It's easy to pick the Player of the Year if the sport is basketball and the candidate is LeBron James or Kevin Garnett. But football always creates more of a hassle. And 2007 doesn't figure to be an exception.
Who are the leading candidates? Three players already are being touted by the nation's top analysts. And there are others who could contend for the honor before the season ends.
My choice is quarterback Terrelle Pryor of Jeannette, Pa. I give the 6-5, 217-pounder, who also rates among the top 25 basketball prospects in the country, an edge over running back Darrell Scott of Ventura, Calif., wide receiver Julio Jones of Foley, Ala., and linebacker Arthur Brown of Wichita, Kan.
Rivals.com rates Pryor, Scott and Jones 1-2-3 and describes Scott as the best running back to come out of California since Reggie Bush. Scout.com picks Brown, Pryor, Jones and Scott 1-2-3-4 while ESPN.com singles out Jones as the nation's premier player.
I think Pryor could be another Vince Young--if he chooses a school a school that will work around his enormous talent rather than fit him into a system. He is a tuck-and-run, improvise type of quarterback like Young was at Texas and 2006 Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith was at Ohio State.
Pryor told me that he will wait until the end of the season to make a decision. He said he has no favorites at this time. My guess is his choices are Ohio State and West Virginia. He wants to play football and basketball in college. He also said he is considering Alabama, Florida, Georgia Tech, Michigan, Notre Dame, Michigan State, Penn State, Tennessee and Texas.
Scott, who was held to 68 yards rushing in his first game this season, got off to an inauspicious start. But he has more than 50 scholarship offers. Florida was one of his favorites until USC's Emmanuel Moody opted to transfer there. Now Colorado, where his uncle is playing as a freshman, UCLA, Florida State and Tennessee are said to be the leaders.
If Jones decides to stay close to home, he will commit to Alabama. It would be a huge coup for new coach Nick Saban because Jones is a great player, a difference-maker. But Jones also is high on Florida State. And don't rule out Auburn.