- Adam Rittenberg, ESPN Staff Writer
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The Big Ten's Heisman hopes died last week, so let's spend this week's update pondering two questions.
1. Will any Big Ten player earn an invitation to New York for the Heisman Trophy presentation?
It's unlikely. I'll be surprised if we see more than three players -- Auburn's Cameron Newton, Boise State's Kellen Moore and Oregon's LaMichael James -- in Manhattan on Dec. 11. But if one Big Ten player deserves to go, it's Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson. The Wolverines' mediocre performance in Big Ten play and their season-long struggles on defense seem to have overshadowed Robinson's incredible production. Last Saturday, Robinson broke the FBS single-season record for quarterback rushing and now has 1,538 yards and 14 touchdowns on 227 carries. Robinson also is the first player in NCAA history to record at least 1,500 rush yards and 2,000 pass yards in the same season. His 14 rush touchdowns mark the sixth most in team history. Just amazing numbers from "Shoelace" this fall.
2. Who are the Big Ten's top Heisman contenders in 2011?
We know that Robinson and Northwestern quarterback Dan Persa will be back, and both players will appear on preseason lists. Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor also seems likely to return for his senior season -- he said as much two weeks ago -- and will get plenty of hype if he does. Illinois' Mikel Leshoure has been the Big Ten's top running back this season with 1,371 rush yards. He faces an NFL decision in January, but he absolutely should gain Heisman consideration if he returns. Same goes for Wisconsin's John Clay. If Clay bolts, watch out for electrifying Badgers running back James White. Three other names to remember: Iowa running back Adam Robinson, Michigan State running back Edwin Baker and Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins.
5hBrian Bennett and Mitch Sherman