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Heisman Trophy Watch: Denard Robinson, Terrelle Pryor, Andrew Luck Lead the Way

Robert QuinnCorrespondent IJuly 17, 2016

Heisman Trophy Watch: Denard Robinson, Terrelle Pryor, Andrew Luck Lead the Way

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    Jonathan Daniel/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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    Jonathan Daniel/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 three weeks, Ohio State faced in-state rival Ohio, Eastern Michigan, and Illinois, and again, Pryor continued to shine.

    On the season, Pryor has thrown for 1,015 yards, 12 touchdowns, and has thrown just two interceptions. Furthermore, he has rushed 54 times for 373  yards, scoring another three touchdowns.

    Pryor's durability is in question after he missed two quarters of last week's matchup, but he has an opportunity to shine against Indiana this week.

Jake Locker: Washington Huskies

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    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    After passing for 2,800 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.

    Last week, he played well against a Pac-10 conference foe in Southern California, going 24 of 40 for 310 yards with a touchdown, while rushing for over 100 yards.

    On the season, Locker has passed for 936 yards, seven touchdowns, and two interceptions, while rushing 39 times for 212 yards and two touchdowns.

    He faces Arizona State this weekend, and he needs a big game to stay in the Heisman talks.

Denard Robinson: Michigan Wolverines

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    Jonathan Daniel/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.Then he faced Bowling Green, but 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.

    Last week he continued to make not only headlines, but history, as he became the first player to ever rush and pass for over 200 yards twice in a game two times.

    On the season, Robinson has thrown for 1,008 yards, seven touchdowns and just one interception, while rushing 905 yards on just 98 carries, finding the endzone eight times.

    Robinson is definitely 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.

    Last week against Clemson, he threw for 205 yards, but completed just 13 of his 33 attempts. He did manage to toss four touchdowns, but two costly interceptions kept the Tigers in the game a bit too long.

    On the season, Harris has passed for 894 yards, ten touchdowns, and eight interceptions.

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.

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

    Mallett hasn't thrown for under 300 yards in a game, and he has a chance to continue that against Texas A&M this weekend.

Andrew Luck: Stanford Cardinal

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    Steve Dykes/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 4-1 record on the season, and he has passed for 1,253 yards, 13 touchdowns, and four interceptions.

    Luck played in one of the biggest games of his career last week against Oregon, and had a quick start, but eventually lost. Stanford takes on Southern California this weekend, which looks to be a great matchup.

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 700 yards on 82 attempts, averaging an astonishing seven yards per carry, and scored nine 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.

    Last week in the thrilling victory over Tennessee, Peterson made four tackles and shut down receivers. What may hurt his Heisman hopes is the fact that opposing offenses will opt to shy away from targeting him, leaving him with deflated stats that voters like to see.

Mark Ingram: Alabama Crimson Tide

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    After missing the first two games of the season due to a knee surgery, many believed that Alabama's Mark Ingram wouldn't be in this year's Heisman contention, due to splitting carries with Trent Richardson, another outstanding running back.

    But since he returned against Duke, Ingram has scored twice in each of the three games he appeared in. He has rushed for 355 yards on 45 attempts, scoring six touchdowns.

    This week, the Crimson Tide take on South Carolina, and Ingram could easily gain 100-150 yards, keeping him in contention to win his second consecutive Heisman trophy.

LaMichael James: Oregon Ducks

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    Steve Dykes/Getty Images

    After rushing for a career high 257 yards and three touchdowns against the Stanford Cardinal last week, Oregon running back LaMichael James thrust himself into the Heisman talks.

    On the season, James has carried the ball 82 times for 712 yards, scoring seven times. James has electric speed, and is always a home run threat,  one to break a tackle and take it 80 yards to the house.

    This week the Ducks face Washington State, and James should continue his success.

Kellen Moore: Boise State Broncos

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    Kellen Moore has had an outstanding season, keeping Boise State undefeated and in contention for their first shot at a BCS title.

    Against Virginia Tech in the first game of the season, Moore led the Broncos to victory, and just last week against New Mexico State, he proved he didn't have to put up monster yardage to dominate. He passed for 198 yards and three touchdowns.

    On the year, Moore has passed for 1,069 yards, 11 touchdowns, and just one interception, and that should definitely continue this week against Toledo.

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