2011 Heisman Watch: Top 5 Candidates to Keep an Eye on
It's no mystery that Andrew Luck was the odds-on favorite in the Heisman race coming into the season.
The Stanford quarterback and future No. 1 overall NFL draft pick was out-shined only by Cam Newton's magical championship run with Auburn last year.
Luck now stands as the safest bet to take home the award this season, but there's always a chance that another player could pull off a Newton-like season and steal the spotlight.
This fact was only highlighted by college football's first week of action.
Luck may still be the favorite, but a few other players more than made their case for the Heisman in week one.
Following is a list of the top five Heisman candidates after college football's first week of action.
5. Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina
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Week one performance: 112 rushing yards, 3 TDs, 4.9 yards per carry
Despite falling behind early, South Carolina was able to engineer a fantastic comeback against East Carolina—owing primarily to Marcus Lattimore's outstanding performance.
The East Carolina defense had trouble stopping Lattimore's combination of strength and speed, as he pulled off an impressive 4.9 yards per carry.
His performance put him solidly ahead of fellow SEC running back, Trent Richardson, who managed only 37 rushing yards on 2.8 yards per carry against Kent State, despite also scoring three touchdowns.
Lattimore will face a much tougher task this week as the Gamecocks will take on SEC foe Georgia.
4. Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma
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Week one performance: 375 passing yards, 1 TD
Landry Jones' stock remained about the same after leading his team to an easy rout of Tulsa.
Jones completed 35 of his 47 passes before Oklahoma coaches called off the dogs. He looked calm and efficient all game-long, which is evidenced by his 148.5 quarterback rating.
Jones will have a much tougher task this week as the Sooners take on Florida State. The Seminoles defense is coming off of a shutout of Louisiana-Monroe, and will look to put some pressure on the junior quarterback early on.
Jones has a lot of work ahead of him if he wants to pass up Kellen Moore and Andrew Luck. Leading the Sooners to a big win over fifth-ranked Florida State would be a good start.
3. Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
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Week one performance: 359 passing yards, 5 TDs
Robert Griffin III put on arguably the most impressive performance of week one as Baylor won a thriller over TCU.
Griffin completed just under 78 percent of his passes and threw for five touchdowns as the Bears hung 50 points on the reigning Mountain West champions.
Griffin's Heisman campaign initially appeared to be an uphill battle, but his performance on national television managed to captivate fans from around the country.
In order to stay in contention for the award, he will have to continue to put up big numbers each week, which should prove especially challenging against schools such as Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M.
Griffin's next challenge comes in the form of Stephen F. Austin's defense. Expect more big-time numbers from the junior quarterback.
2. Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State
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Week one performance: 261 passing yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT
Kellen Moore had the toughest test of all the candidates in week one, but he passed the gridiron exam with flying colors.
The Boise State Broncos let the college football world know that they were for real with a 35-21 drubbing of traditional SEC power Georgia.
Moore was the consensus MVP of the game, racking up 261 passing yards and three touchdowns against a stout Bulldogs defense.
Moore was also astoundingly efficient, completing over 82 percent of his passes.
The senior quarterback will get the chance to pad his stats next week as the Broncos take on the Toledo Rockets.
1. Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
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Week one performance: 171 passing yards, 2 TDs; 9 rushing yards, 1 TD
No huge surprise here—Andrew Luck still stands atop the mountain when it comes to Heisman candidates.
His numbers in week one weren't exactly eye-popping, but they didn't need to be. Stanford blew out San Jose State 57-3, and Luck was pulled before the beginning of the fourth quarter. Nevertheless, the junior quarterback still managed to pile up three touchdowns before his exit.
Luck and the Cardinal will face a slightly tougher test against Duke, but the quarterback should still be able to handle the Blue Devils' defense with relative ease.
It will be very tough for any Heisman candidate to usurp Luck, but his looming late-season matchups against USC and Oregon give his competitors at least a glimmer of hope.