Trying to predict who will win the Heisman before the first game of the season even begins is next to impossible, even if there is a sure fire favorite like USC’s Matt Barkley.
Last season, Andrew Luck was that favorite everyone was crowning in August, and even though he finished second, it proves that naming the Heisman winner in August is futile.
But we will try anyway.
So here is the Rant Sports Heisman Watch. Voted on by the College Football writers here at Rant, we will update it on a weekly basis, and do our best at naming College Football’s top player.
(Note: First Place Votes in Parenthesis and scoring is based on 5-4-3-2-1 format)
5. Denard Robinson, QB, Michigan
What he did in 2011: 142-258, 2,173 yards, 20 TDs, 1,176 rushing yards, 16 rush TDs
Why he can win: Robinson is the nation’s most dynamic player and is coming off back-to-back 2,000 yards passing and 1,000 yards rushing season. If he can lead the Wolverines to a Big 10 title, then he has an excellent shot at the Heisman.
4. Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin
What he did in 2011: 307 carries, 1,954 yards, 39 total TDs
Why he can win: Stats and a Rose Bowl. Last season Montee Ball was a Heisman finalist and tied Barry Sanders record for TDs in a season with 39. He’s the key of the Badgers offense, and if he repeats last season and leads the Badgers to a Big 10 Tile once again, then Ball will once again find himself in New York City for a chance at the award.
3. Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma
What he did in 2011: 355-562, 4,463 yards, 29 TDs
Why he can win: Jones was in the mix for the Heisman up until his top target Ryan Broyles went down with injury. Then his season went downhill and Jones fell out of the race. If Jones can regain his form, Oklahoma is a good enough team and Jones is a good enough QB where he can be the third Sooners QB to hold up the Heisman.
2. Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina
What he did in 2011: 163 carries, 818 yards, 10 TDs
Why he can win: Lattimore is the most talented RB in the nation, on a good team in the SEC. That alone will get you on the radar. After having a tremendous Freshman season, Lattimore missed the team’s final 6 games in 2011 after he was off to another excellent start. If he stays healthy, Lattimore has a great chance at winning.
1. Matt Barkley, QB, USC (8)
What he did in 2011: 308-446, 3,528 yards, 39 TDs
Why he can win: He’s the signal-caller of a team stacked with NFL talent and is less than 1,00 yard away from becoming USC’s all-time leading passer. USC is the preseason #1 ranked team that will be favored in every game and has their sights set on a National Title game.
Others receiving votes: RB D’Anthony Thomas (Oregon), QB Aaron Murray (Georgia), QB Geno Smith (West Virginia), WR Sammy Watkins (Clemson), QB EJ Manuel (Florida State), QB Colin Klien (Kansas State)
Jeremy Cabler covers the NFL Draft and College Football for Rant Sports. Check out his Scouting Reports
Follow him on Twitter @JeremyCabler.