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Mike Rose's Heisman hopefuls

The Heisman Race

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Andrew Luck, Jr., QB, Stanford: Luck put the NFL on hold to return to Palo Alto for his junior season. Luck completed 71 percent of his passes with 32 touchdowns last season. Even with Jim Harbaugh in the NFL, talent returns on offense so expect more big numbers this season as the junior quarterback goes for the Heisman.

Landry Jones, Jr., QB, Oklahoma: Jones threw for over 4,000 yards and 38 touchdowns last season. With top receiver Ryan Broyles back and the Sooners in contention for a national championship, Jones will be in the Heisman discussion all season.

LaMichael James, Jr., RB, Oregon: James rushed for 1,731 yards — good for 144 yards a game — and 21 touchdowns last season. Can James top that and win the Heisman? He'll help himself with strong games against national title contender LSU and Nevada to start the season.

Marcus Lattimore, So., RB, South Carolina: Lattimore rushed for 1,197 yards and 17 touchdowns as a freshman. He's the ultimate workhorse and should increase those numbers with a bigger workload in 2011.

Trent Richardson, Jr., RB, Alabama: With former Heisman winner Mark Ingram in the NFL, Richardson gets his opportunity to be the featured back. Richardson shared carries with Ingram last season, but still led the team in rushing with 700 yards on just 112 carries. It’s time for Richardson to display his immense talent on a full-time basis.

Contenders

Denard Robinson, Jr., QB, Michigan: Robinson was the Heisman frontrunner for the first part of the 2010 season before wearing down. He rushed for over 1,700 yards and threw for 2,500, while accumulating 32 total touchdowns. Expect Robinson to put up big numbers again. If he can sustain it for 12 games, Robinson will be in New York.

Kellen Moore, Sr., QB, Boise State: Moore heads into his senior season without top wide receivers Titus Young and Austin Pettis. But don't think Moore's numbers will drop. He threw for 3,845 yards and 35 touchdowns last season. Moore and the Broncos’ offense should continue to roll.

Justin Blackmon, Jr., WR, Oklahoma State: Blackmon had a spectacular 2010 season, catching 111 passes for 1,782 yards and 20 touchdowns. The good news for Blackmon is that quarterback Brandon Weeden stayed in Stillwater instead of entering the NFL draft. Blackmon should have even better numbers in 2011.

Cyrus Gray, Sr., RB, Texas A&M: Gray could be the Heisman sleeper this season. The Aggies are a top 10-caliber team so Gray won't go unnoticed. He rushed for 1,133 yards and 12 touchdowns last season. Keep an eye on a four-game stretch that starts with Oklahoma State on Sept. 24, followed by Arkansas, at Texas Tech and Baylor. Gray could really be a Heisman contender with big games.

David Wilson, Jr., RB, Virginia Tech: An All-American in the triple jump, Wilson has his eyes on the same honors in his first full season as Virginia Tech's featured back. He has the tools to be a household name by December.