6. Pat White, West Virginia, QB, Sr.
2007 stats: 144-of-216 passing, 1,724 yards, 14 TDs, 4 INTs; 197 rushes, 1,335 yards, 14 TDs.
Heisman-o-meter: This fleet-footed running wizard has been a favorite of this list for many seasons, but mainly because of his ability to get to the edge and slalom through would-be tacklers in the open field. This season, however, the new Mountaineers coaching staff has said WVU will throw the ball more, which hasn't been White's forte. No other contender on this list has had to go through more of an adjustment period than White.
Up next: Saturday vs. Villanova.
7. James Laurinaitis, Ohio State, LB, Sr.
2007 stats: 121 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, 5 sacks, 2 interceptions.
Heisman-o-meter: Last year Glenn Dorsey was the defensive player of choice on Heisman lists, and he barely registered on the meter. One of the problems was Dorsey was an interior lineman whose value -- occupying blockers and freeing up teammates to make the play -- was hard to quantify. As a linebacker, Laurinaitis shouldn't have as much of a problem getting noticed, considering his ability to stuff the run and, seemingly, get his helmet in on every play. Defensive players don't win the Heisman, but he has as good a chance as any defender this season.
Up next: Saturday vs. Youngstown State.
8. Joe McKnight, USC, RB, Soph.
2007 stats: 94 rushes, 540 yards, 3 TDs; 23 receptions, 203 yards, 1 TD; 19 punt returns, 160 yards.
Heisman-o-meter: Shifty, speedy and now solid (He added 20 pounds in the offseason and is up to 200). McKnight joined the discussion for the 2008 stiff-armed statuette after his 125-yard rushing day (on 10 carries) against Illinois in the Rose Bowl. Assuming the finger and elbow issues he incurred this month won't be a problem, McKnight's biggest obstacle to the Heisman may be carries. He shares a backfield with Stafon Johnson, C.J. Gable and Allen Bradford.
Up next: Saturday at Virginia.
9. LeSean McCoy, Pittsburgh, RB, Soph.
2007 stats: 276 rushes, 1,328 yards, 14 TDs; 1-of-2 passing, 18 yards; 33 receptions, 244 yards, 1 TD.
Heisman-o-meter: I'll steer away from the bad "Real McCoy" references, but there's no doubt the Panthers' exciting runner hasn't received enough Heisman love. The back nicknamed "Shady" is a score-from-anywhere home-run hitter who looks awfully like one Heisman winner from three years ago. If the team can replace three starters in the offensive line and improve on its 5-7 record, McCoy could be an under-the-radar pick.
Up next: Saturday vs. Bowling Green.
10. Sam Bradford, Oklahoma, QB, Soph.
2007 stats: 237-of-341 passing, 3,121 yards, 36 TDs, 8 INTs; 31 rushes, 7 yards.
Heisman-o-meter: Bradford came out of nowhere last year to have the greatest, statistically speaking, freshman season ever for a quarterback. He won't wow anyone with his athletic ability or his arm strength, but he's a highly accurate passer who benefits from having one of the best -- if not the best -- offensive lines in the nation. If running back DeMarco Murray is healthy the whole season, he would actually be the leading Sooner candidate on this list. But considering Oklahoma will likely be in the national-title talk through November, Bradford should be in the hunt as well.
Up next: Saturday vs. Chattanooga.