Is Colorado’s Laviska Shenault a legit Heisman Trophy candidate? An expert weighs in


The Pac-12 has produced a handful of unexpected Heisman contenders of late, but none quite like Colorado’s sophomore receiver, Laviska Shenault Jr.

* He doesn’t play one of the Heisman’s favored positions; he’s not a quarterback or tailback.

* He toils for a second-tier program; the Buffaloes haven’t been a powerhouse since ‘Cheers.’

* He had no foundation of success: Last year, Shenault caught all of seven passes.

The conference’s unexpected Heisman contenders of recent years, USC’s Marqise Lee (’12), Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey (’15), Washington’s Jake Browning (’16) and Stanford’s Bryce Love (’17), each fit at least one of those key categories.

(Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota was a preseason favorite, not a dark horse, when he won the trophy in 2014.)

Yet here’s Shenault, part of the conversation at the season’s midway point — his flabbergasting rise fueled in equal parts by attention-demanding production, Colorado’s smart use of his immense skills, and a series of easy-pickins opponents.

As the Buffaloes hit the toughest stretch of their schedule, Shenault ranks fifth in The Athletic’s straw poll, sixth in USA Today’s Heisman Watch and seventh in the ESPN version.

What’s the likelihood he stays in the race?

What must transpire in order for Shenault to grab an invitation to New York for the ceremony?

Could he conceivably, possibly win the thing?

For context, the Hotline turned to an expert, the man who wrote the book on the Heisman: Cory McCartney, an Atlanta-based reporter for Fox Sports and author of ‘The Heisman Trophy: The Story of an American Icon and its Winners‘.

McCartney broke down Shenault’s unique situation and the various dynamics around the country that could impact his candidacy.

Working for Shenault: The Buffs’ upcoming schedule.

Soft early, it now turns wicked with a date Saturday night at USC and then a trip to …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Sports


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