Posted: Tuesday April 25, 2006 10:35AM; Updated: Tuesday June 27, 2006 10:47PM
6. Brian Brohm, QB, Louisville, Jr.
Just five months ago Brohm tore the ACL in his right knee, sprained the patellar tendon and tore the meniscus while being dragged down from behind in a game against Syracuse. This spring, as unlikely as it seems, Brohm was back practicing with the team after what coaches describe as an "amazing" rehab. If he really is healthy, the Big East Offensive Player of the Year has the weapons around him to improve on his '05 numbers and be in the Heisman hunt.
7. John David Booty, QB, USC, Jr.
He may not even be the best quarterback on the team. (At this point coach Pete Carroll has listed Booty, who's coming off back surgery and missed almost all of spring practice, ahead of hotshot redshirt freshman Mark Sanchez.) But if Booty, or Sanchez for that matter, wins the job, he will have talented receiver Dwayne Jarrett and recent history (two of the past four Heisman winners have been USC QBs) on his side.
8. Marshawn Lynch, RB, Cal, Jr.
Coach Jeff Tedford hired Northwestern assistant Mike Dunbar to bring the spread offense to Berkeley, and the biggest beneficiary could be the 5-11, 215-pound Lynch, the Pac-10's leading returning rusher (124.6 yards per game), who should see bigger holes as defenses are forced to cover more of the field. Lynch's biggest hurdle to the Heisman, however, could be his own teammate, 5-8 burner Justin Forsett, who had 132 carries last season for 999 yards.
9. Kenny Irons, RB, Auburn, Sr.
A former transfer from South Carolina, Irons led the SEC in rushing last year (107.8 yards per game), but what was shocking was how this 5-11 game-breaker proved to be a workhorse, carrying the ball 28.9 times per game in the last seven contests. With the Tigers' top three receivers and starting tight end from '05 gone, Irons will likely be relied upon more in '06.
10. Mike Hart, RB, Michigan, Jr.
The 5-9, 195-pound Hart battled ankle and hamstring injuries all last season, and his absence was the main reason the Wolverines finished ninth in the Big Ten in rushing and fell from a Rose Bowl team to the Alamo Bowl. If Michigan can plug some holes in the offensive line (moving Jake Long to left tackle is a start), Hart should resemble more the running back of 2004 than the one of '05.
Others:Arian Foster, RB, Tennessee; Dwayne Jarrett, WR, USC; Chris Leak, QB, Florida; Blake Mitchell, QB, South Carolina; Paul Posluszny, LB, Penn State; Jeff Samardzija, WR, Notre Dame; Drew Stanton, QB, Michigan State; Drew Tate, QB, Iowa; Pat White, QB, West Virginia; Albert Young, RB, Iowa