Year after year, the race for the Heisman Trophy almost always boils down to players at two different positions: running back and quarterback. 2010 will see no shortage of candidates in the former category and the Pac-10 boasts several of its own standouts in the backfield.
In the state of Oregon, there are two players getting preseason consideration: LaMichael James of Oregon and Jacquizz Rodgers of Oregon State. LaMichael burst on to the scene last year as a freshman and ran all over the conference, to the tune of 6.27 yards a carry in the Ducks' spread option attack. Rodgers was not too shabby himself, putting up a stellar 5.27 yards a carry.
Both of these guys are expected to have huge "Heisman-type" seasons, but their chances at the award really are at the mercy of the Washington State coaching staff. Will this finally be the year that Wazzu's most lethal weapon is properly utilized?
Reid Forrest has done nothing but dominate since arriving at WSU (or since arriving as an embryo in his mother's uterus). The preseason All Pac-10 pick has displayed a myriad of talents. From booming field-position (and basically game) altering punts, to having a "hand" in on nearly every single Washington State score, to playing an important role in the game-winning field goals of WSU's last two victories, Reid has been as important as any player in college football.
However, none of those accomplishments even compare to the mind-boggling rushing statistics he has compiled while wearing the Crimson and Gray.
Reid's rushing attack got off to a pretty slow start. The battle for his starting job as a freshman seemed to really take its toll. By the end of the season, Forrest was left with a meager 2.0 yards per attempt. With the weight of a position battle off his shoulders, his sophomore and junior seasons saw a great rise in effectiveness, as he posted a ridiculous TWENTY-EIGHT yards an attempt in 2008 and a still awesome 15.0 yards per carry in 2009.
Those numbers are literally impossible to argue with. Over his last two years, Reid Forrest is putting up an astonishing 21.5 YPC. No running back, not LaMichael James, Jacquizz Rodgers, Noel Devine, or even Mark Ingram, can compare to Reid's accomplishments (And lets not forget the historically bad offensive line Forrest has had to work with). He is the best player in the nation at not only one position, but TWO.
So the only question that's left is: Will Paul Wulff finally unleash the Reid Forrest show on the Pac-10? If he does, there is no doubt it will be magical. Just like any stat, those YPC numbers DO NOT LIE. The only logical explanation for his low carry numbers in past seasons is that Wulff was saving him for a year when the talent around Reid would allow his contributions to be truly game-changing.
This is that year sports fans. Be ready, the Forrest Fire is coming.
REID FORREST FOR HEISMAN