The HP Heisman Watch, Week 3

Week three is in the books and the 2011 Heisman race is starting to take form.

Here is my personal list of the players who currently stand the best chance of actually winning the Heisman, based on season-long projections (rather than the current prevailing wind).  This is not a predicted order of the final vote, nor the order of how the vote would go if held today.  Some players not on this list are likely to receive support, but not enough to win.

1. Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford — Luck had a fine game against Arizona and is on pace for a Heisman-worthy season. As long as he keeps doing what he’s doing and Stanford continues to play well, he’s the front runner. UCLA is next up and there’s no reason to think Luck won’t have another productive outing.

Last Week vs. Arizona: 20 of 31, 325 yards, 64.5%, 2 TDs, 0 Ints.

Season: 57 of 85, 786 yards, 67.1%, 8 TDs, 1 Ints., 173.44 rating

2. Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina — Lattimore has shoved his way into the thick of the Heisman race thanks to a stellar game against Navy. Sure, it was just Navy, but his efforts saved his team and Heisman voters will take notice of that. He’s a workhorse of a back and on pace for over 2,000 yards, but can he take all that pounding without getting hurt? The late October, early November part of the schedule will determine his Heisman fate.

Last Week vs. Navy: 37 carries, 246 yards, 3 TDs, 4 rec., 25 yards.

Season: 87 carries, 534 yards, 7 TDs, 6.14 ypc, 9 rec., 66 yards.

3. Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State — Moore looked great on national television in a romp over Toledo, a team that gave Ohio State trouble the week before. He’s headed for another spectacular season and is probably a lock to get invited to New York City.

Last Week vs. Toledo: 32 of 42, 76.2%, 455 yards, 5 TDs, 1 Ints.

Season: 60 of 76, 78.9%, 716, 8 TDs, 2 Ints., 187.57 rating

4. Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor — The great wildcard in this race is Griffin, whose numbers to date are beyond spectacular. If he can keep this production up, his team doesn’t have to go undefeated for him to win the Heisman. Matchups with Texas A&M, OSU and Oklahoma will go a long way toward making or breaking his candidacy.

Last Week vs. Stephen F. Austin: 20 of 22, 91%, 265 yards, 3 TDs, 0 Ints.

Season: 41 of 49, 83.7%, 624 yards, 8 TDs, 0 Ints., 244.52 rating

5. Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma — Jones wasn’t stellar against Florida State, but he was clutch when he needed to be and he led his team into a hostile environment and came away with the victory. His numbers are a little down compared to last year, but he’ll have plenty of chance to improve. As the top player on the No. 1 team, he’s a sure bet to hang around the top five for a while.

Last Week vs. FSU: 18 of 27, 66.8%, 199 yards, 1 TD, 2 Ints.

Season: 53 of 74, 71.6%, 574 yards, 2 TDs, 2 Ints., 140.29 rating

6. Denard Robinson, QB, Michigan — Robinson finally got uncorked in the running game against Eastern Michigan. That’s his bread and butter statistically and if he can also produce big yardage against the likes of Nebraska and Ohio State, he’ll be a major factor in the race.

Last Week vs. Eastern Michigan: 7 of 18, 38.9%, 95 yards, 2 TDs, 1 int., 26 carries, 198 yards, 1 TD

Season: 27 of 55, 49.1%, 531 yards, 6 TDs, 4 Ints., 151.64 rating, 50 carries, 352 yards, 7.0 ypc, 2 TDs

7. Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia — Smith remains a real darkhorse, but he can make a big jump this week by leading the Mountaineers to a win over LSU. I expect he’ll get better as the year goes on and he gets used to the new offensive system in place at WVU.

Last Week vs. Maryland: 36 of 49, 73.5%, 388 yards, 1 TD, 1 Int.

Season: 82 of 118, 69.5%, 1,008 yards, 7 TDs, 1 Int., 159.13 rating

8. Russell Wilson, QB, Wisconsin — You can’t ask a quarterback to play much better than Wilson has been playing, but we’ll know if he’s a real Heisman candidate two weeks from now when the Badgers host Nebraska.

Last Week vs. Northern Illinois: 23 of 32, 71.9%, 347 yards, 3 TDs, 1 Int.

Season: 50 of 66, 75.8%, 791 yards, 8 TDs, 1 Ints., 213.40 rating

9. Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama — Richardson got off to a slow start his first two weeks, but he finally busted loose against NTU. A big game against Arkansas this week and Florida the week after could push him into the top five of this race.

Last Week vs. North Texas: 11 carries, 167 yards, 3 TDs.

Season: 50 carries, 315 yards, 6.3 ypc, 8 TDs, 6 receptions, 36 yards

10. Taylor Martinez, QB, Nebraska — Martinez seems to be back to his freshman year form and he’s got the Huskers off to a good start. Back-to-back games against Wisconsin and Ohio State in early October will determine his Heisman fate.

Last Week vs. Washington: 10 of 21, 48.4%, 155 yards, 2 TDs, 0 Ints., 17 carries for 83 yards, 1 TD

Season: 31 of 64, 48.4%, 490 yards, 3 TDs, 2 Ints., 51 carries, 384 yards, 7.53 ypc, 6 TDs

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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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10 Responses to The HP Heisman Watch, Week 3

  1. Jeremy September 19, 2011 at 7:41 am #

    Curious what you think of San Diego State running back Ronnie Hillman. His competition has not been elite and he really has only a few chances to impress against TCU and Boise State, but he has 8 TD’s and 497 yards on the year.

    I don’t expect Hillman to win, but I feel he deserves some sort of consideration.

    • Heismanpundit September 20, 2011 at 12:08 am #

      Great back. But the reality of the race is what it is.

  2. TomTom September 19, 2011 at 1:02 pm #

    HP, Chris Rainey has to be in the top 10! Walter Camp Offensive Player of the week and second in the NCAA in total yards. Oh and he’s a beast on special teams blocking and returning kicks.

  3. Eric Watson September 19, 2011 at 8:48 pm #

    How is Griffin not #1? If this is based off merit in any way, there is no contest at this point. He is playing almost perfect, literally. Luck, Moore and Wilson are a virtual tie for #2. Denard Robinson is at a 49% completion percentage and has almost the same number of interception as touchdowns. He shouldn’t be in the top 15 let alone #6. Ahead of Wilson? No way. There is too much great QB play to put Laundry Jones at #5.

    • Heismanpundit September 20, 2011 at 12:08 am #

      This is based on the reality of the race, not how it should be.

      • Grant September 20, 2011 at 7:55 am #

        Worst response ever. You’ve clearly stated in your write-up that its a “personal list” which makes it totally opinionated (you probably only get your stats and feedback from the ESPN highlights while having your early morning bowl of cereal). The Heisman is a crock, and it still will be because of the “reality” that ESPN funds the award, and that ultimately decides the fate of who will be or not be highlighted religiously on TV. Your #1 and #2 are accurate, but I have to agree that Robert Griffin is statistically better but plays on a lackluster team. Everyone else on the list is rubbish and wont hardly receive enough votes. If I was you, I’d start paying attention to Cyrus Gray (RB) Texas A&M for your “personal list”, the kid has ran for 9 consecutive games over 100 rushing yards and counting.

        • Heismanpundit September 20, 2011 at 4:09 pm #

          It is a personal list in the sense that I am the one comprising it (as opposed to my heisman poll, which polls actual voters).

          But it is based on my gauge of how the race actually IS, not how I think it SHOULD be. What would be the point of bloviating about who I think SHOULD win? That’s what my vote is for, not my analysis of the actual race as it stands.

          The purpose of the Watch is to list those who have a chance to actually WIN. Not to finish 2nd or 4th or 6th, but to WIN.

          That all said, for someone who thinks the Heisman is a crock, not sure why you care anyway.

  4. South Fla Gator September 20, 2011 at 10:10 am #

    Have to agree with TomTom – how is Rainey not in the top 10? Rushing, receiving, returns, punt blocking, even a defensive score.

    • Heismanpundit September 20, 2011 at 4:11 pm #

      He is not in the top 10 of this list because this list looks at those who have the best chance of actually WINNING the Heisman, not of just finishing in the top 10.

  5. Justin Cypert September 20, 2011 at 8:52 pm #

    I really like Case Keenum, QB of the Houston Cougars. I wish he had a better chance to show case is skills. If he sets the NCAA records for most pasing yards and Touch Downs in a college career do you think he gets a little consideration?