Ivan Maisel's Heisman Watch
Sports Illustrated college football writer Ivan Maisel will break down the Heisman race every week of the 2001 season. Here, he offers his top five preseason candidates.
1. Damien Anderson, TB, Northwestern
2000 stats: 2,063 yards, 6.6 yards per carry, 23 TDs
He's in the perfect offense for his talents. But will the Wildcats have enough defense to win games and keep him in the race?
2. Ken Simonton, TB, Oregon State
2000 stats: 1,559 yards, 5.5 yards per carry, 19 TDs
Another back in an offense well-suited for him. Simonton is so short (5-8) that if he wins, Heisman will be a lifesize replica.
3. Chris Simms, QB, Texas
2000 stats: 56.0 percent completions, 1,305 yards, 8 TDs, 11 INTs
Simms has the name recognition, the pedigree and the school to give him an opportunity to win. His resume remains filled with more potential than production.
4. Ken Dorsey, QB, Miami
2000 stats: 58.3 percent completions, 2,737 yards, 25 TDs, 5 INTs
If the Hurricanes maintain their high ranking -- which is dubious, given the road trips to Tallahassee and Blacksburg that await them, not to mention a new head coach and two new coordinators -- then Dorsey will benefit.
5. Lito Shepard, CB/WR/KR, Florida
2000 stats: six INTs (1 TD), 14.0 yards per punt return (2 TDs), 22.9 yards per punt return
He's the best three-platoon player in the country and he's playing on a team expected to contend for the national championship.