I'd like to be pimps from Oakland or cowboys from Arizona but it's not Halloween. Grow up Peter Pan, Count Chocula. - John Beckwith
We all had a great time with Pete's piece that Stefon Diggs was going to win the Heisman. I did, you did, we all did.
Unfortunately for all of us, Maryland is too far off the national radar to begin the season for Diggs' candidacy to be met with any real merit. I don't want to hear that Robert Griffin III and Baylor came out of nowhere and went 10-3, en route to his Heisman Trophy season. That team beat three ranked teams along the way, and RGIII started the season with more touchdowns than incompletions through the first five weeks.
I don't know what the equivalent of that is to a receiver. I do know, however, that Tavon Austin set the NCAA record for all-purpose yards by a receiver last year, with about 229 yards per game, and he wasn't invited to New York.
For argument's sake, let's say he stays at or near Marqise Lee's 206 all-purpose yards per game pace. Lee wasn't a serious contender last year, and that was with a top-ten season all-time by a receiver. It would take an astronomical season from Diggs to even be a candidate, so what are his biggest obstacles?
1) His position
You will notice how Austin and Lee put up these insane seasons and yet they received no serious Heisman coverage? Lee finished a very distant fourth-place, and Austin was in an even more distant eighth-place. Two of the top-ten seasons of all-time came in the same year, and neither were serious contenders.
The receiver position just isn't a serious threat for the Heisman, and as Pete pointed out it's only happened three times. Quarterbacks and running backs dominate the award for a reason, so history is his biggest obstacle.
2) His team
What else do Lee and Austin have in common? Their team's just weren't very good. I think we can all agree seven wins would be a good year for Maryland this year, but you aren't going to have a Heisman winner on a seven-win team.
Even with a real-life quarterback throwing him the ball this year, for (knocking on wood) the entire year, Diggs will still struggle to garner the type of support from the voters because of the lack of team success.
3) His teammates -- more specifically, Deon Long
Long set JuCo records last year and he came to Maryland because he would have an opportunity to start immediately. Sure, other factors were involved, but Long saw the offense Maryland ran, and thought "Hmm, I think I could be a good fit here."
Diggs won't be alone this year, but even with defenses keying in on him trying to take him out of games, he still managed to set the second-best all-purpose yardage season by a freshman last year. Long will help take pressure off him, but he'll also take targets away as well.
The Maryland offense will be much improved this year, and will probably be trailing a few games or in shoot-outs that require a lot of passing, but ultimately even a record-setting season likely wouldn't be enough.
4) His importance to the offense
As we all witnessed last year, Diggs could turn water in to wine anywhere on the field. What that also meant was his need to be rested, combined with his reluctance to fair-catching punts, led to him being taken off the punt return unit towards the end of the season.
Dexter McDougle and a hodgepodge of others took their turns at the end of the season returning punts. With more options this year, namely Long, it's less likely we see Diggs returning punts, if at all.
Listen, I'd settle for a nice Biletnikoff Award nomination, a second team All-American spot and a healthy season. No pressure.