Looking Ahead: 2012 Heisman Candidates

It’s never too early to peer even further into the future to figure out which players are shaping up as legitimate Heisman candidates for 2012.

A lot of the players who people bandy about in 2011, but who fail to gain traction with the Heisman electorate, will nonetheless be well-positioned for a 2012 run.

Obviously, some players will go pro and we don’t know exactly who will comprise that list at the moment, so this list makes a few educated assumptions and goes from there.

At first glance, this appears to be a strong field:

Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina
Ronnie Hillman, San Diego State
Lamar Miller, Miami
Michael Dyer, Auburn
Knile Davis, Arkansas
Robert Griffin III
Nathan Scheelhaase, Illinois
Tajh Boyd, Clemson
Tyler Bray, Tennessee
Aaron Murray, Georgia
Geno Smith, West Virginia
Denard Robinson, Michigan
Taylor Martinez, Nebraska

I think Lattimore has the chance to be the front runner, along with Smith, Robinson, Griffin and Bray.

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Chris Huston, A.K.A. ‘The Heisman Pundit‘, is a Heisman voter and the creator and publisher of Heismanpundit.com, 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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21 Responses to Looking Ahead: 2012 Heisman Candidates

  1. zach September 20, 2011 at 8:30 am #

    I think you gotta include Darron Thomas. 2012 is when Oregon is REALLY primed to make a run at the national title. While LaMichael James is probably gone after this year, they bring back a ton of talent at the QB, RB, WR, and TE spots, while their defense will have another year under their belt. The offensive line will have to replace only two starters from a deep rotation.

    And with the way De’Anthony Thomas is playing right now, I can only imagine his improvement a year from now.

    • Heismanpundit September 20, 2011 at 4:10 pm #

      I think Darron Thomas has a real perception problem, namely that he doesn’t play well against elite teams. This is a handicap Oregon players are going to have to overcome for him to be considered.

  2. Hook 'em Horns! September 21, 2011 at 3:22 am #

    Case McCoy!

    (Not that I’m biased, or anything.)

  3. Paul Lyford September 23, 2011 at 11:38 am #

    Darron Thomas has a “perception problem?” Let’s go over the big games he has started at Oregon and see if there is any merit to this claim whatsoever. Last year against Stanford whose only loss of the season came to Oregon, Thomas went 20-29 with 3 TDs and 2 picks and had 15 carries for 117 rushing yards and another TD. In the title game, literally the biggest stage in college football, he set a national championship game record for passing yards, going 27-40 for 363 yards with 2 TDs and 2 picks against the undefeated SEC champions. This year against LSU who has arguably the best secondary in college football, he completely out-dueled Jarrett Lee who had 98 passing yards by going 31-54 for 240 yards with a TD and a pick. He also had a 22 yards on the ground including a rushing TD. In fact, Oregon outgained LSU by over 70 yards, 335-273, and if not for 3 turnovers deep in their own territory that gave LSU a free 17 points, likely would have won the game. Darron Thomas is 14-2 as a starter, his two losses coming away from home against top 5 ranked SEC teams in games where Oregon had the superior offense. O and let’s not forget about his freshman year, when Mike Belloti finally burned his redshirt in the 4th quarter against #13 Boise State and DT almost led the greatest 4th quarter comeback in Autzen history. He had 3 TD passes and over 200 yards in one quarter against a team that went on to win a BCS bowl. And that was his first action as a college quarterback.
    A very solid argument can be made which points to the conclusion that your belief that Darron Thomas “doesn’t play well against elite teams” is the exact opposite of reality. The actual facts I just provided show that DT has not only adequately done his job in every single big game he has played in, but excelled.

    • Paul Lyford September 23, 2011 at 11:51 am #

      Correction: Oregon outgained LSU by 60+ yards, not 70+. I would also like to add that 2 of Oregon’s 3 turnovers against LSU came on special teams.

      • Paul Lyford September 23, 2011 at 11:53 am #

        2 of the 3 in their own territory I mean.

    • Heisman Pundit September 27, 2011 at 5:22 pm #

      The last two elite teams Oregon played, Thomas was not up to the task. Period.

      That’s the perception and he’ll need to change it before being a legit candidate.

  4. Hook 'em Horns! September 23, 2011 at 1:33 pm #

    Did I mention Case McCoy? Good!

    Malcolm Brown for Heisman!

    (Crud, they’ll probably split the vote.)

  5. Brian September 28, 2011 at 10:43 am #

    I think a very under rated player is the LB out of Boston College Luke Keuchly… this man is all over the field racking up 183 tackles last year as a sophomore and doubled the second place team player his freshman year with just over 150. He has the 3rd most tackles in a single season since they began keeping track. and has broken the 300 mark in only 23 games. Take a look at him if you haven’t yet. Sure NFL prospect and best LB if not most influential player with the exception of Luck in the NCAA

  6. John H. September 29, 2011 at 10:54 pm #

    I think one of the most under the radar players is University of Houston’s Case Keenum. He was on the list 2 years ago, but do to an unforeseen injury last year he was forgotten. This guy is super talented, even just being 5’11. He was on his way to breaking college pass records. Pass first quarterback, and very willing should be back on the list.

  7. Chris October 17, 2011 at 1:22 pm #

    Darron Thomas?!?!?!?!?!!!!!

  8. Anthony November 1, 2011 at 2:02 am #

    Henry Josey has made quite the impression in limited time. The sophomore has gone from 3rd stringer to 3rd in nation (rushing yards) while leading the nation in YPA, in matter of two months.

  9. Don November 22, 2011 at 2:21 pm #

    I thought there might be more love for Tyler Wilson. He leads the SEC in passing. Third in Efficiency. And he’ll be the visible leader of a team that will most likely spend the whole year ranked in the top ten.

    Isn’t that pretty much Heisman hype Gold?

  10. david randell November 26, 2011 at 11:35 am #

    Case Keenum should be strongly considered. Look at the long time records broken, yards passing per game, completion percentage, unbeated season. He and the Houston Cougars deserve the respect of being considered for this level of honors. They have EARNED it!!!

  11. michael November 26, 2011 at 1:59 pm #

    i think that tyrann mathieu from LSU should be put in the running.

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  13. Tim December 2, 2011 at 6:06 pm #

    Quarterback A (11 games):

    – 138-of-236 (58.4%), 1,587 yards, 11 TD, 5 INT
    – 206 carries, 1,013 rushing yards, 26 TD

    Quarterback B (12 games):

    – 105-of-189 (55.6%), 1,510 yards, 7 TD, 10 INT
    – 203 carries, 1,115 rushing yards, 18 TD

    The difference? Quarterback B won the Heisman. Quarterback A isn’t even being mentioned. Quarterback B played on a team “supposed” to win it all. Despite being thumped in a nearly score-doubling 62-36 embarrassment to a vastly “inferior” team the last week of the season, this Heisman QB was still chosen to play in the NCG resulting in a 37-14 brush-off loss. Quarterback A plays for a team that was “supposed” to finish next to last in their conference and has subsequently only been beaten by two teams who were both at one time or another ranked in the top 3 and were or are considered for the national championship, one game of which came down to the very last play.

    • Tim December 2, 2011 at 6:07 pm #

      correction – 267 carries for “A”

  14. Chad December 8, 2011 at 11:26 am #

    Chris Polk out of University of Washington if he comes back…

  15. BWG December 8, 2011 at 8:37 pm #

    A little more than one year ago, Michael Dyer broke the freshman rushing record at Auburn University.

    That record had been set 25 years before by a guy whose name you might have heard before.

    Bo Jackson.

    Auburn already had one of the toughest schedules in the country before Texas A&M joined the SEC. In his junior season in 2012, Dyer will have the opportunity to play in that tough schedule with a lot of the key games at home.

    I like his potential.

  16. Jeremy December 8, 2011 at 9:46 pm #

    What about eddie lacy, he looks just as good in the #2 spot as richardson did last year. Give him 30 touches a game and im pretty sure he will rack up some yards.