoles as of late and it doesn’t look like he’s going to cool down anytime soon. In every game so far, the Seminoles have scored more than 40 points and they practically routed every opponent. Winston is responsible for putting up most of these points and leading the Noles to 1st place in the ACC. Jameis already has 23 touchdowns and an unbelievable passer rating of 207.0.

Florida State Spring Game

FSU’s Jameis Winston will try to join Johnny Manziel as the second ever freshman to win the Heisman Trophy. (Via Getty Images)

He is not a guy that shies away from a challenge either. Just ask the Clemson Tigers. Against #3 Clemson on October 19, the Seminoles destroyed the Tigers, winning 51-14. Winston had 444 yards (Yes, you read that correctly), 3 passing touchdowns, and 1 rushing touchdown. This is an unbelievably talented athlete and the scary thing is that he is only a freshman. Will he be the Heisman winner? I’m not sure, Mariota and Manziel look pretty good too. All I know is you should fear the spear because this guy is for real.