Heisman Top 10: Big 12 Heisman Contenders


4. Oklahoma State QB Mason Rudolph

Mike Gundy and staff engineered a surprising run to the Sugar Bowl last season, occasionally throwing a two-quarterback look at opposing defenses. J.W. Walsh provided the wheels, while Mason Rudolph handled much of the passing duties.

Rudolph takes over as the sole signal-caller in 2016 and should take a step forward in production. If any Cowboy wide-outs run routs on Waverunners, Rudolph will have no trouble.

How effectively he runs, however, is an interesting question Jenni Carlson posited at Big 12 Media Days.

How Rudolph fares entrusted with more of the offense, and add an element of dual-threat to his game, could determine the Cowboys’ place in the Big 12 pecking order. The risk is high, but so is the reward: Rudolph will get the opportunity to put up Heisman-contending numbers if he delivers.

3. Oklahoma RB Samaje Perine

Samaje Perine was the second-most deserving Heisman snub a season ago on his own team last year. That may not bode well for his candidacy this go-around, though he was arguably one of the 10-15 best players in the nation in 2015.

Perine’s such an intriguing cog in the machine that is offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley’s offense. Perine flourished in 2014 under an entirely different offensive staff, and didn’t miss a beat adjusting to an air-raid inspired, hurry-up attack.

Having Perine in the backfield of Riley’s system is comparable to loading up an armored Humvee with nitrous boosters. With more touches — or greater production, a possibility given the diversity of Oklahoma’s options — Perine could become the A-1 Big 12 Heisman contender of 2016.