2011 College Football Picks: 7 Players on Serious Heisman Watch

Brian LendinoCorrespondent IISeptember 1, 2011

2011 College Football Picks: 7 Players on Serious Heisman Watch

0 of 8

    The Heisman Trophy is awarded annually to college football's best player who displays both character and integrity on and off the field.

    A year ago, Auburn quarterback, and eventual national champion, Cameron Newton won college football's coveted MVP trophy.

    Aside from Mark Ingram in 2009, the last nine Heismans have been awarded to a quarterback, and this year, the nation's best quarterback happens to be last year's Heisman runner-up, as Stanford QB Andrew Luck leads the charge towards the December 10th crowning of the year's college football king.

    However, he's not the only one looking to stamp his name into college football lore.

LaMichael James, Oregon

1 of 8

    Oregon Ducks running back LaMichael James is an electrifying force on the football field. He also finished third in last year's Heisman Trophy voting.

    James is back for another season and is a major reason why the Ducks have such high expectations going into this year.

    Personally, I expect him to finish in the top two in the voting at the end of the year.

Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State

2 of 8

    Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon is the only wide receiver on this list. That doesn't mean he's far and away the best receiver in the land, he's just the one with the highest ceiling.

    With quarterback Brandon Weedon returning to help Blackmon improve on his monstrous season of a year ago that saw him snag 102 balls and 18 touchdowns in just 11 games, Blackmon is going to be a mainstay on SportsCenter week-in and week-out.

Andrew Luck, Stanford

3 of 8

    Thought by many to be the clear-cut Heisman favorite for this year, Luck surprised a lot of people when he opted to avoid the draft and return for his junior season.

    With another well-rounded Stanford football team expected to take the field this season, their leader Luck will hope to guide them to a second straight BCS bowl appearance; and for Luck, specifically, a second straight trip to New York for the Heisman Trophy ceremony.

Trent Richardson, Alabama

4 of 8

    Bone-bruising back Trent Richardson is finally ready to step out of the shadows of former Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram and make a name for himself in 'Bama history.

    With a new quarterback for the Tide, they are going to rely heavily on Richardson to move the offense when the passing game starts to sputter.

    Richardson's numbers could benefit greatly from this, and launch himself into the front line of the Heisman watch.

Tyler Wilson, Arkansas

5 of 8

    Like Richardson, Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson is ready to step out of the shadows of the former superstar preceding him on the depth chart just a year ago.

    Luckily for Wilson, the Razorbacks boast one of the best receiving corps in the entire NCAA—and Wilson has the arm to get it to them.

    He's a long shot on this list, but if Arkansas can surprise people and make noise in the SEC, a lot of it will be due to Wilson, and you'll be sure to see and hear his name in the Heisman watch.

Kellen Moore, Boise State

6 of 8

    Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore is about as reliable as they come in college football. He was in New York for the Heisman ceremony last year and finished fourth.

    Unfortunately for him, he is Boise State, and if they don't look absolutely perfect, he shoulders all the blame.

    Further, playing in the Mountain West, Moore doesn't quite get the national spotlight that some of these other candidates might. And that hurts him.

    But hey, who knows? His play could be that stunning considering he is that good.

Landry Jones, Oklahoma

7 of 8

    Landry Jones is returning to quarterback for what the polls believe to be is the best team in the nation, Oklahoma

    He threw for 4,700 yards and 38 touchdowns a year ago, and the best part about it is, he gets his receivers Ryan Broyles and Kenny Still back.

    There's no doubt that Jones is going to light up the sky for the Sooners this season and get plenty of Heisman consideration throughout the 2011 campaign.

Who's Going to New York? Who Wins?

8 of 8

    Normally, the Heisman committee invites four, maybe five players to attend the presentation ceremony, depending on how many players perform at an exceptionally high level.

    For sake of argument, I'm inviting five:

    5. Trent Richardson

    1. 4. Kellen Moore
    2. 3. Landry Jones
    3. 2. Andrew Luck
    4. 1. LaMichael James

    Boom. The Oregon running back takes the cake this season.