Every year the list of Heisman trophy contenders reads like the who’s who of guys from preseason top 25 teams whose team has a legitimate shot at winning the national title.Sometimes there are surprises, though, like Robert Griffin III taking it from preseason favourite Andrew Luck in 2011.
Even so, next year’s list of contenders should be similar with Montee Ball, Matt Barkley, and a few others leading the way.
As a three-year starter quarterback Matt Barkley has continued to improve every season. Increasing his passing yards, completion percentage, and touchdowns while lowering his interception numbers every season. Next year Barkley will lead a preseason top 5 USC team widely expected to be the class of the Pac-12.
Cornerback Tyrann Mathieu's huge sophomore campaign landed him fifth in the 2011 Heisman voting, which meant an invitation to the award ceremony in New York. Nicknamed 'the honey badger,' for taking what he wants when he wants, Mathieu led the SEC with 6 forced fumbles. He will be a key cog in coach Les Miles' defence as they try to reach another BCS national championship game.
Due to injury, running back Marcus Lattimore only played in seven games in 2011. Still, his per game rushing yards went from 93 to 116 between his freshman and sophomore years. If he stays healthy Lattimore will be the most important player to South Carolina's success in the SEC East.
After consecutive seasons of 2,000+ passing yards and 1,000+ rushing yards quarterback Denard Robinson will be front and centre as THE guy who can lead Michigan back to its usual glory. Leading Michigan to an 11-win season and Sugar Bowl victory in 2011 will certainly boost his candidacy going into next season.
Two years as the full-time starter for Georgia means Aaron Murray will be primed for the big time. The former highly-touted recruit will look to wow voters with another 3,000 yard and 30 TD season. He will also be part of a Bulldogs team that many see as SEC east favourites.
All Montee Ball did as a junior for Wisconsin in 2011 is lead the nation in rushing yards (1,923) and rushing touchdowns (33) on his way to a fourth place finish in the Heisman voting. After receiving only a third round grade from NFL evaluators, he's vowed to return for his senior season. Wisconsin is sure to contend for another Big 10 title with Ball getting 20+ carries a game.
Sophomore quarterback Tajh Boyd blew up in 2011 after struggling as a part timer in 2010 . He passed for nearly 4,000 yards and led Clemson's high-octane offence to an ACC championship. The ACC race is once again a free-for-all, so the Tigers will be right in the thick of things with Boyd grabbing most of the headlines.
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