Each week I will evaluate the Heisman Trophy race with a top 5 list compiled of the nation’s best offensive football players, in my opinion. On most occasions the Heisman winner is synonymous with the teams involved in the BCS national championship race. Therefore, my rankings will be intertwined with the AP Top #25 rankings each week. This is the time of the year when teams and players start getting down to business. Here is a look at the ranks from last week…
1) Marcus Lattimore, RB (South Carolina)
2) LaMichael James, RB (Oregon)
3) Russell Wilson, QB (Wisonsin)
4) Andrew Luck, QB (Stanford)
5) Robert Griffin III, QB (Baylor)
A lot has transpired over the last week, therefore my rankings look a bit different this week. This is college football for you. Every time a ranked team loses or a player in my top 5 has a poor showing, they automatically will fall down on my list a bit. For example, Andrew Luck fell off my list from last week because Stanford had a bye week. However, if he plays like we know he can this week, he should be right back in the mix. If a team falls out of contention, the players chances of winning the Heisman decrease over time as well. Now, for my Heisman candidate rankings entering week five of the college football season…
1) LaMichael James, RB (#9 Oregon, 3-1)
My pick to win the Heisman is showing people why as we begin to enter conference play. LaMichael exploded last week in Oregon’s first Pac 12 game of the season against Arizona. James rushed 23 times for an insane 288 yards and two touchdowns, as the Ducks cruised to victory. LaMichael leads the NCAA in rushing with 613 yards and seven TD’s. Not only is James a great running back, but he has gamebreaking speed that makes him a threat to score every time he touches the rock. I honestly believe LaMichael James is the best running back in all of football…including the NFL! You heard me! James could enter the NFL next week, and cast huge numbers immediately. He is Chris Johnson with better vision and pass catching skills. Right now, it is his award to lose. However, it is very early in the season and anything can happen.
2) Russell Wilson, QB (#7 Wisonsin, 4-0)
Yes, he has played very weak opponents in each of his first four contests. However, most of his impressive numbers have been posted in the first half of games. He has played less minutes and taken less snaps then every player on this list. If that isn’t impressive, I don’t know what is then. The Badger has thrown for 1,136 yards through the air for 11 touchdowns and just one interception. He also is leading one of the best teams in the nation to a #6 ranking and undefeated season. His first true test will come this Saturday night under the national spotlight against #8 Nebraska. Wilson has also rushed for over 100 yards and a TD in limited action.
3) Robert Griffin III, QB (#15 Baylor, 3-0)
Hello Robert. Welcome to the top 3 for the Heisman Trophy. Griffin III is a man amongst boys, making his competition look like pee-wee players. Last week, the Baylor signal caller combined for six touchdowns against the Rice Owls. No matter how weak a team may be, to be a part of six scores in a game is legendary. Griffin III threw for 338 yards through the air and five touchdowns without an interception. He also ran for 51 yards on the ground and scored a touchdown. Robert has thrown for 962 yards and 13 touchdowns without an interception in 2011. If he keeps up this incredible pace, move out of the way Russell Wilson.
4) Marcus Lattimore, RB (#10 South Carolina, 4-0)
The sophomore stud is posting incredible numbers so far this season, even with his pedestrian week last Saturday, rushing for just 77 yards off 20 carries and one touchdown. Lattimore has 611 rushing yards, just two yards behind James, on a BCS-high 107 rushing attempts in 2011. He has eight touchdowns on the ground, alongside his 5.7 yard per carry average. If teams don’t figure out how to slow down Lattimore, they will not be able to slow down #10 South Carolina this season.
5) Sammy Watkins, WR (#13 Clemson, 4-0)
Last week I placed Sammy on my “just missed list.” After his outstanding performance against a very tough Florida State team, he is now ranked fifth on my list. Watkins grabbed eight balls for 141 yards and two touchdowns against the highly touted Seminoles defense Saturday afternoon. The freshman is doing unreal things in his first year in college as exemplified by his gaudy numbers this season. Sammy Watkins has 29 receptions for 433 total yards, including his six touchdowns as he leads a highly prolific Clemson offense. As long as the Tigers remain undefeated and Sammy has Boyd throwing passes to him, I don’t see Watkins slipping off my list this season. He will be my frontrunner for the Heisman in 2012, I guarantee that.
Just Missed The List, But On The Rise….Andrew Luck, QB (Stanford) Justin Blackmon, WR (Oklahoma State) Trent Richardson, RB (Alabama) Tajh Boyd, QB (Clemson) Taylor Martinez, QB (Nebraska) Denard Robinson, QB (Michigan)