PLAYERS WHO COULD KEEP JOHNNY MANZIEL FROM ANOTHER HEISMAN
NO. 3, LACHE SEASTRUNK
Since 1999, only one non-quarterback has won a Heisman. But that one was a running back (Mark Ingram), so there is a little Heisman hope for the guys who carry the ball.
Ka'Deem Carey of Arizona is coming off a very productive year. Alabama's T.J. Yeldon and Georgia's Todd Gurley were great as freshmen last year and should be even better this season. Kent State's Dri Archer and Oregon's De'Anthony Thomas are hybrid players who are exciting and capable of huge years.
But if there's one running back who can get the voters to look past the quarterback position this season, we think it's Lache Seastrunk.
The last half of the 2012 season was a true breakout for the Baylor back. The former Oregon recruit wasn't really used in the first half of the season. Through seven games he had 29 carries. When Seastrunk got his shot, it was phenomenal.
The only time Seastrunk didn't rush for 100 yards in the final six games was a 15-carry, 91-yard and three-touchdown effort at Oklahoma. He had 185 yards in an upset of Kansas State and 178 yards against Oklahoma State. He finished with 138 yards in a bowl win against UCLA. He never had more than 20 carries in a game, making his late-season production that much more impressive.
And the fact that Seastrunk is one of the fastest and most exciting players in college football will be great for his exposure. He's fun to watch. Remember the time Seastrunk pulled his hamstring at midfield and still outran Oklahoma State's defense to the end zone?
Seastrunk has the potential to get close to a 2,000-yard season, which would put him right in the race. The pace of his final six games prorated over a 13-game season is 1,800.5 yards, and last season he didn't have the benefit of fattening up his stats against some easy non-conference foes. Given a year to improve, a year for brilliant Baylor coach Art Briles to scheme up ways to get Seastrunk the ball in space and the knowledge he will be the lead back from opening day on, the pieces are in place for Seastrunk to have the type of season to generate a Heisman buzz.
There are some questions surrounding him, most notably whether he can hold up over an entire season or handle more than 20 carries in a game. He is bulking up, which is a good sign. CBSSports.com reported that Seastrunk is up to 210 pounds, and in the process he has improved his vertical leap to more than 44 inches and added five inches to his broad jump, which is 11-4. And he runs a 4.36-second 40-yard dash. Seastrunk also has just six good games in his career, so we're still dealing with a pretty small sample size in trying to project what he can do. It also would benefit him if he could pile up some receiving stats, but Briles' offense doesn't often use the running back in the passing game.
If it all comes together, and Seastrunk's 2012 second half carries over, he proves durable enough to compile huge numbers and provides enough big-play highlights, voters will notice. Then they'll most likely vote for a quarterback anyway.
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