SEC Football: Aaron Murray and the Top Heisman Contenders from the Conference
The SEC has produced a Heisman winner in three of the last five seasons, although Robert Griffin III interrupted a string of back-to-back winners.
If the nation's top conference is going to push forth yet another player who holds up the prestigious bronze trophy up at the end of the year, who's it going to be?
Georgia's Aaron Murray is one option, but he's by no means the only player who can win the award. In fact, he's not even the favorite from the conference.
Read on for the top Heisman contenders from the SEC.
5. Eddie Lacy
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2011-2012 Rushing Stats: 95 attempts, 674 yards, seven touchdowns
2011-2012 Receiving Stats: 11 receptions, 131 yards
If Eddie Lacy can rack up over 800 total yards and score seven touchdowns while backing up Trent Richardson, then the sky is the limit for the new starting running back for the Alabama Crimson Tide.
Although he won't average over seven yards per carry for the third season in a row, he will make quite a few backs in the nation jealous of his inevitably monstrous numbers.
With both strength and speed, Lacy will be the workhorse for the team, despite the depth of talent in Tuscaloosa.
His job will be made a bit easier this season by the presence of A.J. McCarron, who might work himself into Heisman contention as well.
4. Knile Davis
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2010-2011 Rushing Stats: 204 attempts, 1,322 yards, 13 touchdowns
2010-2011 Receiving Stats: 19 receptions, 136 yards, one touchdown
After missing all of last season with a broken ankle, Knile Davis is ready to carry the ball out of the Arkansas backfield once more.
With 12 runs of 40 yards or more during his last campaign, Davis averaged 6.5 yards per carry. Only Garrison Hearst has ever topped that mark in the SEC.
Davis recently ran through a linebacker with so much force that his teammate left the field with a concussion, and appears to be just as fast, strong and powerful as he ever was. He might even be better, with regards to all of those physical attributes.
If Davis can increase his touchdown numbers and engineer a few upsets against the SEC West powerhouses, he might find himself holding a certain bronze trophy at the end of the year.
3. Tyler Wilson
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2011-2012 Passing Stats: 63.2 completion percentage, 3,638 yards, 24 touchdowns, six interceptions
2011-2012 Rushing Stats: 60 attempts, minus-three yards, four touchdowns
Now that he has a full year of starting experience, Wilson can take a few more chances in the air and make the most of Arkansas' solid receiving core. Even without Jarius Wright and Joe Adams, the signal-caller will have plenty of options to work with.
A tough quarterback with the tools necessary to make all the throws in the books, Wilson is a great decision maker and the lack of interceptions will surely work in his favor.
If Arkansas can win the SEC—something that this version of the Razorbacks really is capable of doing—it will be thanks to Wilson.
2. Aaron Murray
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2011-2012 Passing Stats: 59.1 completion percentage, 3,149 yards, 35 touchdowns, 14 interceptions
2011-2012 Rushing Stats: 87 attempts, 103 yards, two touchdowns
If Keith Marshall and Ken Malcome can contribute heavily from the Georgia backfield, then the passing game is going to be even more open for Aaron Murray during his junior season in Athens.
The talented quarterback's mobility works to his advantage, as does the experience of having two seasons as a starter under his belt.
With a schedule that doesn't include Alabama or LSU until a potential matchup in the SEC Championship, Murray will thrive from the opening game against the newest team in the SEC until the closing contest against the bitter rivals from Atlanta.
Murray must limit the interceptions and complete passes at a level reminiscent of his freshman season, when he hit on 61.1 percent of his throws. If he can do that, the SEC's top returning quarterback will have a great chance to find himself in New York at the end of the season.
1. Marcus Lattimore
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School: South Carolina
2011 Rushing Stats: 163 attempts, 818 yards, 10 touchdowns
2011 Receiving Stats: 19 receptions, 182 yards, one touchdown
Marcus Lattimore is the clear favorite to emerge from the SEC with the Heisman Trophy in his hands. If we included all conferences, he'd rank third among all the contenders, trailing only Denard Robinson and Matt Barkley.
Despite the questionable passing offense employed by Steve Spurrier and the South Carolina Gamecocks, as well as the fact that he's returning from a season-ending ACL injury, Lattimore has way too much talent to be ranked any lower than No. 1 here.
The sheer power employed by Lattimore is ridiculous, and he has impressive burst for a player with so much physical prowess. No rushing defense—not even the best that the SEC has to offer—can keep the workhorse under 100 yards and out of the end zone for a full four quarters.
If Lattimore can stay healthy, he could post some truly historic numbers.