No “mid-major” player has won the Heisman in the 21st Century, but these Group of Five superstars deserve to be recognized. Here are five who could play their way to New York City come December.
QB Mason Fine, North Texas
It’s possible that other squad from North Texas may need a new quarterback soon. Thus, there should be plenty of Dallas Cowboys scouts at Mean Green games this season.
Fine is in a senior season situation where he threw for 3,793 yards and 27 touchdowns (respectively good for 1st and 2nd in Conference USA) and that was a regression. Fine threw for 4,052 yards and 31 touchdowns as a sophomore, though he was able to knock 10 interceptions off of his 2017 tally of 15. Perhaps the last thing on his Denton checklist is to lead them to a postseason victory. The Mean Green reached three straight bowl games for the first time since 2002-04, but they’ve come up empty each time.
RB/KR Jason Huntley, New Mexico State
New Mexico State isn’t somewhere you’d find college football greatness quite often. After all, the program has had just two winning seasons since the turn of the century. Huntley has become a welcome exception.
The senior rusher has increased his carries and rushing tallies over each of his first three seasons, and has since developed himself as a formidable special teams threat. Huntley leads the nation with five kickoffs returned for touchdowns over the past two years. The end zone got to know him quite well over the course of 2018. In addition to his kickoff trio, Huntley added seven more on the ground and three more through receiving.
QB D’Eriq King, Houston
Some teams are lucky to tally 50 touchdowns throughout the course of a season. King did it in just 11 games last year, accompanying an equally eye-opening haul of 3.656 total yards.
Houston has been nirvana for college football quarterbacks. Record-setting and chasing alumni include Andre Ware, Dave Klingler, Kevin Kolb, and Case Keenum. Should he recover from the knee injury that cost him the final three games of last season, King seems well poised to join that group.
RB Greg McCrae, UCF
With the Golden Knights embarking on another national title run, they’ll need a new offensive leader with quarterback McKenzie Milton still recovering from a devastating leg injury from November. Enter McCrae, who enjoyed a breakout season as a sophomore last season.
McCrae is the AAC’s second-returning top rusher, putting up 1,182 yards and 11 total touchdowns. His 8.9 yards per carry also led the nation, albeit in a tie with Memphis’ NFL-bound Darrell Henderson. It was against those same Tigers that McCrae officially introduced himself to the college football world. In the AAC title game, he put up 236 total yard and a score in the UCF victory.
DE/LB Curtis Weaver, Boise State
Another year, another chance for Boise State to spoil the New Year’s Six party. Offensive stars have mostly dominated the iconic blue field, but Weaver is bucking, nay, sacking that trend.
Known for his blitzing prowess, Weaver is capable of playing on the line and behind it. Through his first two seasons, Weaver has tallied just under 21 sacks, including 11 in his freshman year alone. He and the Broncos have a tremendous opportunity to prove themselves to the critics who matter. They travel to the Sunshine State for a “neutral” site game in Jacksonville against ACC competition from Florida State.