Top 2014 Recruits Who Will Become Heisman Candidates

By (Analyst) on February 2, 2014

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Ideally, linking any recruit to the Heisman at this point isn't a good idea. However, it's still pretty neat to wonder just who in the 2014 recruiting class will have a chance to win the most prestigious trophy in sports.

A wealth of talented prospects surround this class, as several recruits are among the best at their position in years.

A running back from New Orleans has a great blend of size, speed and instincts. A quarterback headed to Alabama has the talent to standout while also winning a ton of games in Tuscaloosa.

While the Heisman tends to focus on quarterbacks and running backs, there's a defensive player on this list.


Player evaluations are based on review of tape at Scout.comRivals and 247Sports.

Deshaun Watson, QB

Committed to: Clemson

An elite 4-star quarterback, Deshaun Watson has a chance to hear his name mentioned in Heisman talk in a few seasons. The Clemson commit is a perfect fit for the Tigers' spread offense, as he's a dual-threat field general who can punish defenses in an array of ways.

Watson, who is 6'3" and 200 pounds, has the arm strength and accuracy to deliver strikes to targets downfield. Plus, he has the mobility and speed to burn defenses as a runner, which will only make his statistics that much better.

Watson is a superior prospect to former Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd at this stage. He has a chance to win the starting job as a true freshman, which means his Heisman campaign could begin as early as this fall.

Tony James, RB

Credit: 247Sports

Committed to: Oregon

This is a dark-horse pick, so to speak. Tony James doesn't hear his name mentioned with many of the high-end prospects in the 2014 class, but he has a chance to put up big numbers in Eugene.

The 4-star Florida native is one of the most explosive players in the country. James, who is 5'10" and 170 pounds, has deadly quickness, speed, agility and elusiveness in the open field. He's an exceptional fit for Oregon's spread offense, as he will play a similar role to what former running back De'Anthony Thomas played for the Ducks.

Look for James to make dazzling plays as a runner and receiver, while also scoring a few touchdowns as a returner on special teams.

Sony Michel, RB


Committed to: Georgia

It was initially tough to put 5-star running back Sony Michel on this list, because he likely will not make a big impact at Georgia early in his career.

However, Michel is simply too good of a football player not to eventually start to make big-time plays. At 5'11" and 205 pounds, he has the speed, vision, instincts, strength, balance and receiving skills to become one of the best running backs in the country.

It may not be as a freshman or perhaps even as a sophomore, but Michel will get some Heisman consideration before he leaves UGA. 

Speedy Noil, ATH/WR

Committed to: Texas A&M

Speedy Noil is another prospect who is an excellent fit for his school's scheme. The New Orleans native is a 5-star athlete who possesses terrific speed, agility, elusiveness, explosiveness and quickness with the ball.

Those attributes make the 5'10.5", 176-pounder perfect for Texas A&M's spread offense. The Aggies run a wide-open passing attack, which will put Noil in the best positions to excel. They'll also use Noil as a runner, plus allow him to do his thing on special teams as a kick and punt returner.

David Cornwell, QB

Committed to: Alabama

Alabama is going to continue to win a lot of games, so the quarterback of the team will benefit a ton. If 4-star quarterback David Cornwell can win the starting job, he'll definitely become a Heisman candidate before he leaves Tuscaloosa.

The 6'5", 241-pounder has a cannon for an arm, plus he has deceptive mobility. Cornwell has more than enough natural talent to do more than just manage a game.

Whoever wins the starting quarterback gig for the Crimson Tide will eventually get in the Heisman mix, and it may be Cornwell. 

Jabrill Peppers, DB/ATH

Committed to: Michigan

Well, 5-star prospect Jabrill Peppers is headed to a school that saw cornerback Charles Woodson win the Heisman in 1997, so it's not like he's attempting something that's never been done before. 

At 6'1" and 205 pounds, the New Jersey native has the size, instincts, speed, awareness, strength and versatility to ball at any position. He'll play in the secondary at Michigan but don't be shocked to see Peppers get some snaps on offense and in the return game.

He should become one of the best all-around players in college football within three seasons.

Leonard Fournette, RB

Committed to: LSU 

At 6'1" and 226 pounds, 5-star running back Leonard Fournette is one of the best running-back prospects in 10 years. He runs with outstanding strength and vision, but he also has the quickness to shoot through holes to quickly arrive at the second level.

Fournette has above-average elusiveness and speed, plus he has no issues breaking tackles. Fournette also has solid receiving skills to help in the passing game. He will see significant time at LSU as a true freshman, which means he'll become a known commodity in college football this season.

2014 Bleacher Report College Football Recruiting Heat Map

Use the 2014 Bleacher Report College Football Recruiting Heat Map to find recruits you think could become Heisman candidates!


Edwin Weathersby is the College Football Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. He has worked in scouting/player personnel departments for three professional football teams, including the New York Giants and Cleveland Browns. 
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