College Football: Top 5 Heisman Candidates For The 2012-13 Season

College Football is right around the corner (well tonight actually), which means another year of excitement, heartbreak, upsets, blowouts and BCS controversy. However, one moment defines the season perfectly. That moment is the crowning of the Heisman Trophy.

Created in 1935, the Heisman Trophy it awarded to “the outstanding college football player whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity”. Last year, it was Robert Griffin III who hoisted the Heisman.

This year, the competition is wide open. There are so many great candidates however, I’ve narrowed it down to five players. These five players have the ability to change a game every time they step onto the field. They have a chance to lead their team to a huge bowl win or even better, a National Championship. They have a chance to be the next Heisman Trophy winner.

1. Montee Ball RB Wisconsin– Last year Montee Ball tied Barry Sanders for the most TDs in a season with 39 TDs. This year, with no Russell Wilson, Ball will be relied on more to carry the load for the Wisconsin Badgers. If Ball can stay healthy and is able to handle all the pressure, expect Ball to put up monster stats.

2. Denard Robinson QB Michigan– Everytime Denard Robinson is on the field he is a threat with his arm and his feet. Robinson is the definition of a human highlight reel. Let’s not forget throughout his career Robinson has put up huge numbers including 494 yards against Indiana and 502 yards against Notre Dame in 2010. The only thing that can affect his Heisman status is his high interceptions (20 TD’s to 15  INT’s in 2011).

3. Matt Barkley QB USC–  Young Matt Barkley has had to deal with a lot since being at USC. Still, he seems to be cool under the pressure. According to his quarterback coach from his high school days, he’s a cross between Tom Brady and Joe Montana. While, I wouldn’t go that far, Barkley is a great quarterback. Last year he set the USC single game record for completions with 34,  passed for a USC single game record for 468 yards, and passed for a USC single game record for touchdowns in a game with 6. While he finished sixth in voting last year, expect the senior to go out on top especially if he’s the projected number one pick in the 2013 NFL draft.

4. De’Anthony Thomas RB Oregon– The last couple of years the Oregon Ducks have produce great hybrid running backs. Thomas is someone who fits that mold and should have an even bigger role in the Ducks offense now that Lamichael James and Darron Thomas are gone. He can do it all. He’s a great running back with blazing speed and has the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. The speed works in the running, receiving and kick return game. Thomas is someone who can threaten to get 3,000 all-purpose yards and maybe the Heisman in the process.

5. Jeff Tuel QB Washington State– Many of you are probably scratching your head. It’s understandable, but Washington State quarterback Jeff Tuel, will be the center of the new look offense ran by new head coach Mike Leach. Tuel was injured most of last year and is fighting for his job currently, but he will more than likely start. Leach is known for his high-powered offense. Ask Kliff Kingsbury and Graham Harrell, both quarterbacks under Leach’s system at Texas Tech and both top 20 in passing yards and touchdowns all time. If Tuel can stay healthy, expect the senior to put up big numbers out of nowhere.

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