James White showed in the 2012 Big Ten Championship Game why he has Heisman Trophy potential.
The junior tailback tied a career high with four rushing touchdowns and threw his first collegiate TD pass in the Badgers’ 70-31 rout of Nebraska. He ran 15 times for 109 yards (7.3 yards per carry) and had one catch for 22 yards to help Wisconsin earn a third straight trip to the Rose Bowl.
On a normal fall Saturday, those numbers might be worthy of a game ball from the coach. In the Big Ten title game, however, it was only the third-best rushing performance from a Wisconsin team that seemed unstoppable.
Fellow running backs Melvin Gordon and Montee Ball rushed for 216 and 202 yards, respectively, to help the Badgers shred the Cornhuskers. With Ball off to the Denver Broncos, Gordon, a sophomore from Kenosha, Wis., might be White’s biggest impediment in the quest for 2013 Heisman Trophy consideration.
White enters his senior season on the Doak Walker Award watch list, the third straight year he has been a preseason candidate for the nation's best running back. Ball won the award last year; Gordon is among 62 others on the watch list this year.
So, what will it take for White to be a Heisman Trophy finalist in 2013? Here are three reasons he might be in the discussion.