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Heisman Watch 2012: 3 Players Guaranteed to Be Finalists in NYC

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Heisman Watch 2012: 3 Players Guaranteed to Be Finalists in NYC
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Time is getting short for players who are looking to make their mark with Heisman voters in 2012. There are several players worthy of making the trip to receive the prize from the Downtown Athletic Club, but the following three players will be finalists.

At one point this season it looked as though a slew of quarterbacks would get the invites to New York, but players like Matt Barkley have faded.

There are a few other QBs making a run, such as Texas A&M freshman Johnny Manziel. But when his team needed him the most (vs. LSU) he was missing in action. He completed just 52 percent of his passes and threw three interceptions with no touchdowns.

Here are the players who will top the list.

 

Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame: 90 tackles, 6 INT, 1.5 sacks

As much as I'd like to see a defender win the Heisman Trophy it just doesn't seem to be in the cards. Te'o is leading the Irish defense, and it is that unit that has them in the hunt for a national title.

Te'o is close to the all-time record for interceptions by a linebacker. Texas A&M's Bill Sibley had nine in 1941.

Charles Woodson was the last defender to win the Heisman. One could say the talented defensive back was the only true defender to win the award. The players before him that played defense were ironmen who also played offense.

 

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State: 145-of-208, 2,020 YDS, 12 TDs, 3 INT, 748 Rush YDS, 19 TDs

Klein is the presumptive favorite at this point. There are two games left for him to push himself over the edge or lose ground.

Klein is having a great season, showing improvement from 2011. He's been a much better passer this season, improving his completion percent from 57.3 to 69.7.

If the award goes to a quarterback this season, it should go to Klein.

 

Robert Laberge/Getty Images

Kenjon Barner, RB, Oregon: 1,360 YDS, 6.8 YPA, 19 TDs, 219 REC YDS, 12.2 YPC, 1 TD

The biggest stumbling block for Barner's success this season is his coaches. The Ducks have had early leads in most of their games and Barner has been put on the back shelf. 

Cal managed to shut him down last week, the first defense to hold him under 4.0 yards per carry. He left the game with what looked like an arm injury and wasn't used much thereafter.

Barner likely has three more games to turn some heads. Stanford, Oregon State and the opponent in the Pac-12 Championship Game should all put up a fight, allowing Chip Kelly to run Barner early and often.

When Barner was truly allowed to open up his game he ran for 321 yards on 38 carries with five touchdowns. A few more performances in that game's shadow will get Barner to New York.

 

Who should be on the list? Share your favorites in the comment section below.

 

Darin Pike is a writer for Bleacher Report's Breaking News Team and a Featured Columnist covering the NFL and the Seattle Seahawks.

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