The Heisman race this year started out once again a Pac 12 quarterbacks to lose and that is what happened and very early in the season when Matt Barkley struggled versus a solid Stanford defense. While Barkley did struggle versus Stanford, Geno Smith had already started to build a campaign that would be tough for Barkley top. Let’s take a look at the front runners and dark horses for the trip to the Downtown Athletic Club.
Geno Smith: Smith has looked magnificent this season with only one game under 70% completion and less than 4 touchdowns this season.
He has complete control of the West Virginia offense and showed how effective he can be against an athletic defense in Texas last weekend.
He will get his chance in upcoming weeks against Kansas State and Oklahoma to make a statement. Season Stats: 166 of 204 for 1,996 yards with 24 Touchdowns and 0 interceptions with a 202.38 passer rating.
Collin Klein: Klein is the media darling due to his gritty play and leading Kansas State back to the Top Ten. His numbers are not eye popping and may not be pretty to watch but it’s hard to not admire this kid playing. Klein has already notched a big win over Oklahoma in Norman and will get a chance to face Geno Smith face to face in Morgan Town which could be the underdogs Heisman Trophy moment. Season Stats: Passing – 63 of 94 for 892 yards with 7 touchdowns and 2 interceptions with a 167.05 rating. Rushing – 73 attempts for 410 yards with a 5.62 average and 7 touchdowns.
De’Anthony Thomas: Thomas is an electrifying player from Oregon proclaimed as the Black Mamba by Snoop Dog as a youth and has lived up to the hype. The National Media likes to follow players that can do everything and make electric plays. Thomas is put in space by Kelly against all opponents and leads to long runs or pass plays but also has the chance to break a big one while returning kicks. If Thomas can break off a big return or two, look for the media to jump onto the Thomas bandwagon sooner than later. Season Stats: Rushing – 41 attempts for 377 yards with a 9.20 average and 6 touchdowns. Receiving – 20 receptions for 205 yards with a 10.25 average and 3 touchdowns.
Braxton Miller: Miller is the player that everyone wants Klein to be and the media is starting to jump on board with his play on field. Miller maybe the best quarterback in the Meyer spread offense which includes the likes of Alex Smith and Tim Tebow which are tough names to replace but Miller’s performance on the field is astounding. Miller already has four games over 130 yards rushing while also putting the ball in the air at a consistent rate. The downfall of the Big Ten will have some voters looking elsewhere as well as the Buckeyes not being able to play in the Big Ten Championship or being bowl eligible but Miller should be on top of the voter’s ballots. Season Stats: Passing – 83 of 135 for 1,060 yards with 9 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. Rushing – 106 attempts for 763 yards with a 7.2 average and 8 touchdowns.
Mike Gillislee: Gillislee plays in the SEC East and will get to face three more ranked opponents to finish the season. He currently is averaging 114 yards per game versus ranked opponents. If Florida runs the table, Gillislee will be the key and could vault up the list.
Matt Barkley: Playing behind a decimated offensive line this year, Barkley has yet to be able to stretch the field. We got a taste of the numbers possible last week versus Utah and with the schedule getting easier the next three weeks he should put up Heisman type numbers but will need big games versus Oregon and Notre Dame to make much noise.
Marcus Lattimore: Lattimore, much like Gillislee, will get to prove his spot in New York with the upcoming schedule as well as the GameCocks success. Lattimore is the key to South Carolina’s season and will get to show his worth the next two games versus LSU and Florida. The GameCocks make it to the SEC Championship game and Lattimore stays healthy, he will be the front-runner out of the SEC.