The Iowa football team is off to a great start and Nate Stanley is putting up fantastic numbers. Does he have what it takes to make a run at the Heisman?
Most of you reading this may laugh at the notion that an Iowa football player could possibly be in the Heisman trophy running as of right now, and you would be right. Nate Stanley is nowhere near the top five Heisman trophy candidates at this point. If Iowa continues winning, however, and Nate Stanley continues playing like he has this season, it’s not unrealistic to see him hanging out in New York for the 2018 Heisman ceremony.
A fantastic example in Iowa football history is Brad Banks. Banks came out of nowhere in 2002 to lead the Iowa football team to one of the best seasons in school history. The senior quarterback tallied 2,573 yards passing with 26 touchdowns and just five interceptions while also adding 423 yards on the ground to lead the Iowa Hawkeyes to a 11-2 record and a #8 ranking in the nation. Banks success in 2002 would lead to him becoming the Heisman runner-up to USC’s Carson Palmer.
Moreover, as it stands right now, Nate Stanley is challenging records and stats put up by another former Hawkeye great, Chuck Long who was also a runner-up for the Heisman trophy award back in 1985 to the great Bo Jackson.
So for those of you currently shaking your heads and thinking I am crazy, hear me out. It might be a little out there, but it’s not impossible.
There are no current clear-cut frontrunners for the Heisman. Many would say Tua Tagovailoa, but he’s not going to have that signature win that the Heisman committee is looking for. He is honestly hindered by the fact that his team is just so good. Kyler Murray and Will Grier both suffered recent losses that hurt their stocks, which leaves us with Dwayne Haskins who has played outstanding in Ohio State’s undefeated season thus far.
Easy, it means there is a chance, and he is beginning to make signature plays that can get committee members talking. For example, his touchdown pass to Nick Easley against Indiana where Stanley shook off a defender with ease before scrambling to find the senior wide receiver open in the corner of the end zone.
Let’s look at the criteria needed to make a Heisman run.
First, you need the stats. Check. Including the first two games of the season were Stanley got off to a slow start, his current per-game averages would equate to over 3,000 yards passing and 33 touchdowns for a 13-game (including the Big Ten Championship game) season.
Second, you need a good team. The Iowa football team is peaking at the right time and has the talent to make a run this season. They are now ranked #19 in the nation with plenty of time to continue to work their way up.
Third, you need a signature win or moment such as facing Penn State in Happy Valley or taking on Ohio State in the Big Ten conference championship game.
Fourth, you need national recognition. It started this week as Stanley collected two player of the week awards as he won the Walter Camp FBS Offensive Player of the Week award and the Big Ten Offensive Player of the week award.
I’m not saying it’s likely, but it’s also not impossible. If the cards fall right, we could be talking about Nate Stanley in the Heisman trophy conversation in December.