2010 Heisman Hopeful Countdown: No. 7 Houston QB Case Keenum
Here’s our No. 7 selection, Houston senior quarterback Case Keenum.
It’s a question that faces Heisman voters and prognosticators ever year.
Can a quarterback in an overwhelmingly pass-happy offense be given legitimate Heisman consideration even if their statistics are an obvious product of their system?
In years past, Graham Harrell, Timmy Chang, Colt Brennan and Kliff Kingsbury have seemingly been hurt by a perception of statistical inflation despite their unbelievable offensive output.
In 2010, the thought process of Heisman voters will once again be put to the test when they have to evaluate another in a line of gaudy passers, Houston’s Case Keenum.
Keenum, as the face of both his Cougar squad and Conference USA, gained some Heisman support down the stretch of the 2009 season, eventually seeing his grassroots support campaign and 5,000-plus passing yards garner him an eighth place finish in last year’s Heisman voting.
But if Keenum wants to make an even bigger impression in 2010, he’s going to have to do more than just throw for 5,000 yards for a record third-straight season and bring Houston to another ten-victory season.
He’ll have to do it at an even higher level than he has in seasons past, which means eclipsing the 44 touchdowns he’s thrown each of the past two seasons and throwing far fewer than the 15 interceptions he submitted in ’09.
Keenum has the targets on offense to help him towards his goal, as the Cougars return three 1,000-yard receivers, but some may argue the only reason the receivers are as productive as they are is because of Keenum’s efficiency and production.
Still, senior James Cleveland and juniors Tyron Carrier and Patrick Edwards will have a lot to do with whether Keenum can improve on his two second-place and three third-place votes from last year’s Heisman balloting.
Bottom Line: Keenum will likely need to approach a variety of single-season passing records — including touchdowns (58) and passing yards (5,833) — if he wants any shot at the trophy this season. Even the people who hold those records, Colt Brennan and B.J. Symons respectively, were never realistic Heisman contenders in their record setting years (although Brennan was a finalist), so it’ll be an uphill climb for Keenum.
But if he can put together a season where the numbers come close to records, while keeping his interceptions down and leading the Cougars to an 11-win or better season, it would be truly hard to keep Keenum out of the Heisman conversation in 2010.
←2010 Heisman Hopeful Countdown: No. 8 Arkansas QB Ryan Mallett