Who will strike Heisman pose?
Published: Thursday, April 21, 2011 at 12:01 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, April 21, 2011 at 12:01 p.m.
In three of the past four years, an SEC player has been a winner of the Heisman Trophy despite not being mentioned as a serious candidate in the preseason.
Tim Tebow went from local hero to national icon in 2007. Mark Ingram wasn't on anybody's Heisman Watch in the 2009 preseason. And nobody knew what Auburn was getting in Cam Newton in 2010.
Here are five SEC players who could go from regional names to having their names etched on the stiff-armed one:
Michael Dyer, Auburn
Can you be under the radar when you gain more than 1,000 yards as a freshman? You can if you were playing with Cam Newton. Dyer rushed for 1,093 yards last season and had a huge run in the national title game. But he had only five rushing touchdowns for the year. He will be the focus of Auburn's offense this year.
Tyler Wilson, Arkansas
Wilson threw only 51 passes a season ago while waiting for Ryan Mallett to turn pro. In Bobby Petrino's system, the quarterback will shine, and Wilson has a ton of talent around him. The key will be how well Arkansas performs as a team. The Razorbacks have to have some national success to make him a strong candidate.
Spencer Ware, LSU
Ware was dominant in LSU's spring game and the running back will get his share of carries because LSU still can't totally trust quarterback Jordan Jefferson. He'll be on the national stage right away with the opener against Oregon.
Chris Relf, Mississippi State
First on his checklist, be the starting quarterback. Relf is in a battle in Starkville, but he's in the multi-dimensional mode of winners Newton and Tebow. Obviously, the Bulldogs would have to have a special season and he'd have to have gaudy rushing and passing numbers. A year ago — 713 rushing, 1,789 passing.
Jeff Demps, Florida
Demps has made more of a name on the track than the football field and none of us really know how Charlie Weis plans to use him. But when you can run a 9.96, there's a chance you can score any time you get the ball.