Early Favorites for Heisman Trophy and College Football's Biggest Awards

Randy ChambersAnalyst ISeptember 12, 2012

Early Favorites for Heisman Trophy and College Football's Biggest Awards

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    We may only be two weeks into the college football season, but it is never too early to begin predicting who is going to win this year’s major awards. Of course, the favorites can change over the course of the season, but we seem to have a good general idea of who the top candidates are judging by last year’s performance and the first two regular-season games.

    Award such as the Heisman Trophy, Maxwell Award, Walter Camp Award and Doak Walker Award are just some of the most prestigious awards college football has to offer. 

    While there are still months left to this season, here are the top five candidates for each major college football award, if the season was to end today.

John Mackey Award

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    1. Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington

    2. Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame

    3. Chris Gragg, TE, Arkansas

    4. Philip Lutzenkirchen, TE, Auburn

    5. Jacob Pedersen, TE, Wisconsin

     

    The John Mackey Award is presented annually to college football's most outstanding tight end.

    Austin Seferian-Jenkins had one of the best seasons in Washington history as a freshman, racking up 41 receptions for over 500 yards and six touchdowns.

    In just two games in his sophomore season, the tight end has 15 receptions for 133 yards. With him being the primary weapon in this Huskies offense, expect those numbers to increase dramatically.

Butkus Award

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    1. Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame

    2. Jarvis Jones, LB, Georgia

    3. Chris Borland, LB, Wisconsin

    4. Dion Bailey, LB, USC

    5. Nico Johnson, LB, Alabama

     

    The Butkus Award is presented annually to the nations' top college linebacker.

    Te'o has been the most consistent player on Notre Dame for the last two seasons, and he seems to be on the right path again this year.

    Instead of leaving early for last year's NFL draft, the senior linebacker already has 16 tackles, one interception and a fumble recovery. He is a difference-maker for this Irish team and makes plays all over the football field.

Jim Thorpe Award

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    1. Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas

    2. David Amerson, CB, North Carolina State 

    3. Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State 

    4. Eric Reid, S, LSU

    5. Tony Jefferson, S, Oklahoma

     

    The Jim Thorpe Award is awarded to the nation's top defensive back.

    Kenny Vaccaro really made a name for himself last season, finishing the year with 71 tackles, two sacks, two interceptions and eight passes broken up.

    With two key candidates no longer in the running for this award in Tyrann Mathieu (dismissed) and John Boyett (injury), the field loses a little bit of its depth. Already, Vaccaro has 13 tackles and an interception.

Bednarik Award

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    1. Jarvis Jones, LB, Georgia

    2. Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU

    3. Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame

    4. Chris Borland, LB, Wisconsin

    5. Eric Reid, S, LSU

     

    The Chuck Bednarik Award is presented annually to the nation's best defensive player.

    Jarvis Jones is picking up where he left off last season, racking up 16 tackles and 2.5 sacks in the first two games. He even had a key interception in the game against Missouri, helping lock up another victory for the Bulldogs.

    With his season looking a lot like last year's, there is nobody that can take this award from him.

Outland Trophy

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    1. Barrett Jones, OL, Alabama

    2. Alex Hurst, OL, LSU

    3. Luke Joeckel, OL, Texas A&M

    4. Star Lotulelei, DL, Utah

    5. Taylor Lewan, OL, Michigan

     

    The Outland Trophy is awarded to the nation's best interior lineman.

    Jones is considered the best lineman in the entire country. The offensive lineman is playing his third different position, leading the Crimson Tide at the center position.

    He won this trophy last season, and if he can continue the solid production up front, there is no reason to believe he won't do it again.

Biletnikoff Award

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    1. Marqise Lee, WR, USC

    2. Keenan Allen, WR, California

    3. DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson

    4. Robert Woods, WR, USC

    5. Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia

     

    The Biletnikoff Award is awarded to the nation's top wide receiver.

    Marqise Lee had a terrific year as a freshman and is picking up right where he left off last season. Already in two games, the sophomore has caught 21 passes for 263 yards and four touchdowns.

    With his skill set, Lee could quickly become the best receiver in program history.

Doak Walker Award

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    1. Johnathan Franklin, RB, UCLA

    2. De'Anthony Thomas, RB, Oregon

    3. Le'Veon Bell, RB, Michigan State

    4. Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina

    5. Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin

     

    The Doak Walker Award is given to the nation's top running back.

    I'm not sure many people had Johnathan Franklin on their radar heading into the regular season, but he has stepped up in a big way.

    In just two games, the senior running back has 431 rushing yards and four total touchdowns. Don't look now, but the UCLA Bruins are quickly looking like a dark horse in the Pac-12.

Davey O'Brien Award

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    1. Matt Barkley, QB, USC

    2. Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia

    3. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State

    4. Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville

    5. Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma

     

    The Davey O'Brien Award is awarded to the nation's top quarterback.

    Barkley expected to win an award?

    Sit tight, because this is something you will see a lot of in this article.

Maxwell Award

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    1. Matt Barkley, QB, USC

    2. De'Anthony Thomas, RB, Oregon

    3. Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina

    4. Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia

    5. Le'Veon Bell, RB, Michigan State

     

    The Maxwell Award has recently gone to the more popular player in college football, as players such as Cam Newton, Andrew Luck and Tim Tebow have won this award the past few seasons.

    I don't think there is a more talked-about player than Barkley. If he continues his performance this season, this award is his to lose.

Walter Camp Award

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    1. Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia

    2. Matt Barkley, QB, USC

    3. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State

    4. Le'Veon Bell, RB, Michigan State

    5. De'Anthony Thomas, RB, Oregon

     

    Usually this award goes to the Heisman runner-up, as the voters don't want anybody to walk away empty-handed. Geno Smith has only played one game so far but looks like he is going to have a tremendous season, especially with all of the weapons around him.

    Watch out, Big 12—it looks like there is a new sheriff in town.

Heisman Trophy

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    1. Matt Barkley, QB, USC

    2. Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia

    3. Johnathan Franklin, RB, UCLA

    4. De'Anthony Thomas, RB, Oregon

    5. Marqise Lee, WR, USC

     

    Despite USC struggling a little bit as a team, Barkley is still the favorite for the Heisman Trophy. He is completing over 67 percent of his passes, has thrown for 559 yards and has 10 touchdown passes in only two games.

    Unless the Trojans lose or the senior quarterback has a terrible game, he will likely remain in the No. 1 spot for this award.