Auburn’s Marshall and Alabama’s Coker mentioned as Heisman hopefuls: Tide’s Henry and Howard tabbed as ‘break-out’ players for 2014

By Hunter Ford

Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall and Alabama quarterback Jacob Coker both made the cut for USA Today’s top ten Heisman hopefuls.

Marshall is being projected to reach 3,500 yards of total offense, and the good folks at USA Today seem to think, with a year’s experience running the HUNH, Marshall will be a very dangerous man.  Coker is designated as a “wild card” in the Heisman race.  Coker’s advantages, according to USA Today, will be the amount of talent he has around him, and the fact he will be the starting quarterback on one of the nation’s best teams.

To accentuate the point about Coker having lots of talent to help him out, Alabama running back Derrick Henry and tight end O.J. Howard, made the cut for NFL.Com’s “break-out” players to watch in 2014.   Henry is described as having a “freakish” combo of size and speed.  Henry, a sophomore, is listed at 6-3 and 238 pounds.  He should thrive with Nick Saban’s philosophy of featuring two or more running backs.  It is noted that starter, T.J. Yeldon had fumbleitis at times last season.

Howard, who is also a sophomore, and weighs in at 6-6 and 237 pounds, is described as a “mismatch” for linebackers, and even a threat to safeties trying to cover him.  Howard scored on an impressive deep route against LSU last season that looked more like Randy Moss than your average tight end.

It wouldn’t surprise me if Nick Saban would disagree with the notion that Coker is a lock to be Alabama’s starting quarterback.  Saban is not fond of pre-season depth charts.  He has chewed reporters a “new one” in the past for asking him to name pre-season starters.  Alabama’s opening opponent, however, seems to have officially announced its choice.  Clint Trickett, will start for West Virginia when the Mountaineers take on the Tide in Atlanta.

Trickett was a red-shirt junior in 2013 when he transferred from Florida State to West Virginia.  If Coker ends up as Alabama’s starter, the Seminoles will be well-represented in the Georgia Dome on August 30.