NCAA Football: Why Stanford’s Kevin Hogan is A Dark Horse for the Heisman


In 2012, several redshirt freshmen took the football world by storm.

Marcus Mariota led his Oregon Ducks to a 12-1 record and a No. 2 ranking. Brett Hundley turned UCLA into one of the most impressive teams in the Pac-12. Everett Golson took his Fighting Irish to the national championship game.

And, of course, Johnny Manziel’s Heisman Trophy-winning season.

November 30, 2012; Stanford, CA, USA; Stanford Cardinal quarterback Kevin Hogan (8) passes the ball during the first quarter of the Pac-12 Championship game against the UCLA Bruins at Stanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

However, each of those freshman quarterbacks started from the beginning of the 2012 season onward. In that respect, Stanford’s Kevin Hogan was something of an exception among these newcomer phenoms.

After Josh Nunes had earned the starting nod on opening night against San Jose State, it appeared that the battle to replace Andrew Luck was over.

However, after struggling against division foes such as Washington and Washington State, David Shaw decided to replace Nunes with Hogan, the redshirt freshman who had a knack for winning games.

Hogan played the part of a magician on the field. After entering the game midway through the Cardinal’s matchup against Colorado, he led his team to a 48-0 victory.

The next week, during his first career start, Hogan’s Stanford team beat the No. 11-ranked Oregon State Beavers 27-23, sparking a five-game winning streak, each over ranked teams. This included the conference championship game over UCLA and the Rose Bowl over Wisconsin.

Hogan proved himself in all aspects of the game. He was nearly impossible to bring down in the pocket, escaping sure sacks to create positive plays on a consistent basis.

His arm was impressive, but he was just as effective with his feet. The freshman rushed for 263 yards and a pair of scores through those games as well.

Stanford is losing some key offensive weapons from a year ago including running back Stepfan Taylor and tight ends Zach Ertz and Levine Toilolo. However, Hogan could not be stopped by a single team that he faced, including the Oregon Ducks, a team that seemed to be on its way to the national championship game before the freshman was through with them.

Those offensive losses may actually improve Hogan’s shot at the Heisman Trophy, forcing him into an even larger role on the offense in 2013.

Either way, should the Cardinal continue their winning ways during the upcoming season, which should be the case with Shaw at the helm, expect Hogan’s magic to shoot him up to the top of the list of Heisman candidates as the season wears on.