There are certainly plenty of obvious candidates for the coveted Heisman Trophy. Players such as Trevor Lawrence, Tua Tagovailoa, Jonathan Taylor and Justin Herbert are among the main attention grabbers. Additionally, Sam Ehlinger, Adrian Martinez, Justin Fields, as well as D’Andre Swift and Travis Etienne, appear on many top 10 lists. Also, JK Dobbins, A.J Dillon and still others like Jalen Hurts along with Laviska Shenault are getting love. All for good reason by the way. However, there are plenty of other players who could find themselves in New York City this year. Here are the top 10 under the radar Heisman contenders.
10 under the radar Heisman contenders
Cam Akers – Junior – RB – Florida State
Cam Akers is due to have a monster season in 2019. Therefore, he is one of the 10 under the radar Heisman contenders to pay attention to. Last year, Akers impact was lessened due to an ineffective offense, which included an offensive line that struggled mightily. Despite that, he still managed to run for 706 yards and six touchdowns on 161 carries. Also, he caught 23 passes for 145 yards as well as two touchdowns. Akers broke Florida State’s freshman rushing record in 2016, which was previously held by Dalvin Cook. In fact, he rushed for 1,024 yards along with seven touchdowns that season. FSU will have an improved offensive line and expects to bounce back from a 5-7 season. All of that will aid Akers in his Heisman bid.
Eno Benjamin – Junior – RB – Arizona State
Next on the 10 under the radar Heisman contenders is Eno Benjamin. Certainly, Benjamin had a monstrous season last year. In fact, he earned second-team All-American honors after rushing for 1,642 yards and 16 touchdowns on exactly 300 carries. Additionally, Benjamin grabbed 35 receptions for 263 yards plus another two touchdowns. He clearly should have garnered more consideration for the Heisman last year. However, this year Benjamin looks to repeat last seasons success. With a new quarterback and an experienced offensive line, look for Benjamin to be a workhorse for the Sun Devils. Which means big numbers yet again.
Tyler Huntley – Senior – QB – Utah
Utah is a trendy pick to win the Pac 12 Conference this year as well as be a sleeper College Football Playoff contender. Obviously, one reason behind that is Tyler Huntley. He was slowed by injuries last year, which clearly dropped his production. However, he is a dynamic dual-threat quarterback with great offensive pieces surrounding him. Provided he stays healthy, look for Huntley to put up impressive numbers in both the passing and running game. Couple that with the success that Utah is expected to have and Huntley is deserving of being on the list of 10 under the radar Heisman contenders.
D’Eriq King – Senior – QB – Houston
There are only two words to describe Houston quarterback D’Eriq King. Amazing and underrated. Last season, despite missing four games, King scored a mind-boggling 50 touchdowns. In fact, he threw for 2,982 yards along with 36 touchdowns while rushing for 674 yards and another 14 touchdowns. Impressively, he only tossed six interceptions for the season. Imagine if he played all 13 games! This season, the Cougars look to have one of the top few offenses in college football. Expect King to put up massive numbers, which means he should move off the 10 under the radar Heisman contenders to an appearance in New York City.
CeeDee Lamb – Junior – WR – Oklahoma
Obviously, it would take a truly mind-boggling season for a wide receiver to garner enough attention to actually win the Heisman Trophy. CeeDee Lamb fits on the 10 under the radar Heisman contenders list for sure. Jalen Hurts clearly needs to prove himself as a passer. With that said, there is plenty in Lamb’s favor this season. First, he will be the number one target, unlike last year when Marquise Brown was in Norman. Secondly, Lincoln Riley knows offensive scheming better than most. Thirdly, he is freakishly talented as a pass catcher and route runner. Lamb will put up monstrous numbers in 2019 and should be considered an outside candidate for Heisman.
Rondale Moore – Sophomore – WR – Purdue
After putting up more than 2,200 all-purpose yards as a freshman, Rondale Moore has established himself as one of the most exciting players in college football. Moore is a great fit on the 10 under the radar Heisman contenders list largely because wide receivers have a hard time winning the award. However, Moore’s all-around game gives him a great chance. Additionally, if Purdue overachieves this year with a high profile win or two, it will elevate his case. Look for another highly productive season from Moore in 2019.
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Brock Purdy – Sophomore – QB – Iowa State
This may seem like a surprise inclusion on the 10 under the radar Heisman contenders. There is no way that it should not be, though. Last year, as a freshman, Purdy made an immediate impact for the Cyclones. Iowa State was 1-3 when they faced Oklahoma State. Purdy took over in the second series of the game and the Cyclones took off from there, winning seven of eight games. Purdy completed 66.4% of his passes for 2,250 yards and 16 touchdowns while also rushing for 308 yards and five touchdowns. Despite losing Hakeem Butler and David Montgomery, Iowa State has a talented receiver group and the offense looks strong again. With Purdy’s ability to make plays, he may find himself in New York City.
Ricky Slade – Sophomore – RB – Penn State
Another player who fits right in on the 10 under the radar Heisman contenders list is Ricky Slade. With Miles Sanders and Trace McSorley in the NFL now, the torch has been passed to Slade to take over the running game for Penn State. He came into college as the third-rated running back out of high school. In fact, Slade finished his career with 5,499 rushing yards while scoring 80 total touchdowns. Last year, he carried the ball 45 times for 257 yards along with six touchdowns. Expect huge numbers from Slade in 2019.
Michael Warren – Junior – RB – Cincinnati
Michael Warren does not get talked about enough nationally, and it is a shame. Certainly, he broke out last year for an 11 win Cincinnati team. To illustrate, he accumulated 1,329 rushing yards on 244 carries along with 19 touchdowns. In addition to that, he also caught 25 passes for 232 yards with a touchdown. Warren is a perfect candidate for the 10 under the radar Heisman contenders this season. The Bearcats are expected to have another great season and Warren will be a major catalyst behind that.
Juwan Washington – Senior – RB – San Diego State
San Diego State certainly has had a nice string of successful running backs in recent years. In fact, Juwan Washington sat behind two of them during his first two years on campus. Donnel Pumphrey (2016) and Rashaad Penny (2017) each ran for over 2,000 yards during those two seasons. Despite that, Washington was still able to put up 1,200 yards as well as 13 touchdowns. He has also been used in the return game during his first three years, racking up over 1,000 kick return yards. Last season, Washington missed 4.5 games and still managed to carry the rock 199 times for 999 yards along with 10 touchdowns. Look for him to stay healthy this year and carry the Aztecs on his shoulders, quite possibly to 2,000 yards. After all, it has been done in San Diego on multiple occasions.
Others considered: Charlie Brewer – QB – Baylor, Spencer Brown – RB – UAB, Jacob Eason – QB – Washington, Mason Fine – QB – North Texas, Shea Patterson – QB – Michigan, JJ Taylor – RB – Arizona
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