Denard Robinson, Matt Barkley Likely Heisman Trophy Favorites for 2012

Dan VastaSenior Writer IIIJanuary 2, 2012

Denard Robinson, Matt Barkley Likely Heisman Trophy Favorites for 2012

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    Robert Griffin III is likely to enter the NFL Draft according to a few sources, which means we are looking at a few new or perhaps familiar faces for the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner.

    As we have hopefully all understood, the Heisman winner must be on a good enough team to go bonkers in the select few nationally televised games.

    Robert Griffin III went off against TCU, Oklahoma and Texas in his spotlight games and I highlight five guys who will get their shots.

    However, I throw in a few darkhorses on the honorable mention list since it was Griffin III and Baylor that came out of nowhere this past season.

Honorable Mention

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    Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina

    Hard to consider him a darkhorse or honorable mention, but the Gamecocks may lose three games next season since they have arguably the toughest schedule in the SEC.

    Tajh Boyd, Clemson

    Has a chance though slammin' Sammy Watkins could steal a ton of votes.

    Eddie Lacy, Alabama

    Trent Richardson will likely be gone and whether or not Barrett Jones returns like he said he will, Lacy can put up big numbers.

    James White, Wisconsin

    Under the radar back that can become a future star as he has that speed all kids coming of Florida seem to have.

    Rex Burkhead, Nebraska

    Best north-south runner in the game combined with his elusiveness.

    Keith Price, Washington

    After his Alamo Bowl performance, why wouldn't he be on this list?

    Knile Davis, Arkansas

    Barring he returns 110 percent from his ankle, this Pig Sooey can go bonkers with Tyler Wilson at quarterback.

    Tyler Wilson, Arkansas

    Coming off a First-Team All-SEC automatically puts him on this list.

    E.J. Manuel, Florida State

    The Noles need to run the table or come close for Manuel to have any shot of getting invited. He has a star receiver in Rashad Greene that may help him throw for close to 25-30 TDs.

    David Wilson, Virginia Tech*

    He should come back, but let us keep a close eye on him in the Sugar Bowl.

    Braxton Miller, Ohio State*

    He could be the Matt Barkley of this past season since the Buckeyes will not be ranked in the BCS or be playing in any sort of bowl next year.

    Tyrann Mathieu, LSU

    The "Honey Badger" may deserve to crack my Top 5, but it is impossible to do what he did in consecutive seasons. He may still be blitzing and making some plays, but the touchdowns will go down because nobody will throw it or punt it at him.

    Darron Thomas, Oregon 

    Some Duck will either get invited or come close to and I believe their signal caller has the best shot, though Kenjon Barner or DeAnthony Thomas are not bad choices.

    Others

    Collin Klein, Taylor Martinez, Casey Pachall, Mike Glennon, Geno Smith, Teddy Bridgewater, Marcus Coker, Cierre Wood and Isaiah Crowell.

Sammy Watkins

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    Sammy Watkins will be the clear-cut top choice for receiver, but it really comes down to the Clemson Tigers success. Baylor came out of nowhere to go 9-3 this season thanks to RGIII, but Clemson is likely to be ranked in the preseason top 10 next year.

    The only problem will be that Tajh Boyd, his own quarterback, may take several votes away, similar to Jason White and Adrian Peterson in 2004 or Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush

    Plus, only four wide receivers have ever won the Heisman with really just one true wideout winning it (Johnny Rodgers, Tim Brown, kick returner Desmond Howard and cornerback Charles Woodson), but Watkins has proven after one season that he is all that and more.

    Overall, his speed, athleticism, big mitts and route running is second to none and he plays in the perfect offense thanks to his offensive coordinator Chad Morris.

Aaron Murray

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    Aaron Murray has the schedule, program, talent, team around him and the national spotlight games to skyrocket up the charts in 2012.

    I was never a big fan of Murray since he struggled miserably in the Liberty Bowl two seasons ago against UCF, but he has made major improvements after his sophomore season.

    Look for him to only get better in his junior season and he may garner some preseason All-SEC and All-American status.

    Orson Charles, Isaiah Crowell, Malcolm Mitchell and Tavarres King collectively could give you the most electrifying skill set in the SEC.

    Georgia's only tough games before a possible SEC Championship would be against Florida on a neutral field, at South Carolina and at the Plains against Auburn. Survey says they may be favored in all three of those contest heading into perhaps a rematch with the Bayou Bengals where many Heisman voters will be waiting anxiously.

Landry Jones

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    Put an asterisk next to his name right now because Landry Jones has a tough decision to make on whether or not he will return to Norman or head to the NFL.

    Jones loses Ryan Broyles, but would return Kenny Stills and Jaz Reynolds as well as a plethora of other talented youngsters. The Sooners get Notre Dame at home which would likely be a highly regarded game between two such prestigious games and word is the Irish won't disappoint us yet again.

    Still, Oklahoma plays in a solid conference even though A&M and Missouri have left for the SEC. If Jones comes back and can dominate, there is not only a great chance he gets invited to New York but he may end up hoisting that 25-pound trophy.

Matt Barkley

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    There will be plenty of chances for Matt Barkley to throw for three or four TDs and 300-plus yards. He may honestly do that in nearly every single game, not that he has to.

    USC's defense is going to be legit next season and there will be a few spotlight games for Barkley to shine. He will be gracing a bit of that Andrew Luck hype where he will be expected to win the award since he is the clear-cut favorite.

    Going up against Notre Dame and Oregon (twice most likely) will give him those three nationally televised games that he must go off in to have a chance against my No. 1 guy.

Denard Robinson

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    Give me Denard Robinson and the Michigan Wolverines in 2012, but be wary of their first opponent in the 2012 college football season.

    Nick Saban and his defense will battle Shoelace at Dallas Cowboys Stadium in what will likely be a battle between two Top 10 teams. An early loss would likely crush Robinson's chances because he will not be going up against stellar competition every single weekend.

    A win over Alabama and he will get three more national spotlight games to go crazy in front of America. Going to South Bend and knocking off a likely ranked Irish team will help a bit, but going up against the Buckeyes in Columbus and against the Big Ten Leaders champion towards the end of the season would seal the deal (Wisconsin or Penn State is likely).

    Robinson and Michigan must be inside the Top 10 and perferably the Top 5. However, one loss would not derail his chances, in fact he would be looking pretty if his Maize and Blue only had one loss after the season.

    The key is gaining momentum towards Thanksgiving and winning those two pivotal games which would give Ann Arbor and the winningest program in college football history its fourth ever Heisman winner.