The Heisman trophy is the most coveted award in all of college football, perhaps in all college sports. It certainly has the most prestige to it, the most familiarity. In this ten part mini-series, I am going to introduce you to the top ten Heisman hopefuls in America so that you can get familiar with them just in time for Spring football.
RB Bryce Love, Stanford
Bryce Love was already a Heisman finalist in 2017, falling short to Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield. The successor of great running back Christian McCaffrey, he had a phenomenal season in his first year as a full time starter. Rushing for 2118 yards and 19 touchdowns, Love is a blue chip prospect entering the 2019 NFL Draft. This will be Love’s senior season, and his last in college football.
Love struggled last season with an ankle injury, which makes his feat all the more impressive. He ran for over 180 yards four times last season, including a 263 yard performance against Stanford and a 301 yard breakout the following week against Arizona State.
Love can put up the numbers, but why else is he in this race for the Heisman?
Elite level running back skill
Love has elite level athleticism as well as speed. He has the natural gift to outrun a secondary once he breaks free. Bryce is also blessed with the gift of field vision, which allows him to maneuver through tight spaces and see the open field. Not only can he get away once he breaks past the line, but he can get away himself.
Love has that it factor. He’s a big play threat every time he touches the ball and can take it the distance. He averaged 8.1 yards per carry last season, so he is reliable too. Not only can he bust it, but he can get you five yards on a first down carry. It’s rare to see those two traits combined into one player this day and age.
Supportive offensive line
Unfortunately, Love isn’t a big guy. Listed at 5’10” and 196 pounds, Love isn’t going to break tackles and smash through a line. At Stanford, he really doesn’t have to. He has a great offensive line to support him.
Stanford prides itself in being a physical team in the trenches and often times recruits the bigger lineman where most other teams recruit the bigger running back. Look how it pays off. Stanford has seen so much success over the years because the good, smart running back wants to play for Stanford, knowing that he will have support. By recruiting linemen, Stanford doesn’t put as much effort into recruiting splash players because they recruit themselves.
Bryce Love has so much experience as a senior on the team. He has missed exactly one game in his three years, and compiled 3126 rushing yards to 26 touchdowns. You could easily say that he has seen it all, playing at least once against every PAC-12 team.
It’s easy to sleep on a running back going into the season, but this young man won’t be overlooked. He is such a viable threat that it is frightening to think how he could tear up college football this season. As long as he stays healthy this year, we will be seeing more great things to come of Bryce Love.
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