The College Football season doesn’t even start until 2 weeks, but projections, training camps, and analysis have been in full throttle during the dog days of summer. Many herald the Heisman Trophy to be the most important achievement a single football player can accomplish on his own. No "player of the week" or "all conference" could ever stack up to the honor that bestowed by the Heisman Trophy trustees. While there are many talented players this year worthy of Heisman only one in all of college football will get the trophy come December. Here are the top 3 candidates at the WR, QB, and RB position along with the next 3 dark horses for those 3 positions.
1. Matt Barkley, QB, USC: The moment when Matt Barkley announced that he would stay in LA for his final year many penciled in USC as NC victors, and with good reason. Matt had an explosive 3rd season at QB as he threw for an insane 3528 yards and 39 TD passes. Matt also has his top 2 WR targets Robert Woods (1292 yards 15 TDs) and Marquise Lee (1143 yards 11 TDs), both of which are viable Heisman contenders, to bolster his chances to take the Heisman Trophy back to Los Angeles.
2. Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin: The Big 10 is a RB centric, smash mouth football league and it should be a surprise to no one that the top RB candidate heralds from Wisconsin in Montee Ball. Montee had a spectacular 2011 campaign as he ran for 1923 yards and 33 TDs 3rd year at RB. Montee was a surefire 1st round pick in 2012, but instead decided to stay in Madison for his final year. While considered a risky move by many, as RB have a short shelf life, Montee will be determined as anyone to take home the Heisman Trophy, or at least win a BCS bowl game while he is there.
3. Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson: During much of the 2011 season WR Sammy Watkins wasn’t on anybody’s radar, but now appears to be the top WR candidate to win the Heisman Trophy. You could argue that USC WRs Robert Woods and Marquise Lee are more deserving of this title, though with Sammy being in the ACC and QB Tajh Boyd throwing the ball, Clemson should have no trouble carving into the defenses of the ACC teams. Sammy caught 82 passes for 1219 yards and 12 TDs in 2011 and looks to double those numbers in 2012.
1. Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas: With QB Matt Barkley anchoring the Heisman Trophy talk many have discounted the other viable QB candidates, one candidate that pops out it Tyler Wilson of the Arkansas Razorbacks. Tyler’s first year at the starting QB position surely didn’t disappoint as he threw for 3638 yards and 24 TDs and connected for 24 TDs. Knile Davis returns to the RB position, after a 2011 injury plagued season, should aid Tyler’s chances of winning the Heisman Trophy and has many young WR targets to only bolster his chances further.
2. Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama: During the last couple of years Alabama has been strong in the RB department and is never on short supply. Trent Richardson replaced Mark Ingram, and now Eddie Lacy will replace Trent Richardson. Eddie has a promising outlook as he had a fairly productive year with 674 yards rushed and 7 TDs behind Trent Richardson. Trent had 283 carries while Eddie only had 95 carries 2011, with starting QB Aj McCarron returning, Eddie is sure to get at least double the carries as he did in 2011, and if you do the math 95 x 2, 674 x 2, you could be looking at 190 carries and 1348 yards for Eddie, a very probable scenario.
3. Robert Woods, WR, USC: Robert Woods may actually have the best chance to win the Heisman Trophy at the WR position as his QB is the top Heisman Candidate in Matt Barkley. Robert Woods had an impressive season last year and will have to split his production with an equally talented WR Marquise Lee.