Tuesday, September 13, 2011
SEC Heisman watch: Week 3
By Edward Aschoff
It isn't easy making up early-season Heisman Trophy lists, but we go at it every week. Here are our five to keep an eye on in the Heisman race and it's no surprise that we're going running back heavy in this league:
1. Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina: When South Carolina's back is against the wall or the Gamecocks are playing in big games, Lattimore shines his brightest. The super sophomore rushed for 176 yards and had a touchdown last week in a 45-42 win over Georgia in the conference opener. Lattimore has averaged 144 yards per game, has a league-high 50 carries and has four rushing touchdowns on the year. If South Carolina keeps winning these tight games, Lattimore will be a major reason for it.
2. Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama: We saw the old Trent Richardson in Alabama's win against Penn State. In a less-than-exciting offense, Richardson added a spark out of the backfield. He also ran much harder in Happy Valley, and looked like the bruiser we expected him to be. After scoring three touchdowns in the opener, Richardson ran for 111 yards and two touchdowns against the Nittany Lions.
3. Vick Ballard, RB, Mississippi State: It took a while for Ballard to get going against Auburn, but when he did he was almost unstoppable to bring down after the first hit. He carried the ball 21 times for 135 yards and a touchdown and was close to tying the score when he just missed the end zone pylon on a very acrobatic leap late in the game. Ballard leads the SEC with 301 rushing yards and has found the end zone four times this season.
4. Chris Rainey, RB, Florida: A week after scoring three touchdowns, three different ways, Rainey showed off some of the power running skill he possesses. He might only stand 5-foot-9 and 174 pounds, but Rainey didn't shy away from contact over the weekend against UAB, rushing 16 times for 119 yards and a touchdown. He also caught three passes for 43 yards. When he didn't feel like absorbing a hit, he maneuvered his way around it with an array of slippery moves.
5. Tyler Bray, QB, Tennessee: We looked at Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray to be the class of the SEC quarterbacks, but Bray has had an explosive start to the 2011 season. The sophomore has a league-high 698 yards and seven touchdowns in two games. For those counting at home, that's 349 yards a game, almost 100 more than Arkansas' Tyler Wilson, who is second in the SEC. Against Cincinnati, Bray threw for 405 yards and four touchdowns, extending his school-record and current SEC-best streak of consecutive games with at least two touchdown passes to eight.