Heisman Trophy Rankings: Top 10 Contenders to Win the Award

Chris BidermanCorrespondent IOctober 7, 2010

Heisman Trophy Rankings: Top 10 Contenders to Win the Award

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    It's only the first week in October, but it's never too early to speculate on college football's most prestigious individual honor.

    Many believe it will be a quarterback, but it's still early and there's plenty of time left for things to get shaken up.

    Let's take a look at the top candidates for the 2010 Heisman Trophy.

No. 10: John Clay, Wisconsin Badgers

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    Wisconsin's John Clay kicks off the list largely because of his eight touchdowns.

    Unfortunately for his Heisman case, four of them came in the first two weeks against UNLV and San Jose State.

    But if the big back maintains those numbers against the rugged Big Ten, expect his Heisman stock to rise.

No. 9: Kendall Hunter, Oklahoma State Cowboys

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    Choosing Kendall Hunter over Clay was difficult. Both have eight touchdowns on the season, but Hunter gets the edge because he's averaging 7.0 yards per carry (as opposed to Clay's 6.2) and his Oklahoma State Cowboys remain undefeated.

    It took some hair-splitting to decide who would get the No. 9 spot, but Hunter gets the leg up for now.

No. 8: Ryan Mallett, Arkansas Razorbacks

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    Arkansas' Ryan Mallett has put up gaudy passing numbers through his first four games of 2010, but his three-interception performance against Alabama lands Mallett at No. 8.

    Sure, the Tide has perhaps the best defense in the country, but Mallett needed more than one touchdown pass and less than three interceptions to be higher on this list.

    If his numbers remain solid and the Razorbacks run the table from here out, Mallett will move right up the list.

No. 7: Mark Ingram, Alabama Crimson Tide

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    Mark Ingram did miss two games early on with a knee injury, but he has shown flashes of being even better than he was when he won the Heisman in 2009.

    It will be much harder for Ingram to win it while splitting carries with Trent Richardson this season, however, but being the No. 1 back on the nation's best team does have its benefits.

    If Ingram can somehow separate himself from Richardson, then he has a legitimate shot to repeat for the first time since Archie Griffin in '74 and '75.

No. 6: Andrew Luck, Stanford Cardinal

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    Andrew Luck may be the most polished QB prospect the NFL has seen in a few years, but that's not what wins you the Heisman.

    The 6'4" Stanford star has proven he can pass and run. While throwing for 1,253 yards through five games, Luck has also amassed 202 rushing yards and a pair of rushing scores. Combine those with his 13 passing TDs and Luck is averaging three touchdowns per game.

    Lacking a winning performance at Oregon last week is holding Luck out of the top five.

No. 5: Terrelle Pryor, Ohio State Buckeyes

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    Terrelle Pryor may be the most outstanding combination of size and speed in the entire country, but a lackluster performance at Illinois is an early blemish on his Heisman campaign.

    If he's able to put on shows against major Big Ten foes like he did in the Buckeyes' non-conference schedule, then Pryor will find himself right back atop the list.

No. 4: Cameron Newton, Auburn Tigers

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    Cameron Newton may not possess quite the same physical gifts as Pryor, but his 17 total touchdowns beat Pryor's 15.

    Like Pryor, Newton's limited passing attempts may come back to haunt him when the votes come in.

    If the No. 8 Tigers go into Tide country and beat the nation's top team, expect Newton to become a much more serious Heisman hopeful.

No. 3: Kellen Moore, Boise State Broncos

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    Like the argument for Boise State's national championship hopes, Kellen Moore may have trouble getting Heisman votes because of the team's weaker schedule in 2010.

    His numbers make a great case, however. The southpaw's 11 passing touchdowns to only one interception are right on target.

    His numbers will need to get even better, though, if he wants to make a serious run at the Heisman Trophy.

No. 2: LaMichael James, Oregon Ducks

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    LaMichael James' show against Pac-10 rival Stanford was a Heisman-winning performance, but he will need more of them, plus a national championship game bid, if his Heisman chances are to remain serious.

    His 8.2-yard per carry average is absurd, but will need to be maintained for him to do better than runner-up in the final voting.

No. 1: Denard Robinson, Michigan Wolverines

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    What's there to say that hasn't already been said about Shoelace?

    Denard Robinson is the most electric player in America, period. He's rushed for a ridiculous 905 yards while passing for 1,008 and combining for 15 total touchdowns, all with his shoes untied. He already has two games of 200 yards rushing and 200 yards passing.

    If he keeps it up through Michigan's Big Ten schedule, the voting might be unanimous.