Bam, right on the front. The Toledo Spring Prospectus had Logan Woodside and Cody Thompson on the cover. That wasn’t shocking, considering the season they both had last year. What was shocking were the titles, “Heisman Trophy Candidate” under Woodside, and “Biletnikoff Award Candidate” under Thompson.
My initial reaction was, “I like the bravado. No chance in hell, but nice chutzpah.” It’s been about a week since the prospectus was released, and I have given it a ridiculous amount of thought. I mean, I suppose it could happen, right?
Let’s look at Thompson first, since there is precedence. The good: Randy Moss won the Biletnikoff out of the MAC. The bad: it was 20 years ago, Randy Moss was already in the national consciousness before he ever stepped on a college field, and it was Randy freaking Moss.
Thompson had a fantastic season last year, with 1269 yards and 11 touchdowns. He also averaged a whooping 19.8 yards per reception. That wasn’t good enough to be a finalist. It wasn’t good enough to be a semifinalist.
Again looking to the past to check his chances, there has been a G5 finalist 2 of the last three seasons. Sounds good, right? Wrong. Last year, Zay Jones had 1746 yards, and didn’t win. Three years ago, Rashard Higgins had 1750 yards and 17 touchdowns and didn’t win. The guy from a small school gets noticed, but hasn’t won since a year after Moss.
Certainly Thompson has the potential to put up those kinds of numbers. Michael Roberts is headed to the NFL, and taking his 16 touchdowns with him. That will certainly give Thompson more targets, especially in the red zone. Corey Jones, another leading receiver, is also gone.
Another big bonus for Thompson is that Logan Woodside, who led the country in touchdown passes, is back. Now let’s look at his chances.
The Heisman loves the big name program. The last small school guy to win was Ty Detmer in 1990. Detmer set 42 NCAA records, and tied 5 more that season. For that type of season, Detmer was rewarded with 43% of the first place votes. 42 records, and 57% of the voters didn’t vote for him number 1.
That’s the preconceived prejudice that Woodside is facing.
So what are their actual chances? Extremely slim for Thompson, almost non-existent for Woodside.
For Thompson to win, he has to put up ridiculous numbers, and hope no one at a big school puts up even 1100 yards.
For Woodside to win, he needs to do something never seen before. Ty Detmer was part of the new wave of college football that passed the ball in unprecedented numbers. Andre Ware won the year before at Houston. I don’t see coach Jason Candle reinventing the wheel this year, considering the success he had last year.
Woodside was receiving some love from some of the national media last season, and there was a shot that with a huge game against Western Michigan he could have been a Heisman finalist. Another thing working in his favor, Toledo plays the other Miami early in the year. A big game there could put him in the discussion early. I still don’t think it will happen, regardless of what Woodside does on the field.
That being said, the prospectus was technically right. I think with great years, both will be candidates. They just aren’t likely to win. That’s the G5 life. Luckily the NFL doesn’t have the same prejudices as the college award circuit. NFL scouts know there is talent throughout college football.