2011 Heisman Trophy Predictions: Is Denard Robinson the Favorite?

Tom Kinslow@@TomKinslowFeatured ColumnistJanuary 4, 2011

2011 Heisman Trophy Predictions: Is Denard Robinson The Favorite?

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    2011 Heisman Trophy predictions are here and there are plenty of candidates as we look forward to next year who could take in the most prestigious trophy in college football.

    Denard Robinson was a hot candidate for the award early this year and as he comes back, will he be the favorite as we go forward to next year?

    Inside are 15 guys who can take home the trophy and if you agree or disagree, make sure to leave it in the comments. Who do you think is the leading candidate for the Heisman?

No. 15: Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia

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    Aaron Murray stepped right in at Georgia and performed well under center.

    Murray threw for 2,851 yards, 24 touchdowns and just six interceptions. Throw in the fact that he did it in the SEC, a conference that has some of the toughest defenses in the country, and it makes that stat line even more impressive.

    If he builds on his freshman season, Murray is going to get a lot of Heisman buzz.

No. 14: Trey Burton, QB, Florida

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    Trey Burton is in line to be the next star at Florida and he's a duel threat who could bring back memories of Tim Tebow.

    Burton has had moments of brilliance in his short time with the Gators and with John Brantley possibly transferring, it would open the door for Burton to step in and take the reins. He could do amazing things and make a run to the Heisman.

    He's certainly exciting to watch to say the least.

No. 13: John Clay, RB, Wisconsin

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    John Clay is one of the threats out of the backfield in Wisconsin and he could have a monster season.

    Running behind that massive offensive line in Wisconsin will certainly help him get the holes he needs to break off huge runs and those types of plays could light up the highlight reels and get people talking about him for the Heisman.

    He'll have some competition in his own backfield though, so it won't be easy.

No. 12: Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri

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    Blaine Gabbert is a guy who is poised for a monster season in 2011.

    Gabbert is the leader of the Missouri Tigers and under center he helped lead the Tigers to a great season even if it didn't end the way everyone hoped it would. He threw for almost 3200 yards and if he comes back for his senior year, he could do great things.

    He'll have to reduce his interceptions, but other than that, it's a great resume.

No. 11: Darron Thomas, QB, Oregon

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    Darron Thomas stepped into a messy situation in Oregon after Jeremiah Masoli was kicked out of the program and he helped lead Oregon to a national title game appearance.

    With all of the hype and focus around running back LaMichael James, Thomas has done a great job under center running Chip Kelly's high-powered, fast paced offense and he has Oregon on the verge of something the school couldn't possibly imagine a few years ago.

    Thomas will be a force to be reckoned with next year.

No. 10: Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina

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    Marcus Lattimore is a star running back for South Carolina and a guy who can really break out in 2011.

    He's been tearing it up in his freshman year and almost ran for 1200 yards and will be back and better than ever next year. If he can improve on what was already an amazing year, he's going to be a Heisman trophy candidate.

    I think he has big things in store next year.

No. 9: Taylor Martinez, QB, Nebraska

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    Taylor Martinez has had an up and down time over the past season but if he can play to his ability, he'll be a huge threat in 2011.

    Martinez is a dual-threat quarterback that can beat you with his arm or his legs and he has had issues hanging on to the ball, but if he can smooth those out, he's going to be a guy who can dominate the new Big Ten and get Nebraska to a big time bowl game.

    It should be interesting to watch Martinez's maturity.

No. 8: Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State

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    If Justin Blackmon passes on the NFL draft, he's going to be a beast at the college level yet again.

    Blackmon is a huge target at Oklahoma State and he's someone who can make plays on any given play and someone who could win the Heisman at wideout, a position that doesn't really get a lot of love when it comes to that award.

    He's that good though. If you haven't seen him play, go watch a couple of highlight reels.

No. 7: Matt Barkley, QB, USC

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    Lost in the shuffle of USC's fall from grace was how well Matt Barkley played this season.

    Barkley emerged as a force for the Trojans this year and put together a very strong season that was lost as USC played in limbo after NCAA sanctions following the whole Reggie Bush fiasco. He's playing in a high-powered offense and that will only help his case next year.

    I think the quarterback is going to be one of the best players in the Pac-10 next year and be a candidate by season's end.

No. 6: Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma

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    It's not easy to take over for a guy like Sam Bradford and get out of his shadow, but Landry Jones did just that.

    Jones was clearly helped by the playing time he got when Bradford went down with a shoulder injury and helped lead Oklahoma to a Fiesta Bowl win over UConn and is poised to take Oklahoma into a national title race next year.

    I expect big things from him and can't wait to see how he grows as a player by next year.

No. 5: Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama

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    Trent Richardson has lived in the shadow of former Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram, but next year it's his time to shine.

    People have argued that Richardson was the better back of the two and now he'll get a chance to prove it. He's a back who can do it all and Alabama will be able to lean on him next year as the Crimson Tide try to get back to the national championship game.

    It should be fun to watch him run next season.

No. 4: Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State

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    If Kellen Moore comes back next year, and there's no reason to figure why he wouldn't, he's going to pick up right where he left off.

    Moore has been a beast for two years now at Boise State and he's a joy to watch when the Broncos are playing on Saturday's. He's gotten some big time wins during his time at Boise State and was even invited to New York for this year's Heisman ceremony.

    It will be interesting to see if he'll get more love this time around than he did in this year's voting.

No. 3: Denard Robinson, QB, Michigan

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    Denard Robinson was an early favorite for this year's Heisman Trophy, but then fizzled out.

    He got hurt in seemingly almost every game and struggled against some tough defenses and as he struggled, Michigan fell down around him and the Wolverines got pounded in their bowl game. Regardless, people will expect big things and if he puts in the work, he'll be a Heisman candidate either way.

    I think he can get it done next year, but he's not the top guy for the award.

No. 2: LaMichael James, RB, Oregon

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    LaMichael James was the centerpiece of the Oregon offense that took college football by storm and led the Ducks to the national championship game.

    James was a Heisman Trophy candidate this year and finished second to Auburn's Cam Newton. With Newton likely headed pro after this season, we could see James fill the void and make the push towards the trophy.

    Look for James to put up monster numbers again as the Ducks build a dynasty.

No. 1: Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford

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    Now if Andrew Luck comes back for his senior season, he will be far and away the top Heisman candidate.

    There have been reports that he's leaning towards staying but said last night after the Orange Bowl that coach Jim Harbaugh's decision to stay or go will have an impact on his decision to stay with the Cardinal as well.

    I think Luck will stay and put up monster numbers en route to the Heisman Trophy.