Heisman Trophy Watch 2010: Auburn QB Cameron Newton Is the Real Deal

Daniel DinunzioAnalyst IOctober 11, 2010

LEXINGTON, KY - OCTOBER 09:  Cam Newton #2 of the Auburn Tigers runs with the ball during the SEC game against the Kentucky Wildcats at Commonwealth Stadium on October 9, 2010 in Lexington, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

This Heisman Trophy race is setting up to be one of the most interesting in recent years.  As the middle of October approaches, Cam Newton, quarterback of the Auburn Tigers, is the Heisman Trophy frontrunner to this point in the season.

Everybody wants to talk about Terrell Pryor, Kellen Moore, and Denard Robinson.  Listen up folks, Newton has led the Auburn Tigers to a 6-0 record leading the SEC.  The SEC is by far the most competitive conference top to bottom year in and year out.

The former Florida quarterback has had a rough past, but his decision to go to Auburn over Mississippi State looks like the right decision looking back on it.

He went to Auburn because he knew he was going to have a chance to step in and play right away.  That is what he has done and he has performed at a level that puts Auburn in the position to win the SEC West.  Currently Auburn is ranked seventh in the country and gathering momentum for the rest of the season.

Cam Newton's numbers this season are off the charts.  Passing he is 70 for 108, 64.8 completion percentage with 1,138 yards and 12 touchdown to five interceptions.  He has performed well under pressure and whenever his team needs a big drive he has delivered.

What's more fascinating to me is his rushing numbers.  Newton has carried the ball 104 times for 672 yards.  That is 6.5 yards a carry and he has nine rushing touchdowns.  Those numbers are right up there with many running backs in the country.

He has duel-threat ability has turned an Auburn team that is always well-known for its tough defense into an explosive team on the offensive side of the ball.

His speed and size 6'6", 250 lbs makes his numbers look that much better.  Newton has an incredible awareness when he is inside the pocket.  When he feels the rush coming he is able to escape and make a play with his feet.

Without Newton under center this season Auburn is 4-2 at best this season, maybe worse.  Gene Chizik has a team that is building confidence and learning how to perform under pressure.  On Saturday in Kentucky, Auburn gave up a two-touchdown lead, but won the game on a field goal as time expired.

With the stunning upset of South Carolina over Alabama, Newton and the Auburn Tigers are in the driver's seat of winning this division and maybe even getting a shot to play in the National Title game.

The next two weeks will be pivotal to Newton's Heisman Campaign and for the chances of Auburn going to a BCS Bowl.  This week they play No. 12 Arkansas at home followed by No. 9 LSU in consecutive weeks.

It will be a test for this team, but so far they have had all the answers.  If they get by the next two weeks with quality wins everything will be set for a marque matchup on Nov. 26, when the Iron Bowl takes place at Alabama.

Chizik and the Auburn Tigers continue to move up in the polls.  Behind the tremendous play of Newton there's no telling how far this team could go.  There's always a chance of Newton raising the hardware in New York City on Dec. 4.

Until then this Auburn team has to remain focused on winning football games.  As Coach Chizik says it is just "business as usual,",  Let's see if the Tigers can continue their winning ways against two of the top teams in the SEC.