Devin Gardner and the Wolverines open the season Aug. 30 against Appalachian State. (John T. Greilick / Detroit News)
Last year at this time, Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner was on a number of preseason Heisman Trophy watch lists.
That isnít the case this year, as Gardner spent the 2013 season behind an inexperienced and often ineffective offensive line. The result was a 7-6 season in which Gardner completed 60.3 percent of his passes and threw for 21 TD, but also had 11 interceptions and was sacked 34 times.
College football expert Phil Steele offered up his Heisman favorites on ESPN.com (pay site) on Wednesday, and while Gardner isnít on the list, seven of the 10 are quarterbacks. A quarterback has won the Heisman in 12 of the 14 years, including 2013, when Florida Stateís Jameis Winston took home the trophy.
Michigan State QB Connor Cook and RB Jeremy Langford, coming off impressive seasons for the Big Ten champions, could be considered darkhorse Heisman candidates, but they too did not make Steeleís list.
PHIL STEELEíS HEISMAN FAVORITES
1. QB Marcus Mariota, Oregon
2. QB Jameis Winston, Florida State
3. QB Braxton Miller, Ohio State
4. QB Bryce Petty, Baylor
5. RB Todd Gurley, Georgia
6. QB Brett Hundley, UCLA
7. QB Nick Marshall, Auburn
8. RB T.J. Yeldon, Alabama
9. QB Trevor Knight, Oklahoma
10. RB Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin