Heisman Trophy Watch 2011: The Top 10 Contenders Heading into Week 6
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The race for the Heisman Trophy has rounded the quarter pole and is now headed down the backstretch, and judging from the way things look right now, it’s setting up to be an exciting finish.
We’ve got some established big names who are pacing the field but there are also plenty of dark horses who are making some noise as well.
Stanford QB Andrew Luck, the media darling who entered the season as many people’s Heisman favorite, hasn’t done anything to disappoint his supporters, but Luck better not let up because he’s got a ton of challengers right at his heels.
Let’s have a look at the Top 10 Heisman contenders going into Week 6.
1. QB Andrew Luck, Stanford
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Andrew Luck entered the season as college football’s golden boy and he hasn't done anything to forfeit that title.
Luck has guided the Cardinal to a 4-0 record, throwing for over 1,000 yards and 11 TDs so far.
With only one ranked opponent remaining on the schedule, it’s going to be difficult for Luck to really prove himself against top competition, but if he beats No. 9 Oregon on Nov. 12 and leads Stanford to an undefeated season, the Heisman will be his.
2. QB Russell Wilson, Wisconsin
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Hmm, I wonder if Tom O’Brien misses Russell Wilson yet.
So far, Wilson has made a seamless transition to Madison and he seems to be the playmaking piece that this Wisconsin offense needed to finally become a juggernaut.
The supremely gifted dual-threat quarterback has already thrown for 1,391 yards and 13 TDs and he made a huge statement this past Saturday when he and the Badgers embarrassed No. 14 Nebraska 48-17.
With one of the biggest and best offensive lines in the country protecting him, Wilson should have plenty more opportunities to make big plays.
It’s hard to see any team in the Big Ten slowing down this Wisconsin offense, which is currently averaging 48 points and 523 yards per game.
3. QB Robert Griffin III, Baylor
Robert Griffin III
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Robert Griffin III, college football’s biggest breakout star of the 2011 season, torched his fourth straight defense this past Saturday when he lit up Kansas State to the tune of 346 yards and five TDs, however, it was Griffin’s one big mistake that cost his team a win.
Even that one misguided interception can’t erase all the athletic junior has achieved through the first four games. Griffin is on pace to throw 54 TDs.
It should be interesting to see how he fares against top Big 12 teams like Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas and Texas A&M
4. RB Trent Richardson, Alabama
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Trent Richardson has erased any doubt about whether or not he could handle being the top dog of the Alabama backfield.
Richardson has stepped in and hit the ground running as Heisman-winning former teammate Mark Ingram’s replacement, rushing for 622 yards and scoring 11 TDs in the Tide’s first five games.
The 5’11’’, 225-pound junior is one of the strongest and most powerful backs in the country and he showed off that strength in Alabama’s big win over Florida this past Saturday night when he ran for 181 yards and scored 2 TDs on a respectable Florida defensive front seven.
5. QB Landry Jones, Oklahoma
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So far this season, Oklahoma QB Landry Jones has put up the type of numbers we expected from him, as he’s thrown for 1,447 yards and 10 TDs, but Jones hasn’t really made many “Wow” types of plays.
The junior signal-caller didn’t exactly look all that great against Florida State and he has already thrown five interceptions, however, if Oklahoma keeps winning and if Jones keeps putting up big stats, people will continue to pay attention.
Jones has a great chance to really show the college football world what he’s made of this weekend when Oklahoma gets in the ring with No. 11 Texas.
6. QB Tajh Boyd, Clemson
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Is it too early to start calling Tajh Boyd this year’s Cam Newton?
The Clemson quarterback has been one of the hidden gems of the early part of the 2011 season but now that the Tigers have had so much success against top teams, it’s almost impossible to keep Boyd a secret anymore.
We’re finally starting to see the manifestation of the former 5-Star recruit’s enormous potential. Boyd has thrown for 1,459 yards and 14 TDs but his most important numbers of the season are the three straight victories he has over ranked opponents.
Clemson has been flying up the polls over the last few weeks and if the Tigers can keep up their current pace, Boyd will soon find himself in the heart of the Heisman discussion.
7. QB Kellen Moore, Boise State
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I know that they’ve gone back up to Idaho to hibernate until their big matchup with TCU in November, but don’t forget about QB Kellen Moore and the Boise State Broncos.
Moore is about to become college football’s all-time wins leader and even though he was far from impressive this past Saturday in a win over Nevada, he’s still been demonstrating why he’s college football’s most consistent quarterback.
It’s going to be hard for Moore to build a strong Heisman resume without facing any ranked teams from here on out, but if the senior leads the Broncos to another undefeated season, he'll deserve some major respect.
8. QB Brandon Weden, Oklahoma State
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As it turns out, QB Brandon Weeden wasn’t just a product of Dana Holgorsen’s pass-happy system.
After throwing for over 4,200 yards and 34 TDs in 2010, Weeden has picked up right where he left off, as he’s decimated opposing secondaries, throwing for 1,592 yards in just four games.
With his trusty No. 1 receiving ace Justin Blackmon by his side, Weeden will have a great opportunity to top his extraordinary numbers from last season, and he’s got the pieces around him to guide the Cowboys to a Big 12 championship this season.
9. CB Tyrann Mathieu, LSU
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There are a lot of great defenders in college football this year but none of them have made the type of impact that LSU CB Tyrann Mathieu has.
Mathieu is a true defensive difference-maker in every sense and he’s made LSU fans forget about departed star cornerback Patrick Peterson.
Although Ndamukong Suh broke the trend a few years ago, it’s rare to see a defensive player enter the Heisman discussion.
Charles Woodson is the only defender who has ever won the award, but Mathieu just might be one of the best defensive playmakers we’ve seen since the former Michigan star took home the trophy back in 1997.
10. QB Denard Robinson, Michigan
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So much for adjusting to a new system.
Going into the season, many wondered how Michigan QB Denard Robinson would handle playing in a primarily pass-focused offensive attack, but so far, Robinson has flourished in his new role as a passer.
The dual-threat star has already totaled 1,345 yards of offense and scored 14 TDs as he’s led the Wolverines to a 5-0 record and a Top 15 national ranking.
Robinson is still one of the most exciting players we have in the game today and if he avoids a second-half fade like he had last year, he should stay right in the mix for the Heisman.
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RB Montee Ball, Wisconsin
RB LaMichael James, Oregon
WR Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State
RB Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina
QB Darron Thomas, Oregon
RB Michael Dyer, Auburn
QB Geno Smith, West Virginia
RB David Wilson, Virginina Tech
QB Nathan Scheelhaase, Illinois
QB Tevin Washington, Georgia Tech