Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota is the front runner mostly due to his versatility and exceptional athleticism at the QB position along with the Ducks system is bound to boost his numbers again this year. Mariota is also an incredibly efficient passer with a 31-to-4 passing touchdown/interception ratio a season ago, but he does have issues fumbling the ball and that may need to be shored up for him to win the Heisman.
Last year's Heisman Trophy winner, Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston, has a good chance to be only the second repeat victor, but it will be especially difficult to live up to expectations with such a big spotlight on him this season after not only winning the Trophy, but his team also capturing the 2013 National Championship. Winston was asked at ACC media days how hard it is to not be satisfied.
"It's not hard at all," said Winston. "It's really easy because we always play with a chip on our shoulder and we have high expectations, and we know if we become complacent or we become off in any way that we will lose."
The Dynamic Dozen is quarterback heavy as usual with six signal callers, but does have one less than the 2013 Preseason list. The rest of the Dozen is made up of four running backs, one wide receiver, and one linebacker (also played at running back in 2013).
UCLA linebacker Myles Jack is the only defensive player in the ranking, but he does have a valid chance after scoring seven rushing touchdowns last year. If Jack has a hot year on the defensive side, he could possibly play some offense to bolster his statistics while helping the team as well.
Duke's Jamison Crowder is the only wide receiver to make the Dozen, but he too is versatile and dynamic enough to win the Heisman. Crowder scored 11 touchdowns in three different facets of the game last season including eight at receiver.
There are three players not from the "power-five conferences" to make the Dynamic Dozen with East Carolina quarterback Shane Carden being the most likely at becoming a Heisman finalist or a longshot winner of the Trophy. Carden and the Pirates play at South Carolina, at Virginia Tech, vs North Carolina, and vs UCF - all games that could rocket him into the limelight if ECU can pull off some upsets - which is ever important for a Heisman campaign.
Finally, the list consists of the 12 most dynamic Heisman Trophy contenders. It is based on the contenders that along with having gaudy numbers also make dynamic and meaningful plays on the field. This is not a predictor, but is a useful guide for Heisman candidates.
The Dynamic Dozen Heisman Trophy Contenders
1. QB Marcus Mariota, Jr. 6-4 215, Oregon
Stats: 13 games, 3665 passing yards, 63.5 percent completion, 167.66 QB rating, 31 passing touchdowns, 4 interceptions, 715 rushing yards, 7.4 rushing yards per game, 55.0 rushing yards per game, and 9 rushing touchdowns.
2. QB Jameis Winston, r-So. 6-4 230, Florida State
Stats: 4057 passing yards, 66.9 percent completion, 40 passing touchdowns, 10 interceptions, 219 rushing yards, 2.5 rushing yards per carry, and 4 rushing touchdowns.
3. QB Brett Hundley, r-Jr. 6-3 227, UCLA
Stats: 3071 passing yards, 66.8 percent completion, 152.87 QB rating, 24 passing touchdowns, 9 interceptions, 748 rushing yards, 4.7 yards per carry, 11 rushing touchdowns, 1 reception, 7 receiving yards, and 1 receiving touchdown.
4. RB Melvin Gordon, r-Jr. 6-1 207, Wisconsin
Stats: 1609 rushing yards, 7.8 yards per carry, 123.8 rushing yards per game, 12 rushing touchdowns, 1 reception, and 10 receiving yards.
5. QB Christian Hackenberg, So. 6-4 220, Penn State
Stats: 2955 passing yards, 58.9 percent completion, 134.0 QB rating, 20 passing touchdowns, 10 interceptions, and 4 rushing touchdowns.
6. WR Jamison Crowder, Sr. 5-9 175, Duke
Stats: 108 receptions, 1360 receiving yards, 12.5 yards per catch, 8 receiving touchdowns, 71 rushing yards, 8.9 yards per carry, 1 rushing touchdown, 401 punt return yards, 16 yards per punt return, and 2 punt return touchdowns.
7. QB Shane Carden, Sr. 6-2 218, East Carolina
Stats: 4139 passing yards, 70.5 completion percent, 150.0 QB rating, 33 touchdowns, 10 interceptions, 103 rushing yards, 1.1 rushing yards per game, and 10 rushing touchdowns.
8. LB/RB Myles Jack, So. 6-1 230, UCLA.
Stats: 12 games, 75 tackles, 49 solo tackles, 7 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 1 quarterback hurry, 2 fumbles recovered, 11 passes broken up, 2 interceptions, 267 rushing yards, 7.0 yards per carry, and 7 rushing touchdowns.
9. RB Jay Ajayi, r-Jr. 6-0 220, Boise State
Stats: 1425 rushing yards, 5.7 yards per carry, 18 rushing touchdowns, 222 receiving yards, 10.1 yards per catch, and 1 receiving touchdown.
10. RB Duke Johnson, Jr. 5-9 194, Miami FL
Stats: 8 games, 920 rushing yards, 6.3 yards per carry, 115.0 rushing yards per game, 6 rushing touchdowns, 4 receptions, 77 receiving yards, 19.2 yards per catch, 396 kick return yards, and 28.3 yards per kick return.
11. RB T.J. Yeldon, Jr. 6-2 221, Alabama
Stats: 12 games, 1235 rushing yards, 6.0 yards per carry, 102.92 rushing yards per game, 14 rushing touchdowns, 20 receptions, 183 receiving yards, and 9.1 yards per catch.
12. QB Rakeem Cato, Sr. 6-0 181, Marshall
Stats: 3916 passing yards, 59.7 percent completion, 147.82 QB rating, 39 passing touchdowns, 9 interceptions, 294 rushing yards, 3.0 yards per carry, 21.0 rushing yards per game, and 6 rushing touchdowns.
*Just outside the Dozen: QB Taylor Kelly (r-Sr. 6-2 211, Arizona State), QB Nick Marshall (Sr. 6-1 210, Auburn), QB Bryce Petty (Sr. 6-3 230, Baylor), QB Taysom Hill (Jr. 6-2 228, BYU), RB Todd Gurley, (Jr. 6-1 232, Georgia), RB Jeremy Langford (Sr. 6-0 206, Michigan State), RB Ameer Abdullah (Sr. 5-9 195, Nebraska).
*Listed in alphabetical order by school.