There are still several months until the 2012 College Football season gets underway but Heisman talk is a year-long conversation. The people over at Athlon Sports, via ESPN's PAC-12 Blog, have already released a top-25 list of conference players that could contend for the honor. It may surprise you that they've got a WSU Cougar ranked second. Per Athlon:
2. Marquess Wilson, WR, Washington State (JR)
Who is the leading returning receiver in the Pac-12? No, it's not a guy named Woods, Allen or Lee. It's Wilson with his 1,388 yards. In fact, the 6-foot-4, 190-pounder has had one of the quietest two-year starts to a career in the nation (party due to his current zip code) as he has 137 catches, 2,394 yards and 18 scores in two years. And now he has Mike Leach calling plays for him - a coach who has never had a quarterback pass for less than 3,400 yards. I got two words for you: Michael Crabtree.
Wilson's hype is growing during the offseason and I've seen his name come up quite frequently lately as potential breakout star players. In Mike Leach's vertical offense, Wilson should have the opportunity to make a name for himself as a playmaker.
Not far behind Wilson is a familiar name that you might have expected a little higher, UW QB Keith Price. Price is coming off a great 2011 season, which he capped off with a 477 yard, seven touchdown performance in a losing effort against Baylor in the Alamo Bowl. At this point though, he's only ranked fourth on their list. They explain:
4. Keith Price, QB, Washington (JR)
Steve Sarkisian has a great one in Price. In the first six games of Price's first season as the starter, all he did was lead the nation in touchdown passes with 21 scoring strikes. He set single-season Washington passing records and should only improve in his third year in Coach Sark's system. He has plenty of talent around him and multiple marquee showdowns on the schedule. If he can stay healthy - and gets some improved offensive line play - he could easily find himself in New York come December.
The top-25 list is littered with northwest players from UW, WSU, Oregon and Oregon State, so hopefully the area will be well-represented during the year when the Heisman candidates are considered.