After only one year as a starter, Jordan Lynch is getting the full support by his school, Northern Illinois, for a 2013 Heisman campaign. It's unclear how Lynch will be supported by the school – Jordan Lynch For 6 is the name of the campaign – but you can find all the latest news on Lynch through various social media sites, including this Facebook page.
Jordan Lynch is one of least talked about super-stars in college football today. MAC defenses hate him, but the national media rarely gives him the air time he deserves. After becoming the first player to pass for over 3,000 yards in a season and rush for over 1,500 in the same season, Lynch took his NIU Huskies to the first BCS game that a MAC team has ever participated in. He managed to do all of that in his first year as a starter. To add onto his list of accomplishments, he won the Vern Smith Leadership Award – which is the equivalent to the MAC's MVP award – and finished 7th in the Heisman voting.
Compared to Johnny Manziel, the now redshirt sophomore who won the Heisman in 2012, Lynch was a vastly superior runner, at least in the stat books. Manziel ran for 1,409 yards, good for 21th in the nation. Manziel was the closest quarterback to Lynch, who had 1,815 rushing yards – 406 more than Manziel – which ranked him 4th in the entire nation.
If Lynch would have played earlier in his career, who knows how good he would have been. If he would have started instead of Chandler Harnish, the 2012 7th round pick by the Indianapolis Colts, maybe he'd get the credit he deserves. It took Ben Roethlisberger, arguably the most successful MAC quarterback of all-time, three years of starting under-center before he really started to break out into the media's eyes.
The biggest question in all this is: “Can he actually contend for the trophy?” When looking at the top ten vote earners in the 2012 race, you will notice that some of the names were taken in this April's NFL Draft. Manti Te'o, Collin Klein, Tavon Austin, Kenjon Barner, and Jarvis Jones all are playing football professionally now, leaving only five of the 2012's top ten left for 2013. Johnny Manziel (last year's winner), Marqise Lee, Braxton Miller, Jaeveon Clowney, and Lynch are the returnees.
With Clowney being a defensive player, it's a long-shot that he wins. Only Charles Woodson has won the Heisman as a defensive player. No defensive ends have ever won it, as Woodson was a cornerback, who also played some offense. The same could be said of Marqise Lee, a wide receiver. Only three wide receivers have ever won the Heisman, the last being in 1991. Assuming that those two, seemingly, long-shots don't come to fruition, that puts Jordan Lynch in the top three for the returnees.
Northern Illinois's out of conference schedule goes as so: at Iowa, at Idaho, vs Eastern Illinois, and at Purdue. Playing against two Big Ten teams on the road, albeit not the cream of the the crop, will give NIU and Lynch some exposure, should they win. The matches against Idaho and Eastern Illinois are games you can likely lock up as Husky wins. If NIU can survive Iowa (who they lost to by 1 in the 2012 season opener), Purdue, and run the table on the MAC, like they did last season, Lynch and NIU will steal enough of the limelight to get their names in America's living room. Hopefully, this time they end on a higher note than a 31-10 loss, like they suffered to Florida State in last year's Orange Bowl.
Don't be surprised if the 6'1” Chicago native is back in a BCS bowl and on the Heisman ballot in 2013.