Once the Heisman Trophy winner was announced the discussions began for the favorites for the next season. As we approach the upcoming season it is a good time to take a look at the early favorites.
The Favorites (Alphabetical Order):
Montee Ball, Senior, Running Back, Wisconsin:
Ball rushed for 1,923 yards, and 33 touchdowns while adding 306 receiving yards and 6 touchdowns giving him a total of 39 touchdowns for the season tying Barry Sanders record. Ball will be carrying the offensive load with the departure of Russell Wilson. The Badgers also will have a new offensive line, but that shouldn’t worry Ball as Wisconsin always seems to have one of the best offensive lines in the country. The stats he put up a season ago are going to be very difficult to repeat, but he should be able to have another great season and be a potential finalist for the Heisman.
Matt Barkley, Senior, Quarterback, USC:
Barkley is by far the best quarterback coming into this season. Barkley is a complete quarterback and would have been the second overall pick in the NFL draft had he decided to leave school early. However, the NFL teams will be lining up for him after this season. Barkley threw for 3,528 yards with 39 touchdowns and just 7 interceptions. The Heisman Trophy could be sitting there waiting for him as he is the clear favorite. The Trojans did not lose many players to the draft and they will be returning Robert Woods who was Barkley’s favorite receiver hauling in 111 catches last season as a sophomore.
Marcus Lattimore, Junior, Running Back, South Carolina:
Lattimore is an interesting candidate for the Heisman as he is going to be bouncing back from a knee injury that ended his year last season. Lattimore rushed for 818 yards and 10 touchdowns before his season ending injury. He is the most talented running back in the SEC and possibly the entire country. The offense of the Gamecocks will run through him and if he comes back 100% and remains healthy he could see himself in New York as a Heisman finalist.
Aaron Murray, Junior, Quarterback, Georgia:
Coming off a great sophomore season throwing for 3,149 yards with 35 touchdowns and 14 interceptions Murray is set to be the best quarterback in the SEC this coming season. The Bulldogs could be serious contenders for the national title this season because of Murray. He is a very talented quarterback and he has experience since this will be his third season as Georgia’s starter. If Murray continues to improve he could be not only a Heisman finalist, but a hot NFL prospect as well.
Denard Robinson, Senior, Quarterback, Michigan:
Back to back 2,000 yard passing and 1,000 yard rushing seasons have Denard Robinson as the top contender to beat Matt Barkley. He his electric and creates havoc for opposing defenses. Michigan is returning a number of starters and they look to be favorites for the Legends Division in the Big Ten with possible National Championship discussions. Denard Robinson looks to complete his career with both a Heisman and National Championship.
Geno Smith, Senior, Quarterback, West Virginia:
Smith’s 407 yard and 6 touchdown performance in the Orange Bowl victory against Clemson put his mark in the Heisman discussion. He threw for 4,385 yards and 31 touchdowns with just 7 interceptions last season. Geno Smith has the Mountaineers back in the National Championship discussions. He also has a talented receiving group returning which creates an arsenal of weapons for him to succeed and potentially win the Heisman Trophy.
On the Outside Looking In:
Tajh Boyd, Junior, Quarterback, Clemson
Rex Burkhead, Senior, Running Back, Nebraska
Landry Jones, Senior, Quarterback, Oklahoma
Logan Thomas, Senior, Quarterback, Virginia Tech
Robert Woods, Junior, Wide Receiver, USC
The Heisman Trophy race this season is set to be a great one. There are a number of potential contenders that have not been named and the greatest thing about sports is that they are unpredictable. So as we can discuss the favorites, it is unknown what will happen during the season.