With the college football season coming near (79 long days), it’s the time of the year when we try to predict what we will see in the upcoming 2012 season. While no one saw guys like Robert Griffin III from Baylor coming out, it’s always fun to try to foresee what will happen during the season. One of my favorite things to predict are Heisman winners and here is my watchlist.
Matt Barkley, QB, USC
This one is quite obvious, in fact, I was shocked that he didn’t make it last year as a Finalist. With a chance to compete for a bowl this season, expect USC’s signal caller to be the front runner in the Heisman race all season long. I expect Barkley to eclipse the 4,000 yard passing mark as well as having 40 or more touchdowns. If USC can live up to the hype and make a run for the BCS Bowl Game, it will be because of the Mater Dei alumn.
Marcus Lattimore, HB, South Carolina
If it wasn’t for a devastating knee injury late in the season, Lattimore could easily have been in New York City at last season’s end. Marcus is easily the most talented back in the nation and he will be getting plenty of carries now that the Gamecocks have a mobile quarterback and the lost of Alshon Jeffery. He could easily lead the nation in rushing and if the Gamecocks have success as a team, Lattimore might be holding that trophy.
Denard Robinson, QB, Michigan
It seems that every year D-Rob is on this list and every year, something goes wrong. The Wolverines shot caller might be the most electrifying player in the nation and that certainly helps in the eyes of voters, just ask Heisman winner Robert Griffin III. Denard will surely rush for near 1,000 yards and if he can back it up with solid performance through the air and another bowl appearance for the Wolverines, Denard might finally make it to New York.
Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
Geno Smith will throw for a lot of yards under Dana Holgorsen’s offense. As a junior, he threw for 4,385 yards and 31 touchdowns, completing almost 65 percent of his passes in his first year under Holgorsen’s system. He has a great receiving corps and when you play in the Big 12, you’re numbers are going to look great, plain and simple.
Colin Klein, QB, Kansas State
Perhaps the most underrated quarterback, Colin Klein can do it all and is one of the best dual threats quarterbacks in the country. He is that good. He scored 27 rushing touchdowns on the ground last season , that’s Tim Tebow good. If Klein can get Kansas State ranked once again and improves his numbers through the air (57.3 completion percentage), he could become an Heisman finalist.
Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma
Jones was my favorite to win the Heisman coming into last season and he clearly failed to do that. When he lost Ryan Broyles due to an injury, everything fell apart. The Sooners have a very good group of receivers but clearly the chemistry wasn’t there when Broyles was missing. With an off-season to build a rapport with the other receivers, Jones could be headed for a big 2012 season.
De’Anthony Thomas, RB, Oregon
De’Anthony Thomas is one of the, if not the, most explosive players in the nation. Two words to describe Thomas is fast and a playmaker. While he doesn’t have a true position, he’ll still be able to make plays in a variety of ways. With LaMichael James gone, he’ll be asked to do much more and share the carry load with Kenjon Barner, thus giving him more opportunities to make big plays.
Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas
Even with the whole Bobby Petrino mess, Arkansas is a very good football team and will be looking to make a run for the BCS Bowl. While the return of Knile Davis will certainly help, the Razorbacks will go as far as Tyler Wilson takes them. If Wilson and Arkansas can take down either Bama or LSU, maybe even both, he’ll certainly set himself up to be in New York.