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2012 Heisman Watch: Part 1

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2012 Heisman Watch: Part 1

Heisman Trophy
Rob Christy-US Presswire

It is week seven in the 2012 NCAA football season already. With the seventh week in the season comes plenty of terrific games as conference play truly begins to heat up as well as the hype surrounding the best players in the nation and which of those players could have a legitimate chance at making a serious run at the Heisman Trophy.

The Heisman Trophy has been awarded at the conclusion of every NCAA football regular season since 1935 to the most outstanding college football player whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity. Throughout the 77 years in which it has been handed out there has been just one two-time winner (Archie Griffin 1974 and 1975) and once has been vacated (Reggie Bush 2005) making it one of amateur athletics most prestigious awards having just 75 recognized recipients.

This season there are a few candidates that have jumped out to an early lead who deserve some consideration for this prestigious award and here they are in my first Heisman Watch for 2012 season.

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West Virginia QB Geno Smith

Tim Heitman-US Presswire

West Virginia Mountaineers quarterback Geno Smith is having a phenomenal season so far through the first five games which his team has played. Smith has passed for 1,996 yards (3rd in FBS), 24 touchdowns (1st in FBS) zero interceptions and completed an astonishing 81.4% of his passes (1st in FBS). For good measure he has also rushed for 66 yards and a touchdown while leading West Virginia to a 5-0 record and number five ranking in the AP Top 25.

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Michigan State RB Le'Veon Bell

Brian Spurlock-US Presswire

Michigan State Spartans running back Le'Veon Bell is a big 6'2", 244lbs runner who can not only run over opponents but can also surprise them with his quickness and agility. So far this season through six game Bell has rushed for 776 yards (6th in FBS) and seven touchdowns on 171 carries. Bell has also caught 23 passes out of the backfield for 132 yards while the Spartans have put together a 4-2 record.

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Ohio State QB Braxton Miller

Greg Bartram-US Presswire

Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback Braxton Miller is the youngest of the candidates for the Heisman Trophy so far. This season the sophomore signal caller from Huber Heights, Ohio has passed for 1,060 yards, nine touchdowns and three interceptions while completing 61.5% of his attempts. Those seem like pedestrian numbers for a Heisman candidate don't they; well they aren't when you factor in he has rushed for 763 yards and eight touchdowns on just 106 carries while leading the Buckeyes to a perfect 6-0 record so far.

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Notre Dame LB Manti Te'o

Matt Cashore-US Presswire

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are off to their best season in a decade with their 5-0 record and being ranked seventh in the AP Top 25. A major factor in their terrific season is the play of senior linebacker and captain Manti Te'o who is not only a future NFL star in the making but also the heart and soul of the team. So far this season Te'o has recorded 48 tackles, two tackles for a loss, three interceptions, a pass deflection and 28 interception return yards for the Fighting Irish.

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USC QB Matt Barkley

Kirby Lee-US Presswire

Entering the 2012 season USC Trojans quarterback Matt Barkley was the favorite to win the Heisman Trophy this season and so far he has played exceptional keeping in the race for the award. Barkley has passed for 1,308 yards and 15 touchdowns (tied for 5th in FBS) while completing 64.2% of his passes and tossing just five interceptions. Barkley has his Trojans ranked 11th in the AP Top 25 and with a 4-1 recorded looking to hopefully climb the ladder for a BCS title shot.