Want to know who the Heisman favorites are for 2013? Check out my top 55 list below:
Barkley will be on top of a lot of preseason lists for the Heisman. We’d like to be different, but this time being different might end up making us look stupid. Barkley’s Trojans will be on the national stage all season long, so he will have as many chances to impress voters as any other top player (if not more). It also helps that he’s considered the favorite to be the NFL’s top overall selection in 2013. Expect the USC signal caller to be in everyone’s top five all season long.
I can almost hear Clemson fans now: “He can’t even stay healthy. How can he be No. 2 on a preseason Heisman Watch list? Blah, blah, blah. Every player on this list will have to stay healthy to win the award and injuries can happen to anyone, regardless of previous injury. Lattimore will carry the load for the Gamecocks in 2012, just like he has the last two seasons. Remember, if he had not tore his ACL last season, he might have won the award. In only 6.5 games in 2011, Lattimore already had run for 818 yards and had scored 11 total touchdowns.
Why isn’t Ball No. 1? Heisman voters are going to use his breaking 2011 season against him. There’s no way Ball can run for 1,923 yards and 33 touchdowns again. If he does, I’ll personally fly to Wisconsin and deliver the Heisman Trophy to him myself. Ball will have to somehow convince voters that a 20-30 touchdown season is an accomplishment worthy of a Heisman Trophy when its following a record breaking campaign that wasn’t considered Heisman worthy (by voters).
Let’s be honest, nobody would be surprised if Jones had a bounceback season and won the Heisman Trophy. He has great opportunities against Texas, Oklahoma State, and the rest of the Big 12 to put up huge numbers on the national stage. Plus, he plays in Oklahoma’s pass heavy offense, where the run is sometimes forgotten for slinging the football around. His numbers will have to improve from 2011 though. Last year he only threw 29 TDs and 15 INTS.
5. West Virginia QB Geno Smith
Last season, Smith threw for 31 touchdowns and seven interceptions, but he did it quietly in the forgotten Big East. When he attempted 65 passes against No. 1 LSU and threw for 463 yards, he opened some eyes. His six touchdown performance against Clemson in the Orange Bowl showed that on the one of the game’s biggest stages, Smith can make great plays. Smith may be the nation’s best quarterback behind Barkley in 2012. He should put up incredible numbers this season.
Watkins emerged on the scene in 2011, sparking Clemson’s passing game with thirteen total touchdowns. Not many true freshman can walk onto a division one campus and emerge as one of the nation’s best players, but Watkins was able to do that. The receivers’ recent arrest could cause him to be suspended, which could severely hamper his Heisman Trophy hopes. The Tigers open the season against Auburn, a game that will give Clemson a chance to prove that the team is an actual contender in 2012.
Robinson will either emerge as the favorite for the Heisman after Michigan’s opening game against Alabama or he will be all but done after a loss. “Shoelace” is one of the best athletes that has ever played quarterback in college football, but he completes less passes than a five year old throwing a football for the first time. If Robinson ever learns how to throw the ball even halfway decent, Michigan will be an instant title contender in the Big Ten. If he hopes to become a real Heisman contender, Robinson will beat Alabama, learn how to throw a spiral, and continue to run the ball at a ridiculous rate.
Murray threw for 35 touchdowns and 14 interceptions last season and a lot of people are still waiting for more. Murray, now a junior, has to become more consistent in 2012. Last season, he had four games where he threw as many or more interceptions than touchdowns. Although Georgia’s offense doesn’t revolve completely around the pass like others, it is a little surprising that Murray only threw for over 300 yards in one game last season.
THE NEXT TEN TOP CONTENDERS
All of these guys play skill positions (except Matheiu) and can put up big numbers, but they all have question marks too Thomas could have a huge season without LaMichael James taking his carries, but how many carries will Kenjon Barner take? Wilson has question marks after Bobby Petrino’s firing. Woods has the preseason Heisman favorite throwing him the ball, meaning they could split votes. You could argue for or against any of the ten guys below.
9. Oregon RB DeAnthony Thomas
10. Arkansas QB Tyler Wilson
11. USC WR Robert Woods
12. LSU CB Tyrann Matheiu
13. Kansas State QB Collin Klein
14. West Virginia WR Tavon Austin
15. Virginia Tech QB Logan Thomas
16. Washington QB Keith Price
17. Alabama QB A. J. McCarron
18. Arkansas RB Knile Davis
SECOND TIER CONTENDERS
19. Nebraska QB Taylor Martinez
20. Georgia RB Isaiah Crowell
21. Nebraska RB Rex Burkhead
22. Alabama RB Eddie Lacy
23. Clemson QB Tajh Boyd
24. Tennessee QB Tyler Bray
25. Washington State WR Marquess Wilson
26. Missouri QB James Franklin
27. TCU QB Casey Pachall
28. Ohio State QB Braxton Miller
29. Oregon RB Kenjon Barner
30. Florida State QB E. J. Manuel
31. California WR Keenan Allen
32. Oregon QB Bryan Bennett
33. Iowa QB James Vandenberg
34. Tennessee WR Justin Hunter
35. North Carolina RB Giovani Bernard
36. Oklahoma WR Kenny Stills
37. Texas RB Malcolm Brown
38. Missouri RB Henry Josey
39. Penn State RB Silas Redd
40. Stanford RB Stepfan Taylor
41. Notre Dame RB Cierre Wood
42. Michigan State RB Le’Veon Bell
43. Oklahoma State RB Joseph Randle
44. Texas A&M RB Christine Michael
45. Auburn QB Kiehl Frasier
46. Michigan RB Fitzgerald Touissant
47. Northwestern Kain Colter
48. Fresno State RB Robbie Rouse
49. SMU RB Zach Line
50. Florida QB Jeff Driskel/ Jacoby Brissett
& SOME DEFENSIVE DARKHORSES
51. Georgia LB Jarvis Jones
52. Florida State DE Brandon Jenkins
53. N. C. State CB David Amerson
54. Mississippi State CB Jonathan Banks
55. Michigan State CB Johnny Adams