The Early Heisman Watch

Sep 162003
Authors: Joelle Milholm

I know we are only three weeks into the college football season and it is probably way too early to even be thinking about who will be holding the little golden trophy at the end of the year, but it is also fairly interesting.

There is one name that is on the list that might be of some interest and that name is Bradlee Van Pelt. Sure, he is not in the top five in the Rocky Mountain News’ Heisman poll, but at least he got a vote.

And why shouldn’t he? Van Pelt is currently ranked sixth in the nation in total offense with an average of 319.7 yards a game. He has racked up 959 total yards, which comes out to an average of 8.6 yards per play. He has thrown for six touchdowns and rushed for two more.

Oh and by the way, he has only played three games and only two and a half quarters in the last one. Van Pelt is also leading the Rams offensive charge as they are currently ranked fourth in the nation in total offense by averaging 509 yards a game.

So who are the guys standing in Van Pelt’s way? Well, there is the leading vote getter, running back Chris Perry of Michigan. Perry is averaging 183 yards per game and has a total of 549. Not bad statistics for a running back, but how can Perry compare with a quarterback/running back who has over 400 more total yards than he does?

Next up is N.C. State quarterback Phillip Rivers who has looked impressive so far and guides the No. 1 passing offense in the nation. Some tougher conference games could slow his attack and allow room for Van Pelt to slide up.

Miami quarterback Brock Berlin also poses a strong treat, but Van Pelt has almost 100 more total passing yards than Berlin and since Berlin has -46 yards rushing, I’d say Van Pelt has the advantage with 140.

Missouri quarterback Brad Smith is currently No. 4 on the list, but is only averaging 222.7 yards per game and could have health problems after suffering a concussion Sept. 6.

Rounding off the top five is Miami running back Frank Gore. Van Pelt is averaging almost 70 yards less than Gore rushing, but when you factor in passing yards, Van Pelt out gains him by an average almost 200 yards per game.

Kansas State quarterback Ell Roberson, Wisconsin running back Anthony Davis, and Ohio State quarterback Craig Krenzel all dropped out of top five due to injuries last week and return dates are questionable.

There are many more guys who can work their way up into the polls and make a run for college football’s most envied statue, but I think everyone should keep an eye on the commander of the CSU Ram troops, who is not only making a name for himself, but for his team as well.

I know the chances of Van Pelt bringing the trophy home to Fort Collins is about as good as the Chicago Cubs making it to the World Series and let’s face it, as much as I want both of those things to happen, I am not going to hold my breath.

It will still be fun to watch as the 2003 college football season unfolds and we find out which players will become legends and which will end up on an ESPN version of VH1’s “Where Are They Now.” Bradlee Van Pelt could be one of those names that no one forgets any time soon.

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