ESPN.com just released their first “Heisman Watch” of the 2013-2014 year and both Marcus Mariota and De’Anthony Thomas are listed on the ballot.
Mariota currently sits in fifth place while Thomas is 11th.
Part of Mariota’s 23 points, chosen by ESPN experts, are two first-place votes and a single second place vote. Thomas has only two points with a single fourth place vote being his highest nod.
ESPN experts have this to say about Mariota:
“The expectations for the sophomore from Honolulu are high after last year, when as a redshirt freshman Mariota led the Ducks to within three points of an undefeated season – Mariota has a talented team around him and plenty of opportunity to show what he can do on the national stage with early games against Virginia and Tennessee.”
Mariota threw for 2,677 yards and 32 touchdowns against six interceptions. The Ducks quarterback completed 68.5 percent of his passes and accounted for a 163.2 passer rating, tops in the Pac-12. He also proved dangerous on the ground when needed, rushing for 752 yards, five touchdowns and a staggering 7.1 yards per carry.
Last year, Thomas caught 45 passes for 455 yards and five touchdowns while rushing for 701 yards on 92 carries and 11 touchdowns. For his career, Thomas has 147 carries for 1,296 yards and 18 touchdowns and 91 receptions for 1,050 yards and 14 touchdowns.
Oregon also has ties to the third and ninth place athletes on the list. Coming in third is the reigning Heisman winner Johnny Manziel, quarterback from Texas A&M. In ninth place is Baylor running back Lache Seastrunk.
Manziel is a former Oregon commit in the same class as Mariota who changed is mind prior to enrolling and stayed in his home state. Seastrunk played for the Ducks his freshman year in 2010, but after being buried on the depth chart behind LaMichael James, Kenjon Barner and Thomas, opted to transfer closer to home in Baylor.
Topping the watch list is South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney with 55 points. Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller in second with 40 points while Manziel is third with 36 points. Rounding out the top-five is A.J. McCarron, Alabama quarterback, with 26 points and Mariota.