Hawaii quarterback Colt Brennan eclipsed 350 yards passing in 11 games last season.
If you feel like a kid on Christmas Eve, I'm with you. The start of college football season is just two days away, but it can't come soon enough. So let's cut to the Heisman chase with the preseason Watch, a list that's dominated by running backs but no one heavy favorite.
1. Darren McFadden, Arkansas, RB, Jr.
2006 stats: 284 carries, 1,647 yards, 9 TDs; 7-of-9 passing, 69 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT; 11 receptions, 149 yards, 1 TD; 10 kickoff returns, 262 yards, 1 TD
Heisman-o-meter: No one does what McFadden does against the competition he does it against, which is why this "back of all trades" tops the preseason Watch. Early in the season it'll be interesting to see how effectively his offensive line -- featuring three new starters -- opens holes and if his touches (21.7 per game from scrimmage in '06) are affected by the playcalling of new coordinator David Lee.
Up next: Saturday vs. Troy
2. Steve Slaton, West Virginia, RB, Jr.
2006 stats: 248 carries, 1,744 yards, 16 TDs; 27 receptions, 360 yards, 2 TDs
Heisman-o-meter: Fast. Dynamic. Electric. He hits the edge and turns the corner better than anyone in college football, and the offseason surgery he had on his right arm should alleviate the fumbling problem he had late last year. One thing however could hamper his hopes: the presence of fleet-footed quarterback Pat White, himself a Heisman candidate.
Up next: Saturday vs. Western Michigan
3. Colt Brennan, Hawaii, QB, Sr.
2006 stats: 406-of-559 passing, 5,549 yards, 58 touchdowns, 12 interceptions; 86 carries, 366 yards, 5 touchdowns
Heisman-o-meter: Here's the most important question for Heisman voters this year: What do you do with Colt Brennan? His stats will be double those of other top quarterbacks, but it's possible he will face only one team (Boise State) in the top 75. And he'll also have to overcome a "system quarterback" reputation. Prediction for Saturday: 475 yards and five touchdowns and the top spot in the Watch next week.
Up next: Saturday vs. Northern Colorado
4. Brian Brohm, Louisville, QB, Sr.
2006 stats: 199-of-313 passing, 3,049 yards, 16 TDs, 5 INTs
Heisman-o-meter: The frontrunner to be the No. 1 pick in next April's NFL draft, Brohm is a smart and accurate passer who delivers the ball with poise. First-year coach Steve Kragthorpe has installed a new passing attack that will feature quicker throws while also utilizing some of the spread that Brohm ran so well the last two years. How quickly Brohm adjusts to Kragthorpe's system and playcalling will determine Brohm's viability as a candidate.
Up next: Thursday vs. Murray State
5. Glenn Dorsey, LSU, DT, Sr.
2006 stats: 22 unassisted tackles, 64 total tackles, 8 1/2 tackles for loss, 3 sacks
Heisman-o-meter: That's right, a defender makes the Watch. And deservedly so. Powerful and athletic at 6-foot-2, 299 pounds, Dorsey causes havoc in the middle of the line despite being double-teamed constantly and has been touted by some as the best player in the nation. He won't win the Heisman, but he is too good to be left off this -- or any -- list.
Up next: Thursday at Mississippi State
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