USC star wide receiver Marqise Lee already stands a good chance of heading to New York City for the presentation of the Heisman Trophy. Not only has Lee put up video game-like numbers in recent weeks, but his 38-yard touchdown run today against Arizona State showed that Lee is a versatile athlete who can score in any number of ways.
ESPN's Pedro Moura even tweeted that Lane Kiffin could use the sophomore standout on the defensive side of the ball in the coming weeks. However, there is a big difference between being invited to the Heisman ceremony and actually walking away with the trophy.
Unfortunately for Lee, USC has lost three times this season. If Kansas State can take care of business against TCU tonight, Colin Klein will most likely be quarterbacking the nation's No. 1-ranked team come Sunday night when the new BCS standings are released. If K-State runs the table and makes it to the national championship game, it would be nearly impossible for Lee to snatch the trophy from Klein.
Not only does Lee need to keep putting up stellar numbers to give himself a shot at winning the Heisman Trophy, but he will need some help as well. Let's take a look at three things that need to happen for Lee to leave New York City with college football's most prestigious individual award.
Lee Must Sustain Production
Does Marqise Lee have a legitimate chance to win the Heisman Trophy?
This is the most obvious, yet the most important, aspect of Lee's Heisman bid. Over USC's last four games, Lee has gained 766 receiving yards and scored six touchdowns. If he keeps that up in USC's final two games, it's going to be hard for voters not to put his name on their ballot.
The most crucial aspect of Lee's Heisman chances is how he performs against Notre Dame's stellar defense in prime time on Nov. 24. Notre Dame may playing for a chance at the national title game, so the entire country will undoubtedly have their eyes glued to their television sets for this matchup.
If the Heisman voters watch Lee continue to put up gaudy statistics against one of the nation's top defenses on national television, he may have a chance to edge out his competitors.
The Competition Must Falter
The competition for the Heisman Trophy is always fierce, and 2012 is no exception. Colin Klein, Kenjon Barner, Manti Te'o, Braxton Miller and Johnny Manziel, all have legitimate claims. Each of the aforementioned players have been key aspects to their teams' success this season.
For Lee to have a chance at surpassing the names on that list, the competition must come back to him. USC has lost three games this season, and that is going to make it tough for voters to put his name on their ballot in from of players like Klein, Barner and Te'o. Furthermore, Texas A&M just upset Alabama, so Johnny Manziel's stock has risen considerably this week as well.
Lee is an incredible football player who has been an explosive aspect of one of the nations top offenses this season. However, he needs some luck if he is going to actually win the Heisman.
USC Must Continue to Showcase Lee's Versatility
The reason Marqise Lee is such a special player is because he can score in so many ways. He can line up anywhere on the field and catch any ball thrown in his vicinity. Furthermore, he showcased his ability to score on a reverse play from 38 yards out earlier today.
If Lane Kiffin keeps giving Lee the ball in a variety of ways, it will force Heisman voters to take a serious look at Lee. Furthermore, if Kiffin follows through on his statements that Lee could play some defense as well, it would help vault him ahead of some of the competition.
Kiffin is not above shamelessly showcasing Lee for Heisman votes. He understands how much of a recruiting advantage it can be to be have a sophomore win the Heisman. If Lee continues to succeed in a multitude of situations, we could be watching USC's next Heisman Trophy recipient.