2010 College Football Predictions: Top 10 Sophomore Heisman Contenders

William DeightonCorrespondent IAugust 5, 2010

2010 College Football Predictions: Top 10 Sophomore Heisman Contenders

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    Last season, Alabama running back Mark Ingram was the third consecutive sophomore to take home the Heisman Trophy following Sam Bradford of Oklahoma and Tim Tebow of Florida.

    Will another sophomore win the Heisman Trophy in 2010?

    Here are the Top 10 sophomores in contention for the Heisman Trophy this season...

No. 10 - Dayne Crist, QB, Notre Dame

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    Crist has talent and the new system he is in produces huge numbers.

    Tony Pike emerged in the same system last year at Cincinnati. Before Pike was injured he was firing away and in the hunt for the Heisman.

    Heisman voters love Notre Dame quarterbacks, and his success would be a nice story after coming off a horrible knee injury last season.

No. 9 - Tate Forcier, QB, Michigan

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    Right after Tate Forcier led Michigan to a late-fourth quarter victory over Notre Dame last season, Michigan fans were talking Heisman.

    Soon after, that chatter faded into oblivion.

    Forcier has a great opportunity this season to bring Michigan back to relevance, which would make for a great story.

    If he can provide more fourth-quarter heroics against big opponents like Notre Dame, Penn St, and Ohio State he'll be right in the mix for the Heisman this season.

No. 8 - Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford

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    With Toby Gerhart now in the NFL, Stanford's offensive attack will have to shift more towards the talents of quarterback Andrew Luck and the passing game.

    Luck has been rated as one of the top QBs in all of college football by NFL draft experts and has all the tools to be a great one this season and beyond.

    Will his potential become success and lead him to the Heisman Trophy? We'll have to find out what he's really made of this year as he becomes the leader at Stanford.

No. 7 - Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma

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    Landry Jones filled in nicely at QB for Oklahoma and 2008's Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford last season.

    In his final game of his freshman season, Jones threw for 418 yards and three touchdowns as Oklahoma beat Stanford in the Brut Sun Bowl.

    With his game experience and knowledge of Oklahoma's system, Jones is in a great position to excel in his sophomore season.

    If Jones' performance against Stanford last season was any indication of what we'll see over the course of this year, his name will be at the top of everyone's Heisman list.

No. 6 - Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama

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    I know, I know, this guy has no shot at the Heisman with Mark Ingram running in front of him. But, Trent Richardson is for real.

    Some say that he is actually a better back than Ingram, which makes me believe he'll get more carries this season.

    If Ingram were to go down with an injury early this season, I would immediately make Richardson the No. 1 Heisman contender in all of college football.

No. 5 - Matt Barkley, QB, USC

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    Matt Barkley is not getting a lot of Heisman hype for this upcoming season, but don't forget about this USC media darling.

    His team won't be playing in the National Championship or any bowl game for that matter, but Barkley hopes to be winning individual awards this postseason.

    USC has a favorable schedule this year. If Barkley can lead the Trojans to an undefeated record, he will surely be invited to New York.

No. 4 LaMichael James - RB, Oregon

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    Sophomore running back LaMichael James looks for the breakout year in 2010 that Toby Gerhart had in 2009.

    James' yards per carry average last season was 6.87. On any given play he can bust one loose and take it to the house much like former Cal running back Jahvid Best.

    The playmaking running back looks to become the first Heisman Trophy winner from The University of Oregon.

No. 3 - Ryan Williams, RB, Virginia Tech

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    As a freshman, Ryan Williams actually ran for more touchdowns (21) than Heisman winner Mark Ingram (17) did last season.

    Williams went over 100 yards in all but three games last season. He scored four touchdowns in one game twice. He also earned the ACC's Offensive Player of the Year award.

    Williams could have another monster year with the Hokies in 2010 as his role expands and he becomes a bigger part of the passing game. Look for Williams to be near the top of the Heisman hunt this season.

No. 2 - Garrett Gilbert, QB, Texas

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    Garrett Gilbert got all the experience he could hope for while playing the majority of the National Championship Game against Alabama in place of injured QB, Colt McCoy.

    Gilbert was the Gatorade Player of the Year coming out of high school and has all the poise and talent to become a great QB in college football.

    As much as Texas fans hated seeing Gilbert in that final game instead of McCoy, the experience will pay off this season as he makes a run at the Heisman Trophy.

No. 1 - Dion Lewis, RB, Pittsburgh

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    Last year's NCAA Freshman of the Year and Big East Offensive Player of the Year will be even better in his sophomore season.

    Dion Lewis is much like last year's Heisman winner, Mark Ingram, in that he combines shiftiness with speed and brute power. Lewis can make the tough yards inside and outrace any defense on the outside for big plays.

    You will be hearing Dion Lewis' name all throughout the 2010 season as he makes a serious run at the Heisman Trophy.