The HP Heisman Watch, Week 2

Here is the latest edition of my Heisman Watch, which is my gauge of the players who currently have the best chance of actually winning the Heisman. 

Whittling away…

1. Terrelle Pryor, Ohio State–He didn’t blow people away against Miami, but he threw for 233 yards and rushed for 113 to lead his Buckeyes to a win and that’s what counts.  When it’s all said and done, he’s still got the best chance of winning the Heisman and, if for some reason he’s behind the curve, there is that little matchup with Michigan at the end to make things right.  He’s on pace to have 2,880 yards and 24 TDs passing and another 780 yards and 12 TDs rushing by the time of the Heisman vote.  Those are Heisman-worthy numbers by any measure.

2. Denard Robinson, Michigan–The only question for Robinson is whether he can stay healthy and keep up his torrid pace.  Not that he has to put up 500 yards every game.  If he averages 154 rushing yards from here on out, he’ll crack the 2,000 yard mark.  As it stands now, though, he’s on pace to have 2,600 passing yards and 2,700 rushing yards by the time the vote goes down.  Um, yeah.  That’d do it.

3. Kellen Moore, Boise State–Has any team or player been more quickly overshadowed than Boise State and Moore has this past week?  Thanks to the Hokies’ loss to James Madison and the heroics of Robinson and Pryor, Moore isn’t the talk of the town so much anymore.  Still, he’s now established as a name and his team is in the title mix.  He’s just going to need a little help, which means the players ahead of him need to mess up.     

4. Ryan Mallett, Arkansas–Mallett is a juggernaut lurking in the shadows of the Heisman race.  As expected, he’s putting up huge numbers, but so far it’s not against marquee competition.  Coming showdowns with Georgia, Alabama, Texas A&M and Auburn will prove his mettle in this race.  He’s on pace for 4,200 yards and 36 touchdowns, so the stats should be there.  If the wins follow, look out.

5. DeMarco Murray, Oklahoma–I am of a mind that the voters are unlikely to pick Landry Jones for Heisman so soon after choosing Sam Bradford, but that shouldn’t prevent Murray from making headway.  Even though he was shut down against FSU, he still scored a couple touchdowns and the Sooners won.  He’s on pace to rush for over 1,600 yards and score 24 touchdowns by the time of the Heisman vote.  If some of the other candidates slip up and he gets to these marks, he’d have a shot.

6. Andrew Luck, Stanford–Luck is the candidate out West with the best shot of winning.  Not only has a Stanford quarterback won the Heisman before, a Stanford running back finished second last season.  So, voters are well aware of him.  He’s off to a good start this year and there are high profile games with Oregon and USC to burnish his credentials.  At his current pace, he’ll throw for 2,820 yards and 36 touchdowns while adding another 420 yards on the ground.  If the Cardinal win the Pac-10, he’ll get some consideration.

7. John Clay, Wisconsin–Clay is off to a good start so far, but he needed to get off to a torrid start to have a shot at the Heisman and that’s why he has dropped off some on this Watch.  I believe he needs 2,000 yards or more to have a shot at winning.  At this stage, he’s on pace for 1,560.  There are still games to be played, but he needs to pick up the pace a bit.

8. Trent Richardson, Alabama–Richardson shined on a national stage against Penn State and now has an outside shot at a serious Heisman run.  Naturally, it will depend on the status of Mark Ingram moving forward and how many carries last year’s winner will get upon his return.  Right now, Richardson is on pace for just over 1,200 yards and 18 touchdowns, but he could improve upon that if he retains the bulk of the carries.

9. LaMichael James, Oregon–James is a little late to the party, but he did make a nice splash following his one-game suspension, rushing for 134 yards and a score against Tennessee.  With Oregon in the national title mix, he’ll get plenty of attention now.  He’s on pace for nearly 1,500 yards despite the missed game, but with the Ducks offense the way it is, I wouldn’t be shocked if he got more now that he’s rolling again.  He’ll have to do some special things to jump the rest of the list, but it’s not out of the question.

10. Daniel Thomas, Kansas State–Thomas is the nation’s premier power back and a future first round NFL pick.  So far this year he is averaging 185 yards and two scores per game which means he is on pace for 2,220 yards and 24 touchdowns by the time of the Heisman vote.  Big 12 backs like Troy Davis have gone over 2,000 yards before without winning the Heisman, but they came close, so if he can hit that mark, he’ll be in the thick of the race.  Naturally, the wildcard is how well his team will do.  If they can hit 8 wins and he hits 2,000, he might have a good case.

If the vote were held today

1. Denard Robinson

2. Terrell Pryor

3. Kellen Moore

4. Ryan Mallett

5. Case Keenum

6. Jerrod Johnson

7. Andrew Luck

8. Patrick Peterson

9. Daniel Thomas

10. Trent Richardson

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About Heismanpundit

Chris Huston, A.K.A. ‘The Heisman Pundit‘, is a Heisman voter and the creator and publisher of, a site dedicated to analysis of the Heisman Trophy and college football. Dubbed “the foremost authority on the Heisman” by Sports Illustrated, HP is regularly quoted or cited during football season in newspapers across the country. He is also a regular contributor on sports talk radio and television.

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15 Responses to The HP Heisman Watch, Week 2

  1. starkweather September 13, 2010 at 2:03 pm #

    As much as I want Case Keenum in the race, I think he’s a goner. He hasn’t put up stupid numbers and he’s hurt. I don’t know if he’ll miss a game but he basically needs 6,000 yds passing to win and that won’t happen. Denard Robinson would win in a landslide right now but we’ll see. I wouldn’t be surprised to end up with another top 5 defender at the end of the season, like Suh last year, but I don’t know who that would be. Not a lot of offensive excitement outside of Ann Arbor right now.

  2. starkweather September 13, 2010 at 2:05 pm #

    Also, I forgot to say, Kendall Hunter should be in the discussion at this point.

  3. smedlin September 13, 2010 at 3:04 pm #

    Keep in mind that it’s largely the same group of voters who picked Matt Leinart exactly two years after Carson Palmer. Not saying Landry Jones has a chance, but I wouldn’t blame Bradford for it.

  4. Daniel September 13, 2010 at 3:32 pm #

    That’s a pretty solid list. If it were held right now, I’d put Robinson No. 1, and evreyone else is much of a muchness.
    He’s had two incredible games against a Big East school and Notre Dame, whereas most of the other candidates have beaten up on weaker opposition, except for Terrelle Pryor against Miami and Kellen Moore against Virginia Tech.

  5. AUman76 September 13, 2010 at 10:23 pm #

    Daniel, do you really consider ND an elite program these days? They haven’t been able to compete with a real football team in years. Their defense is horrible. All the Irish have is a name that once stood for something in the northern and NE media. They play about as weak aschedule as a team could hope for and still are a winner. The domers won’t join a conference cause that would require having to compete and win something on the field rather than being handed it on a silver platter by the media. So far as UCONN? One or two seasons of decent football does not make a team an elite program. They are but an average team in a poor football conference. For once I’m not hatin just statin facts. ND is pitiful when goin up against a superior team.

  6. Bo September 13, 2010 at 10:24 pm #

    Denard is the most exciting player we’ve seen in a long time. I think if he gets the Michigan team turned around from last years horror than he should get it. 8 wins should do it.

  7. AUman76 September 13, 2010 at 10:33 pm #

    HP, Pryor ain’t winnin nuthin and never will. No Heisman and no BCS Title. He’s just an ovehyped average QB in a weak defensive conference. He’s done his damage against piss poor defenses and that includes a vastly overated Miami squad. As much as you media types wanna push former top programs like the Canes, FSU, Michigan and ND none of em can compete on their home field much less a neutral field, as you like to bring up, against a good team. Robison looks good against weak competition but let’s see what happens when he starts conference play. But then again that ain’t much of a test considering how bad lil11 teams are defensively. But I’m willin to listen to all the hype and BS about the lil11 kids while watching much better football played elsewhere.

  8. AUman76 September 13, 2010 at 10:42 pm #

    Bo I hope y’all beat duhOSU but Robinson has yet to play an elite team. That said I must admit he is fun to watch and seems like a good kid. He comes across as a huble youngin and a team player first so despite my views on the competition he’s faced, I like his style! College football needs more young men like him. And I do wish him the best cause my realitives in Michigan will be much happier if the Blue and Maze win a few more games.

  9. jayclay September 14, 2010 at 6:50 am #

    Hold on there, it’s ONLY week 2, there’s a freshmen in Carolina better than them all!!!

  10. AUman76 September 14, 2010 at 11:12 pm #

    Hold on there, there’s a freshman in Auburn better than all the rest but we ain’t gonna wear him out early. Why do so when we have Cam Newton? Dyer is the real deal too and y’all are about to see it. I waited to see what he was gonna look like in a couple of games and now I know. He won’t win a Heisman this year due to lack of carries but he will help AU win a lot of games.

    • Heismanpundit September 15, 2010 at 9:09 am #

      Yes, AUMan, I am very aware of, and high on, Dyer. In fact, I had him ranked no. 10 on my running backs list this year despite him being just a true frosh and despite my overwhelming Pac-10 bias I still had him on my list of top freshmen, too.

  11. philnotfil September 15, 2010 at 9:39 am #

    If Janoris Jenkins replaces Chris Rainey on kick returns for Florida, does he have any chance?

  12. AUman76 September 15, 2010 at 1:33 pm #

    I caught that article HP. Just sayin Dyer is a better pure RB than Lattimore. Size wise they are similar but MD has more of that raw speed you often mention. I believe Dyer will get more carries this week and next due to Fannins shoulder injury. Could be an opportunity for him to make his mark. Gonna be interesting to see how he’s used and how many carries he gets. I wanna see him catch a couple of passes in the flat or on the wheel route. Runnin a screen play is outta the question since we haven’t been able to do that successfully in decades.

  13. Roby September 15, 2010 at 9:02 pm #

    For another defensive back/kick returner to win again, he’s probably got to have 15 combined picks and return TDs. I doubt it ever happens again.

    In 2006, Reggie Nelson was all over the place (remember? The earth is covered by 70% water. The rest is covered by Reggie Nelson.) for a championship team. He was their best player and he wasn’t within a sniff of the Heisman.

    Even last year, Eric Berry was the best player in college football (until Suh steamrolled him, Texas, and the rest of college football) and he was never a real Heisman candidate. He STARTED the year with Heisman hype too.


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