Ranking The Top 12 Preseason Heisman Trophy Candidates in The Big 12

T.J. Mcaloon@@tjmcaloonContributorSeptember 1, 2010

Ranking The Top 12 Preseason Heisman Trophy Candidates in The Big 12

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    The 2010 college football season begins this Thursday night. The off season work outs, the summer practices, and all of the preseason talk is finally going to end.

    But for one last time let's do one more preseason ranking. So before the new season can start, here is the top-12 Big 12 players who have Heisman Trophy aspirations heading into this season. 

    This is the first of a weekly ranking poll for these players with Heisman possibilities. Some players will fall off the list and some players will climb up this list. So just in case your favorite players is not ranked number one this week, that does not mean that they cannot climb up to number one.

    Over the past two years, at least two members of the Big 12 have reached the finals of the Heisman Trophy.

    So click through the slides and see who is ranked where and who has the best chance at making the trip to the Downtown Athletic Club in New York City for the Heisman Trophy presentation.

    Remember you can always follow my twitter feed throughout the season http://twitter.com/tjmcaloon.

12. Von Miller Texas A&M LB

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    Von Miller is the leader of the Texas A&M defense that ranked 106th in the country in pass defense. Last year Von had a break out year with 43 tackles and 17 sacks. He ranked fifth in the country last year in tackles for loss with 24.

    This year he decided to come back to college for his senior year to try and lead this defense to a Big XII title.

    Von was voted to the preseason All Big XII first team, and was voted Big XII defensive player of the year with Rivals.com.

    Last game: (L) vs. Georgia DNP or did not accumulate any stats

    Next game: vs. Stephan F Austin

11. Robert Griffin III Baylor QB

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    Robert Griffin III has the potential to be a break out start this year. He has the potential to lead the Baylor Bears to a bowl game for the first time since 1994. To do this, get Baylor to a bowl game, this would vault Griffin to the top of this list and possibly a Big XII offensive player of the year award.

    For Baylor to be successful this year, Robert Griffin III needs to be the best player in the Big XII.

    The big question for Griffin is how did his torn ACL knee injury affect his mobility.

    Last game: (W) vs. North Western State 13/19 226 yards, and three touchdowns.

    Next game: vs. Sam Houston State

10. Niles Paul WR Nebraska

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    Niles Paul developed into one of the Big 12's most explosive and diverse players as a junior in 2009. This year he looks to continue his rise as one of the best wide receivers in the conference. His only downside is that he and the rest of Cornhusker nation do not know who their starting quarterback will be.

    This may hurt his chances the first few weeks as he tries to find a rhythm with whoever is the quarterback. But with the strength of the Nebraska schedule if he does big numbers in the big games then his stock will rise.

    Last game: (W) vs. Arizona four receptions, 23 yards, and one touchdown

    Next game: vs. Western Kentucky

9. Kendall Hunter RB Oklahoma State

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    This senior from Oklahoma State is looking to reclaim his rushing success that he had back in the 2008 season.

    In 2008 Hunter was named to the All Big 12 first team, the Big 12's rushing champion, and was the nation's seventh leading rusher with 119.6 yards per game.

    This year he looks to have a full year of being healthy and is the featured star on a rebuilding Oklahoma State team.

    Last game: (L) vs. Ole Miss 9 attempts 94 yards 0 touchdowns

    Next game: vs. Washington State 

8. Garrett Gilbert QB Texas

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    Texas fans saw a preview of what to expect this year when Garrett Gilbert took over for an injured Colt McCoy in the BCS National Championship game. Sure the first half was shaky as Gilbert turned the ball over in the first half that resulted in an Alabama touchdown.

    Then the second half came, and so did the future of Texas football as Gilbert led the Longhorns on two scoring drives and got the Longhorns back into the game.

    Sure they ended up losing in the end, but if Gilbert can lead this team back to the Big 12 title game, then he will be at the top of the Heisman list.

    Last game: (L) vs. Alabama 15/40 186 yards two touchdowns

    Next game: vs. Rice (game played at neutral field)

7. Daniel Thomas RB Kansas State

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    This senior has only had one year under his belt as a running back at Kansas State since transferring from junior college. But that does not mean that he did not have a great year.

    Last year Daniel Thomas not only led his team with 247 rushing attempts and 1,264 yards with 11 touchdown, but he was the leading rusher in the Big 12. 

    This dual threat runner and thrower makes Thomas a sleeper pick for the Heisman this year.

    Last game: (L) vs. Nebraska 19 attempts 99 yards 0 touchdowns

    Next game: vs. UCLA

6. Blaine Gabbert QB Missouri

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    Blaine had a very impressive year as his first year as a full time starter at Missouri. In his first year taking over for long time starter, Chase Daniels, Blanie went 262/445 for 3593 yards and 24 touchdowns.

    What makes Blaine a dark horse this year is his ability to run. Last year he ran over 100 times for 204 yards and three touchdowns.

    Blaine's biggest test of the year to see if he can really be a Heisman front runner is against Nebraska.

    Last game: (L) vs. Navy 15/31 291 yards one touchdown

    Next game: vs. Illinois (game played at neutral site)  

5. Jared Crick DE Nebraska

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    With the departure of last year's Heisman Trophy finalist Ndamukong Suh, many thought that the Cornhuskers had a big void at what made them successful last year.

    Not so much, as Nebraska this year has Jarred Crick, a player who maybe just as dominate as Suh was last year.

    Just like Nebraska wide receiver—Niles Paul—the success of Nebraska this year will be determined on how well Crick plays. If he is the dominate defensive lineman that Suh was last year and can wreak havoc on opposing quarterbacks, then this Nebraska team could be playing for a National Title.  

    Last game: (W) vs. Arizona DNP or did not accumulate any stats.

    Next game: vs. Western Kentucky

4. DeMarco Murray RB Oklahoma

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    DeMarco Murry, if healthy could be number one on this list by the start of October. However, last year he had multiple injuries that hurt his ranking on this preseason list.

    However, much like Kendall Hunter, in 2008 DeMarco led the Sooners in rushing and helped them into the National Title game with 1,002 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns. That year (08) he finished All-Big 12 first team by the coaches and All-Big 12 second team by the Associated Press.

    This year with a healthy Oklahoma team could be Demarco's year that he rushes his way to a Heisman Trophy.

    Last game: (W) vs. Stanford 20 attempts 27 yards 0 touchdown

    Next game: Utah State

3. Landry Jones QB Oklahoma

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     This freshman last year was thrown into the fire in the first game of the season against BYU with the injury of Sam Bradford. Landry was thought to have a full year under Bradford to learn the Oklahoma offense and know how to lead the Sooners to a National Title.

    But, Landry got to learn on the job and did a good job at it. He threw for 3,198 yards with 24 touchdown passes, and was named the Big 12 offensive freshman player of the year.

    Now this year unlike another sophomore quarterback in Texas (Garrett Gilbert) Landry has a great running game behind him, an elite wide receiver in Ryan Bryoles, and a defense that can help win him games.

    Last game: (W) vs. Stanford 30/51 418 yards three touchdowns

    Next game: vs. Utah State

2. Jerrod Johnson QB Texas A&M

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    This is the year that Jerrod Johnson is to lead the Texas A&M Aggies back to the Big 12 championship game. Jerrod has the weight of the whole city of College Station, the under graduate and alumni of A&M as well.

    If Johnson fails this year this Aggie team is a 4-8 team. If Johnson has the superstar year that people are expecting him to have then the Aggies are a nine maybe 10 win team.

    Jerrod is the pre season Big 12 offensive player of the year, the Big 12 first-team quarterback, and once again he is the reason why this Aggie team is successful or fails.

    Last game: (L) vs. Georgia 29/58 362 yards two touchdowns

    Next game: vs. Stephan F. Austin

1. Ryan Broyles WR Oklahoma

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    Ryan Broyles takes the No. 1 spot on the preseason Heisman rankings.

    Last year while learning to play with Landry with little to no offseason workouts, Broyles put up 1,807 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns.

    This year the sky is the limit for Ryan and Landry to make each other have great seasons.

    Last game: (W) vs. Stanford 13 recptions 156 yards three touchdowns

    Next game: vs. Utah State

    That's it for the pre season rankings of the Big 12's top Heisman Trophy candidates. Come back during the season as we will move the players up or down and shorten the list from 12 down to the final four.