Will a Mountain West player ever win the Heisman trophy?

Jeff Zelevansky

The Mountain West has had just one Heisman trophy finalist in the leagues history, but will the league ever have a winner.

The 2012 Heisman trophy will be awarded to Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel Saturday night. Don't believe me? Just go check out StiffArmTrophy.com, they have all the answers.

Now with that out of the way, the question leads to will there ever be a Mountain West player to win the Heisman trophy. The closest came in 2004 when Utah quarterback Alex Smith was a finalist for the Heisman trophy, but everyone knew that Smith had no chance. That year the field featured USC quarterback Matt Leinart (who won), Oklahoma running back Adrian Petersen, Oklahoma quarterback Jason White and USC running back Reggie Bush.

That year Smith had most everything going his way by leading Utah to an 11-0 season, and becoming the first non-BCS team to reach a BCS bowl game.

We all know that if a Mountain West player is to even get an invite to New York City to be a finalist, they will need to put up gaudy stats. Just look back at David Carr who put up monstrous stats and did not even get an invite, but he did finish fifth.

To take a look into the future we can see if there are a few Mountain West players that might have a shot of earning a nod to New York City, and maybe even possibly becoming the first school from a non-power league since BYU's Ty Detmer won the award in 1990.

Here are the candidates that could possibly earn that distinction:

David Carr, QB, Fresno State: Could the younger Carr sibling do what his older brother could not? It is possible, especially since his receiving corp is amazing with freshman Davante Adams and Isaiah Burse. Plus, Carr led the Mountain West in passing yards with 3,742 and threw 36 touchdowns to just five interceptions, and that number was good for eighth nationally. He will need to have his team go undefeated and crack 4,000, and 40 passing touchdowns to be in consideration. Carr has just the 2013 season to achieve this feat.

Stefphon Jefferson, RB, Nevada: His stats for the 2012 season were at the top in the nation, and yet Jefferson was not even a finalist for the Doak Walker Award, which is given out to the nation's best running back. This season he rushed for 1,703, and is in contention to be the nation's leading rusher. He will even do it in 13 games, whereas a two of the top four had the benefit of a conference title game. Jefferson also tied for second in rushing touchdowns with 22. Basically, Nevada needs to win more games, and make it a BCS game in 2013. Improving off of those numbers will be difficult, but in Chris Ault's pistol offense, it is possible to rack up some more numbers. 2,000 rushing yards and 30 touchdowns should be enough.

Cody Fajardo, QB, Nevada: Fajarado was only a sophomore in 2012, so he will have two more chances to possibly earn the Heisman trophy. At his early stage it can be argued that he is better than Collin Kapernick, and that is huge praise. Fajardo is a dual-threat quarterback that can be compared to Johhny Manziel or Collin Klein. This year he rushed for 981 yards and 11 touchdowns. plus he threw for 2,530 yards, 17 touchdowns but did have seven picks. Fajarardo will need to add about 1,000 passing yards, and about 250 more rushing yards to be in the discussion.

Brett Smith, QB, Wyoming: This is a darkhorse shot, but Smith has the talent to play at the NFL level. He just needs more talent around him to make sure his team is good, as well as having quality receivers. Smith is a sophomore so he will have a few more years to get better -- along with his team. It will take a monster season to get a player from Wyoming even in consideration.

Davante Adams, WR, Fresno State: Going for Adams is that he was the best freshman receiver in all of college football, and blew away all Mountain West wide receivers. He had 89 receptions for 1,168 yards and 13 touchdowns. Nationally he was top 15 in all of those categories, however if USC's Marquis Lee could not get an invite with 1,680 yards and 14 touchdowns. Adams will need to put Randy Moss numbers where he had 1,647 yards and 25 touchdowns, plus he returned punts and kicks reasonably well. If Adams does get to returning kicks then he may have an outside shot.

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