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Ranking the SEC's Top 10 Heisman Candidates for 2015

Nick Chubb

Nick Chubb

The SEC is in a two-year drought without a Heisman winner. After winning three trophies from 2007-10, the SEC has just one winner from 2011-14.

Can the SEC claim a Heisman winner in 2015? The conference has a few options among the nation’s leading candidates, especially at the running back position with Georgia’s Nick Chubb, LSU’s Leonard Fournette and Alabama’s Derrick Henry.

Quarterbacks Dak Prescott (Mississippi State) and Jeremy Johnson (Auburn) are also squarely in the mix. 

Here's a look at the top Heisman candidates from the SEC for 2015.

The Five Clear Favorites

1. Nick Chubb, RB, Georgia

Chubb was slated to spend 2014 as a backup to Todd Gurley, but an early-season suspension and torn ACL to Gurley elevated Chubb into the starting lineup. The No. 33 recruit in the 2014 247Sports Composite ensured Georgia’s rushing attack didn’t miss a beat, recording 1,547 yards and 14 scores on 219 attempts. Chubb averaged 165.4 rushing yards over the last eight games of 2014.

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2. Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU

A strong case could be made for Fournette as college football’s most talented running back. As a true freshman in 2014, Fournette rushed for 1,034 yards and 10 scores on 187 attempts. The former five-star recruit should see even more carries as LSU’s No. 1 back in 2015.

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Related: College Football's Top 50 Players for 2015

3. Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama

Henry led Alabama with 990 rushing yards and tied for the team lead with 11 touchdowns on the ground. With T.J. Yeldon off to the NFL, Henry will anchor the rushing attack for coordinator Lane Kiffin. The 6-foot-3, 242-pound running back is a handful for opposing defenses to tackle, and he’s due for his first 1,000-yard campaign in Tuscaloosa.

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4. Dak Prescott, QB, Mississippi State

Quarterbacks are always going to have an advantage in the Heisman race, and Prescott is one of the leading candidates under center in 2015. Mississippi State is losing a handful of key players from 2014, but the Bulldogs will be a factor in the SEC West title picture. Prescott guided Mississippi State to just its third double-digit win campaign in school history last year and passed for 3,449 yards and 27 scores, while adding 986 yards and 14 touchdowns on the ground.

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Related: SEC Predictions for 2015

5. Jeremy Johnson, QB, Auburn

Johnson has only two career starts, but the junior should be among the top 10-15 favorites to win the Heisman in 2015. The Montgomery native is a different quarterback than Auburn’s last starter (Nick Marshall), as the junior is more of a drop-back passer and is poised to keep Gus Malzahn’s high-powered attack among the best in the nation. No. 5 might be too low for Johnson.

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The Next Five Candidates

6. Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss

All signs point to Treadwell returning to full strength from a serious leg injury suffered in 2014. In nine games last season, Treadwell caught 48 passes for 632 yards and five scores. Quarterback play is under the spotlight for the Rebels in 2015 and will determine just how high Treadwell climbs in the Heisman discussion. He could be the best receiver in the nation in 2015.

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Related: Ranking College Football's Top 50 Players for 2015

7. Kyle Allen, QB, Texas A&M

Allen is the favorite to start for the Aggies in 2015, but touted freshman Kyler Murray will push for snaps. Allen threw for 1,322 yards and 16 touchdowns in limited action last year, with his best performance (294 yards) coming against West Virginia in the Liberty Bowl. The sophomore should have a breakout year at the controls of a high-powered offense in College Station.

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Related: SEC Breakout Players for 2015

8. Alex Collins/Jonathan Williams, RB, Arkansas

Splitting carries hurts the Heisman outlook for Williams and Collins, but both players should push for 1,000 yards in 2015. If Arkansas continues to improve in coach Bret Bielema’s third year, the stock of Williams and Collins will continue to rise.

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9. Duke Williams, WR, Auburn

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Expect to see Williams’ numbers increase in 2015 with the departure of Sammie Coates, along with the addition of quarterback Jeremy Johnson into the starting lineup. In his first year from the junior college ranks, Williams averaged 16.2 yards per catch on 45 receptions.

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11. Pharoh Cooper, WR, South Carolina

Cooper is among the nation’s top all-purpose players, averaging 108.5 total yards per game in 2014. The junior needs more help in the win column to jump into the Heisman race.

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Related: SEC Predictions for 2015

12. Joshua Dobbs, QB, Tennessee

Pencil in a Tennessee candidate here. Dobbs gets a slight nod over running back Jalen Hurd as the favorite on Rocky Top to contend for the Heisman. Dobbs threw for 1,206 yards and nine scores over the final six games of 2014.

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Three Darkhorses to Watch

Jalen Hurd, RB, Tennessee

Hurd led the team with 899 rushing yards last season but will face increased competition for carries from junior college recruit Alvin Kamara.

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Maty Mauk, QB, Missouri

Mauk has a revamped receiving corps but should be more comfortable in his second year as the starter. He threw for 2,648 yards and 25 scores in 14 games last season.

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Boom Williams, RB, Kentucky

Rising star for the Wildcats should be in for a bigger workload after averaging 6.6 yards per attempt on 74 carries last season.

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Defensive Players to Watch

(A defensive player winning the Heisman is unlikely. But here’s a look at the best candidates if a defensive player will get into the Heisman discussion).

1. Vernon Hargreaves III, CB, Florida

Hargreaves III is arguably the top cover cornerback in the nation. The junior has earned back-to-back All-SEC honors.

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2. Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee

Barnett was outstanding as a true freshman, ranking second among defenders in SEC games with 10 sacks. 

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3. Robert Nkemdiche, DT, Ole Miss

Don’t expect huge stats from Nkemdiche as the anchor of Ole Miss’ defensive line, but the junior is a force on the interior and a handful for opposing offensive linemen.

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4. Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M

Garrett ranked as one of the top prospects in the 2014 signing class and didn’t disappoint in his first year with the Aggies. Garrett recorded 11.5 sacks in 12 games last season.

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5. Reggie Ragland, LB, Alabama

Either Ragland or teammate A’Shawn Robinson deserves a mention here. The Crimson Tide should have one of the best defenses in college football.

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