Wednesday, August 10, 2011
The Big 12's first Heisman Watch of 2011
By David Ubben
We're all about the Heisman race here on ESPN.com today, and here's your first look at the Big 12 contenders for the Heisman Trophy entering the 2011 season.
1. Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma: Jones joins Stanford's Andrew Luck as one of the prohibitive favorites for the award entering the season. Such is life for a guy quarterbacking the nation's No. 1 team coming off a 12-win season with 4,718 yards and a league-best 38 touchdown passes.
Landry Jones passed for 4,718 yards and 38 touchdowns for Oklahoma last season.
2. Brandon Weeden, QB, Oklahoma State: On the national stage, Weeden is a dark horse for the award. He'll likely put up the numbers necessary (4,277 yards, 34 TD in 2010) to win, but the Cowboys will have to win more than last year's 11 games.
3. Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor: Griffin has entrenched himself as one of the league's most valuable players to his team, even as Baylor has quietly gotten more talented and deeper at every position since Griffin came to Waco with coach Art Briles. With Baylor's reputation, if the Bears rack up wins and flirt with being a Big 12 contender late in the season, it will work to Griffin's advantage.
4. Cyrus Gray, RB, Texas A&M: Gray may not get the total touches necessary to win the trophy after the return of his running mate in the backfield, Christine Michael. If he does, though ... look out. Gray closed the season with seven consecutive games of 100 yards rushing against defenses like LSU, Nebraska and Oklahoma, and that could continue well into 2011.
5. James Franklin, QB, Missouri: Franklin is a big question mark entering 2011, but if he plays well, all the pieces are there for him to have a big year and sneak into the Heisman race late. Blaine Gabbert's stats in 2010 were modest, but Missouri is a team built to make a run at 10-plus wins and contend for a conference title. If Franklin controls the offense and nears what Gabbert did in 2010 (3,186 yards, 16 TDs), he could get some buzz for the trophy late in the season.