Matt Barkley, Geno Smith and the Top Heisman Contenders After Week 1

Kyle Casey@@kylecasey094Correspondent IIISeptember 3, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 01:  Matt Barkley #7 of the USC Trojans makes a pass during the game against the Hawaii Warriors at Los Angeles Coliseum on September 1, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

The Heisman Trophy isn't won in the first week of the college football season by any means. However, some players can set themselves apart from the rest of the pack with just one impressive performance.

Likewise, a player's Heisman candidacy can be completely derailed by a single game (see: Denard Robinson).

Here are the top five candidates for the cherished Heisman Trophy after Week 1 of the college football season.


1. Matt Barkley, QB, USC

Entering the season as the consensus front-runner for the Heisman, Matt Barkley certainly did not disappoint in Week 1.

In a win over Hawaii, Barkley threw for 377 yards and four touchdowns. If he can maintain throughout the whole season passing stats like those on he posted on Saturday, there's no reason to believe that he won't win the award.


2. Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia

The player with the best chance to unseat Barkley as the front-runner for the award is Geno Smith.

The West Virginia quarterback had one of the best performances in the country on Saturday, as he completed 32-of-36 passes for 323 yards and four touchdowns. His best attribute to help him catch Barkley is his running ability.

Smith added 65 rushing yards and a touchdown against Marshall, which certainly helps his case for the award.


3. De'Anthony Thomas, RB/WR, Oregon

The main reason why De'Anthony Thomas is considered a Heisman Trophy candidate is that he may be the most electrifying player in the country. Anytime he touches the ball, he has a chance to score, because of his unmatchable speed and quickness.

Thomas showed that speed on Saturday night, as he ran for 64 yards and a touchdown on three attempts. He also caught four passes for 55 yards and two touchdowns.

With the speed and versatility that Thomas has, there's a chance he could win the Heisman this season.


4. Taylor Martinez, QB, Nebraska

After two underwhelming seasons to begin his college career, it appears that Taylor Martinez is finally ready to burst onto the scene.

In a 49-20 win over Southern Miss, Martinez threw for 354 yards and five touchdowns. He is a dual-threat quarterback, so if he can maintain his impressive passing stats while adding production on the ground, he could certainly win the Heisman this season. 


5. Le'Veon Bell, RB, Michigan State

The player who helped his case for the Heisman most in Week 1 was Le'Veon Bell. Entering the season, Bell wasn't quite on the radar as a contender for the trophy.

But after a 210-yard rushing performance in a win on Friday night, Bell is in position to contend for the award. The only downside to Bell's campaign is that he had 44 rush attempts on Friday, and it's unlikely he'll have that many touches on a consistent basis.