If Coleman wants Heisman, here’s what he — and Baylor — must do

Corey Coleman can help his Heisman candidacy, but he'll need some assistance from his team, too.

Raymond Carlin III/Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

Editor’s note: The following is an excerpt from Stewart Mandel’s Nov. 11 Mailbag. For his full Mailbag, click here, and to submit a question for next week, email Stewart.Mandel@fox.com.

As regards the Heisman, it seems you mentioned everyone and their mothers for contending teams in this wide-open race, but you leave out Baylor’s Corey Coleman? With a true freshman QB making his first start, Coleman goes out and grabs two TDs and 200+ yards. He could shatter the record for most TD catches with 20 already. He belongs in the conversation as much as Henry, Elliott and others.

–J. Kyle Ferguson, Arkadelphia, Ark.

I’ve had him in my Top 5 for several weeks, so I’m not sure I’m the one you should be taking umbrage with, but I’ll address it anyway. For whatever reason, it’s been very hard for Big 12 receivers to get serious Heisman traction in the past. In 2007, Texas Tech’s Michael Crabtree had a staggering 134 catches for 1,962 yards and 22 touchdowns (including the bowl game) and did not even crack the Top 10. Three years later, Oklahoma State’s Justin Blackmon had 111 catches for 1,782 yards and 20 TDs. I put both on my ballots, but neither made it to New York. Only last season did Alabama’s Amari Cooper break an 11-year finalist drought for receivers, and it took him catching a staggering 124 catches for 1,727 yards and 16 TDs.

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But Cooper had two things going for him the others didn’t: He played for the No. 1 team in the country at the time of the vote, and that team was Alabama.

For much the same reasons, Coleman has a realistic shot. Baylor isn’t the historic power of Alabama, but it’s one of the most respected programs in the sport today. It’s in the thick of playoff contention. But most notably of all, Coleman is already on every list, and he has not even yet played in a legit big game. If he puts up his usual big numbers and makes his customary highlight plays in upcoming games against No. 12 Oklahoma, No. 8 Oklahoma State and No. 15 TCU, he could well win the thing. But Baylor will need to win them.

I realize the Heisman is an individual award, but going forward, I believe the Heisman winner will almost always come from one of the four playoff teams because of the increased attention on those teams’ late-season games. And that’s going to be especially true for a non-quarterback.

Stewart Mandel is a senior college sports columnist for FOXSports.com. He covered college football and basketball for 15 years at Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter @slmandel and Facebook. Send emails and Mailbag questions to Stewart.Mandel@fox.com.