On January 15th, we’ll have a good idea who is coming back to play college football in 2012 and we can start to whittle down the list of the top contenders for the Heisman Trophy.
The two players I’m most interested in are Montee Ball and LaMichael James. Neither has declared for the draft yet and I’ve seen a couple sources claim they actually might be coming back. I’ll believe it when I see it, but those two returning would change the complexion of the 2012 race.
Namely, James would have a chance to break the all-time NCAA rushing mark if he returns (he’s only 1,315 yards shy of Ron Dayne’s total). The last four players to break that record–Archie Griffin, Tony Dorsett, Ricky Williams and Dayne–all won the Heisman. He’d also have a shot at becoming the first player ever to lead the nation in rushing three times. The fact that James will also be playing for a national title contender will help, too. If he comes back, it could be between him and Matt Barkley for the Heisman.
But, we won’t know for sure for a few more days. Once we get that information we can start talking Heisman again.
In the meantime, keep an eye out here for a few more developments: We’ll be unrolling our very own recruiting rankings and will also put out our own rankings for the 2012 NFL draft.