With four weeks of college football in the books, the Heisman talks have begun to slowly heat up once again, with the list of consisting largely of quarterbacks and running backs.
In Week 4 there were no disappointments for large performances by the already-Heisman hopefuls: The likes of Standford's own Andrew Luck and Boise State's own Kellen Moore. But despite the popularity of these two, there are plenty of players that are raising their stock every week—those that are breaking out and showing plenty of Heisman potential.
Week 4 was no exception to the rule.
Denard Robinson is sometimes an afterthought in the Heisman race due to Michigan's lack of success for some years, but he has emerged once again as a candidate after his stellar performance against San Diego State.
Against San Diego State, while he only went 8-17 for 93 yards and two interceptions, Robinson took it upon himself to become a run-first quarterback for the rest of the game. Robinson would then go on to rush for 200 yards and three touchdowns on 21 attempts in a 28-7 victory.
While Robinson has certainly opened eyes with his 200 yard rushing performance, Robinson may struggle to go higher because of his questionable abilities as a passer.
His explosive athletic ability is without a doubt one of the best in college football, but Robinson needs to show he can become a more consistent passer.
It's been awhile since South Carolina has had any impact players on offense that they have been able to build around.
That is, until Lattimore came onto the scene last season, and he has continue to build on last season's success.
Lattimore has a great combination of size, speed and power for the Gamecocks to be successful. He has good hands out of the backfield, runs well between the tackles and is head coach Steve Spurrier's primary workhorse.
Lattimore's versatility in and out of the backfield should at least warrant the running back some consideration and votes for the Heisman trophy.
While he is still a sophomore, Lattimore frequently receives the majority of carries and has been a primary factor that enables South Carolina to win games.
Alabama running back Trent Richardson was a preseason Heisman hopeful, and has kind of fallen off of the radar.
But do not be fooled. Richardson needs to continue to sit on the radar.
Through four weeks of football, Richardson has 441 rushing yards, but also has eight touchdowns. Richardson has been doing well, but constantly faces defenses that are stacking the box and gearing towards stopping the run.
For the last three weeks, Richardson has had three straight 100-yard games and five total touchdowns, including one receiving touchdown.
With Alabama on a winning streak, and proving plenty in their 38-14 against Arkansas, they will be sure to give Richardson plenty of opportunities to succeed in the ground game. Their passing attack against Arkansas will have to be respectable in the coming weeks, which could open up Richardson on the ground.
Perhaps the biggest dark horse Heisman candidate that should receive some serious consideration is running Ronnie Hillman out of San Diego State.
Why Ronnie Hillman?
Well, first off, in only four weeks of the season, Hillman has 606 rushing yards to go along with eight touchdowns. Hillman has had at least 100 yards in every game so far, including a four-touchdown performance against Washington State.
He ran the ball 32 times for 191 yards. Hillman is among the top backs that should be considered for the Heisman. However, considering he plays for San Diego State and considering their schedule, Hillman may get snubbed simply because of the competition he faces.
But in terms of talent, Hillman is a talented Heisman-worthy running back.
It seems as though everyone has forgotten about Oregon running back LaMichael James. Despite his slow start, he is still one of the best running backs in the Heisman race.
Initially, James had kind of fallen off of everybody's top lists, but he still has a case to belong on the Heisman watch list.
Through four weeks, James has 613 rushing yards and seven touchdowns. Against Arizona, James vaulted himself back into top consideration with a 288 yard rushing performance, adding two more touchdowns to boot.
James was slow to start the first two weeks, rushing for 54 and 67 yards with only two touchdowns, but has quickly rebounded with 204 rushing yards and 288 rushing yards for the last two weeks.
While it is still early in the season, James needs to continue his increased production if he hopes to catch up to the likes of Andrew Luck and Kellen Moore.