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Heisman Trophy Watch: Terrelle Pryor, Denard Robinson, Ryan Mallett Lead the Way

Robert QuinnCorrespondent IOctober 2, 2010

Heisman Trophy Watch: Terelle Pryor, Denard Robinson, Ryan Mallett Lead The Way

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    Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

    The Heisman Trophy has been under scrutiny in recent weeks, with the climax occurring a couple weeks ago when the 2005 recipient, Reggie Bush, forfeited his after an investigation revealed he accepted improper benefits during his time at USC.

    In 2010, the preseason front-runners for the award included Washington quarterback Jake Locker, who many believed would be the consensus No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, had he entered following his junior year.

    This year's front-runners have changed dramatically over the first few weeks of the season, and this slideshow takes a look at the 2010 hopefuls.

Terrelle Pryor: Ohio State Buckeyes

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    Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

    After Terrelle Pryor's outstanding performance in Ohio State's first game against Marshall, in which he passed for 247 yards and three touchdowns, he continued his road to the Heisman against the Hurricanes.

    Against the Canes, Pryor played extremely well, displaying pristine pocket presence and making plays. The 6'6" junior passed for 233 yards and a touchdown, while rushing 20 times for 113 yards and a touchdown.

    In the past two weeks, Ohio State faced in-state rival Ohio, and Eastern Michigan, and Pryor continued to shine.

    On the season, Pryor has thrown for 939 yards, 10 touchdowns, and has thrown just two interceptions. Furthermore, he has rushed 43 times for 669 yards, scoring another three touchdowns.

    This week he has a chance to have a big game against Illinois.

Jake Locker: Washington Huskies

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    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    After passing for 2800 yards and 21 touchdowns last season, Washington quarterback Jake Locker decided to stay in school for another year, improving his draft stock for the NFL.

    Locker looks and plays like an NFL-caliber quarterback, using his strong arm and feel for the game to create plays.

    This season, Locker has already thrown five touchdowns and passed for 550 yards in his two games against BYU and Syracuse.

    However, many believe his stock has significantly dropped when he had a terrible outing against Nebraska, one of the stronger defenses in the NCAA. In that game, Locker was a miserable four of 20 for just 75 yards, throwing a touchdown with two interceptions.

    On the year, Locker has passed for 626 yards and six touchdowns, while throwing two interceptions. He has rushed 27 times for 90 yards and two touchdowns as well.

Denard Robinson: Michigan Wolverines

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    Leon Halip/Getty Images

    In 2009, Denard Robinson of Michigan only managed 188 yards, throwing two touchdowns and four interceptions while competing with Tate Forcier for the starting job.

    This year has been a complete transformation. He has proven that he rightfully earned the starting quarterback job, gaining almost 1,000 yards of total offense in his first two games combined...more than nine of the Top 25-ranked teams in the country have managed as a whole.

    Robinson destroyed Notre Dame, passing for 244 yards and a touchdown, while rushing for 258 and two touchdowns.

    Against UMass, Robinson combined for another 305 yards and three touchdowns. Last week, when facing Bowling Green, Robinson injured his knee after completing each of his first four passes for 60 yards, while rushing five times for 129 yards and two touchdowns.

    This week, Michigan faces Indiana, and Robinson is cleared to play.

    On the season, Robinson has thrown for 731 yards, rushed for 688, and has combined for 10 touchdowns, and still seems to be the front-runner for the Heisman Trophy.

Jacory Harris: Miami Hurricanes

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    Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

    Jacory Harris and the Miami Hurricanes entered the season with high expectations. Harris was a favorite in the Heisman race, and the Canes were believed to have a shot at the National Championship.

    After going 12-of-15 for 216 yards and three touchdowns in just one half of play against Florida A&M, Harris significantly dropped in the Heisman rankings last weekend.

    Taking on the Ohio State Buckeyes, Harris completed 22 of 39 passes for 232 yards and a touchdown. Sounds pretty good, right?

    Oops. Forgot to add the four interceptions.

    But Harris rebounded against Pittsburgh, as he threw for 248 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions in the Canes' 31-3 rout of the Panthers.

    Harris' six interceptions on the year may drop his stock in the Heisman race. The Canes take on Clemson this week.

Ryan Mallett: Arkansas Razorbacks

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    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    Ryan Mallett is huge at 6'6" and 238 pounds, and has been the best pocket passer in the entire NCAA thus far into the season.

    Throughout his first three games, Mallett threw for 1,081 yards, nine touchdowns, and two interceptions.

    Last week against Alabama, Mallett threw for 357 yards and a touchdown, but three costly interceptions cost the Razorbacks the game against the reigning National Champions.

Andrew Luck: Stanford Cardinal

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck has been highly touted as the premier passer in the NCAA, and looks to be the first quarterback taken off the board in April's draft.

    Luck has led the Stanford Cardinal to a 4-0 record on the season, and he has passed for 912 yards, 11 touchdowns, and just two interceptions.

    Luck will be put to the test this week as his No. 9-ranked Stanford takes on No. 4-ranked Oregon in a battle of Pac-10 foes.

Kendall Hunter: Oklahoma State Cowboys

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    With Alabama and West Virginia running backs Mark Ingram and Noel Devine generating most of the preseason hype, Kendall Hunter doesn't want to be forgotten.

    The Oklahoma State senior has rushed for over 400 yards on just 49 carries, averaging 8.9 yards per carry, while scoring six touchdowns in his first two games.

    With Ingram missing his first game, and now splitting carries with Trent Richardson, combined with Noel Devine's slow start, Kendall Hunter may be breaking away from the running backs in the Heisman Trophy watch.

    Over the past two weeks, Hunter has continued his great running, and has now gained 574 yards on 82 attempts, averaging an astonishing seven yards per carry, and scored eight touchdowns.

Patrick Peterson: Louisiana State Tigers

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    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    Here is Louisiana State's cornerback Patrick Peterson posing in the Heisman stance, and he may be the second defensive player to ever win the Heisman Trophy, after former Michigan cornerback Charles Woodson.

    Teams gameplan against Peterson, and don't throw it his way, which is mainly the reason for his 11 tackles on the season. He has two interceptions on the year.

    He is a physically dominating cornerback at 6'1", 222 pounds, and simply dominates receivers at the line of scrimmage, and is always fearless in making open-field tackles.

    This week, LSU takes on Tennessee.

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