To college football players, nothing in the game is more triumphant than being selected as the Heisman trophy recipient. For these athletes, nothing is more desirable. Although the glitz and glory of hoisting the trophy is capable throughout the minds of every college football athlete - from Southern Cal to Syracuse - the likelihood of one winning the honor is highly slim. There have been many deserving candidates overlooked throughout the history of the award.
However, we aren't here to discuss the past Heisman winners, we're here to discuss my early peek at the potential Heisman class this season. I'm going to give a run down on the top five players I think have the best shot at winning.
(Mark Ingram was left off because I wanted to preview players who had not won it)
The former Michigan transfer, Ryan Mallett possesses a big arm that meshes perfectly with the aerial attack from head coach Bobby Petrino. He's got a bevy of receivers who are eager to prove they're the best group in the Southeastern Conference, as well as a potential All-American at tight end. (D.J. Williams)
The schedule is favorable, as Mallett only has four real threats as far as passing defense is concerned. South Carolina, Alabama, Vanderbilt, and Mississippi all enter the 2010 season with a top 25 pass defense in the year prior.
If Mallett wants to gather the hype, he's got to come up big against the aforementioned teams. Two wins would be huge towards fueling the buzz, but realistically Mallett will have to have his Hogs in SEC West title contention before he gets any real potential.
Washington Husky quarterback Jake Locker showcased his talent last year, leading his Huskies to a 5-7 record coming off of a winless season the year before. Locker is a dual-threat quarterback who threw for 21 touchdowns and ran for seven last year.
Locker's Heisman candidacy will be tested early with games against BYU, Nebraska, and USC in the first half of the season. For Locker to receive the attention, he's probably going to a need a clean sweep of these three, or a late season run.
In short, it's going to take a lot for Locker to win the Heisman. He's surely capable, and willing, but will he be able to carry an above average team to heights like the conference championship? If so, he's your guy.
The "case" for Keenum is simple if your a numbers type of guy. This kid is all-stats, and his numbers without a doubt support the fact. His high-flying Cougars led the NCAA in passing yards and passing yards per game last season, with the final touchdown tally through the air reaching 44.
System players have always been shrugged in the Heisman voting, with voters looking towards conference prestige and system based offenses over the astounding numbers. Playing for Houston doesn't necessarily help his cause, but if the Cougs can go BCS busting Keenum is legitimate.
The college football world has all eyes glued to Terrelle Pryor this season. The flashy junior from Ohio State has the talent to bedazzle, but does he have the leadership necessary to have the Buckeyes in Glendale? His Heisman campaign has a perfect shot at being launched early in a game against the Miami Hurricanes.
In order for Pryor to maintain the hype, he's going to have to be a leader. He's struggled his first two seasons at times throwing the football, but should now be mature and capable enough of avoiding the mistakes he was accustomed to last year.
Pryor has great legs and mobility, and runs like a running back with the ball in his hands. He's athletic and can make a lot of plays look easy, when he's not forcing them. If he's able to play his game all year, he'll take the crown.
The one I'm looking out for this season is explosive sophomore Ryan Williams. He combines above average power with the shifty ability to create on the dime, and when he accelerates he leaves everyone in his tracks. He's hard to bring down, which is evident by his stats as a freshman last year, with 21 rushing touchdowns.
Williams has potential to burst upon the scene early in the Boise State game, and from there the schedule weakens. By the time things start to pick up for the Hokies, Williams could very well be the rushing leader and already atop the Heisman leaderboards.
In order for Ryan to win, he must play strong throughout the season. His durability is the key factor to winning the trophy, because consistency is what wins the Heisman.