Here is a list of the 12 most dynamic Heisman Trophy contenders through week four of the 2012 college football season. It is based on the contenders that along with having gaudy numbers also make dynamic and meaningful plays on the field. This is not a predictor, but there is useful information given on the Heisman race. The watch will be updated near season's end and reduced to around four to six contenders.
The Dynamic Dozen includes a variety of position players with quarterbacks leading the way at five listed. After just four weeks, there are no definitive front-runners, but Heisman hype is beginning to pick up for some. However, there are a few players from the preseason list that have risen while there are many newcomers in addition.
Many of the favorites from my preseason Dynamic Dozen Heisman Trophy contenders have fallen out including all of the top five and eight total. USC quarterback Matt Barkley may be the biggest disappointment of the preseason favorites early on; he has had four interceptions with only two touchdowns in his last two games. Wisconsin running back Montee Ball has been a huge surprise to everyone as well with dismal numbers this season (3.9 yards per carry).
Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o recently had his name thrown into Heisman consideration. He is a picture perfect tackler that is morphing into a good all around linebacker as exemplified by his two interceptions against Michigan last Saturday. Te'o is possibly the most valuable defensive player in the country along with Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones which is also in the Dynamic Dozen. Of course as everyone knows, a defensive player winning the Heisman Trophy is a longshot, but if Te'o maintains his current pace, it will be hard to keep him out of New York.
I have another player included, offensive lineman Barrett Jones from Alabama, that is an even farther stretch than the linebackers listed. I highly doubt he will win the trophy, but he is one of the best college football players in the nation and is worth mentioning. There has been some rumbling about Jones as a Heisman candidate.
As previously stated, the list is quarterback heavy as usual for a Heisman race. Four of the top five are QBs with Kansas State's Collin Klein coming in at number one. "Optimus" Klein is also number two on Heisman Pundit and ranked third on ESPN Heisman Watch. Kansas State's victory over Oklahoma helped the talented athlete garner some national attention. I had Klein on preseason watch despite him going under the radar on many others and he was not even included on the preseason Walter Camp Player of the Year watch list.
West Virginia QB Geno Smith has some of the most impressive numbers in the nation early on, but the Mountaineers' schedule gets more difficult so it will be interesting to see if he can maintain his output. Florida State's EJ Manuel jumped into the Heisman conversation after the Seminoles' win over the Tigers in which he had a stellar outing (482 total yards vs Clemson). Smith is number one and Manuel number two in the Heisman race according to ESPN.
Heisman Trust Mission Statement
HeismanPundit.com Top Five
1. QB Geno Smith, West Virginia
2. QB Collin Klein, Kansas State
3. QB EJ Manuel, Florida State
4t. RB/WR De'Anthony Thomas, Oregon
4t. WR Marqise Lee, USC
ESPN.com Heisman Watch Top Five
1. QB Geno Smith, West Virginia
2. QB EJ Manuel, Florida State
3. QB Collin Klein, Kansas State
4. RB/WR De'Anthony Thomas, Oregon
5. QB Braxton Miller, Ohio State
Kansas State QB Collin Klein is no. 1 in the Dozen.
K-State Coach Bill Snyder on Klein, "The growth has been across the board. It is not just focused in one area. I think he has grown in every aspect of the game..."
RB/WR De'Anthony Thomas is no. 4 in the Dozen.
1. QB Collin Klein 6-5 226 Sr, Kansas State Wildcats
Key Stats: 1,047 total yards and 10 total touchdowns.
2. QB Geno Smith 6-3 214 Sr, West Virginia Mountaineers
Key Stats: 81.4% completion, 1,072 passing yards, and 13 total touchdowns.
3. QB EJ Manuel 6-5 245 Sr, Florida State Seminoles
Key Stats: 7.8 yards per carry, 1,093 total yards, and nine total touchdowns.
4. RB/WR De'Anthony Thomas 5-9 173 So, Oregon Ducks
Key Stats: 276 rush yards, 165 receiving yards, 131 punt return yards, and seven total touchdowns.
5. QB Braxton Miller 6-2 210 So, Ohio State Buckeyes
Key Stats: 6.6 yards per carry, 1,195 total yards, and 14 total touchdowns.
6. LB Manti Te'o 6-2 255 Sr, Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Key Stats: 38 tackles, two tackles for loss, two fumble recoveries, and three interceptions.
7. QB Aaron Murray 6-1 211 Jr, Georgia Bulldogs
Key Stats: 182.4 QB rating, 1,092 passing yards, and 13 total touchdowns.
8. RB LeVeon Bell 6-2 244 Jr, Michigan State Spartans
Key Stats: 677 total yards and five touchdowns.
9. RB Jawan Jamison 5-8 200 Jr, Rutgers Scarlet Knights
Key Stats: 586 total yards and three total touchdowns.
10. WR Marqise Lee 6-0 190 So, USC Trojans
Key Stats: 457 receiving yards and six touchdowns.
11. LB Jarvis Jones 6-3 241 Jr, Georgia Bulldogs
Key Stats: 4.5 sacks and 25 total tackles.
12. C Barrett Jones 6-5 302 Sr, Alabama Crimson Tide
Key Stats: 204 team rushing yards per game, 42 team points per game, and 40 career starts.