Column: Smith leads Heisman hopefuls
Published: Thursday, September 27, 2012
Updated: Thursday, September 27, 2012 00:09
We’re through four weeks of action in the early season and I think it’s time we start to take a look at collegiate sports top individual prize; the Heisman Trophy. Several of the nation’s top players have made very interesting cases for themselves. Here are my top 5 Heisman hopefuls thus far in 2012.
5. Braxton Miller
Miller has been an absolute stud for the Buckeyes this season. He has fit perfectly into new head coach, Urban Meyer’s system with his versatile speed and throwing arm. Miller has led his team through the air and on the ground with seven passing touchdowns and seven more on the ground. He leads the team with 441 yards rushing yards. The player with the second highest has only 192 yards. Miller ranks third in the nation with 46 total points and he’s only a sophomore.
4. Collin Klein
If the Heisman were to be handed out strictly on grit and determination, Klein would win easily. The senior quarterback has willed his team to victory many times during his time at Kansas State. Most recently, Klein defeated the No. 6 Oklahoma Sooners in Norman. His stats might not get him the Heisman, but his intangibles might. He has five total rushing touchdowns as well as seven passing touchdowns on the season. If he can continue to lead his Kansas State Wildcats past the larger competition, he might just make a run at the Heisman.
3. E.J. Manuel
Manuel proved his Heisman legitimacy last week with an incredible performance against top ACC competitor Clemson. He torched the Tigers defense for 380 yards passing and two touchdowns. He also rushed for 102 yards and one touchdown. The last quarterback from Florida State to throw for over 300 yards and rush for over 100 yards in a game was Charlie Ward, the 1993 winner of the Heisman Trophy. If Manuel keeps his offense explosive, he could be the guy hoisting the bronze statue in December.
2. De’Anthony Thomas
De’Anthony Thomas has been an explosive talent ever since he was a kid, according to his childhood coach Snoop Dogg (aka Snoop Lion). Thomas has continued to dominate well after playing for Snoop and has found himself in the hunt for the Heisman Trophy. He’s taken over for former Heisman candidate LaMichael James and has filled his shoes perfectly. Thomas leads the nation in yards per rush with 11 yards per carry and is tied for fifth in total points by scoring 42 points thus far this year. He has become the most vital part of the Oregon offense, which ranks third in total offense 2284 yards.
1. Geno Smith
Smith has helped his Mountaineers dismantle opponents in the early going and has been putting on quite the show. In fact, the senior quarterback has been nearly flawless through his first three games. He has thrown a nation-leading 12 touchdown passes without a single interception. His passer rating ranks second in the country at 192.1. He ranks 14 in the nation with 1072 passing yards. The Mountaineers have yet to face a team in the top 25, so it will be interesting to see how he fares against stronger competition. West Virginia enters Big 12 play this week. It features many top 25 opponents for Smith to measure himself against. As of right now, however, Smith’s numbers alone make him the clear Heisman leader.