Stats & Info: Marcus Lattimore

Top things to know: NFL Draft RB prospects

April, 18, 2013
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John David Mercer/USA TODAY SportsEddie Lacy is rated as the top running back prospect in the 2013 class by Scouts Inc.
Eddie Lacy
Lacy was the beneficiary of one of the top offensive lines in football. Lacy gained 65 percent of his yards before initial contact and averaged 4.2 yards before contact per rush. He made it at least five yards past the line of scrimmage without being touched on 35.8 percent of his rushes.

Lacy runs downhill with 64.7 percent of his rushes coming between the tackles. Lacy averaged 7.6 yards per carry on such running plays with about one in every four attempts going for at least 10 yards.

In comparison to former Alabama running back Trent Richardson, Lacy averaged 2.5 more yards per rush inside the tackles in his final college season.

Montee Ball
Ball was undoubtedly the most productive back in FBS over the last two seasons. Ball led FBS in rushing yards, rushing touchdowns and rushes of 15 yards or longer since the start of the 2011 season.

Ball gained 36.1 percent of his FBS-leading 3,750 yards on rushes outside of the tackles over the last two seasons. Ball averaged 7.1 yards per carry on such running plays with at about one in every four gaining at least 10 yards.

Andre Ellington
Ellington gained over 40 percent of his yards after contact in 2012 but struggled to gain tough yards against top competition. Ellington averaged twice as many yards after contact per rush against teams that did not finish the season ranked in the top 50 in total defense than he did against the five top-50 defenses that he faced.

Le’Veon Bell
Bell gained over half of his yards after contact and led BCS-AQ running backs with 921 yards after contact.

Marcus Lattimore
Lattimore gained 41 percent of his yards after contact in his career. Against SEC opponents, Lattimore was even better, gaining 43 percent of his yards after contact and averaging 2.0 yards after contact per rush.

Lattimore ran between the tackles on 78.9 percent of his career carries. He averaged at least 4.5 yards per carry inside the tackles in every season of his career. Lattimore was at his best in the fourth quarter, averaging 5.5 yards per run inside the tackles with 54.2 percent of his yards coming after contact.

Notre Dame defense reminiscent of Tide's

October, 11, 2012
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Notre Dame has allowed six or fewer points in each of its last three games. No FBS team has had a four-game streak since Alabama in 1993. That Tide team held Vanderbilt, Arkansas, Louisiana Tech and South Carolina to six or fewer points early in that season. The streak was broken with a 17-17 tie against Tennessee.

Oklahoma State Goes for 30
Oklahoma State has scored at least 30 points in 22 consecutive games. If the Cowboys can reach the 30-point mark against Kansas this week, they will own the all-time record for consecutive 30-point games.

They currently co-own the mark with Hawaii, who had a 22-game stretch from 2006-07. In fact, two of the four longest all-time streaks are current. Oregon has scored at least 30 points in 19 straight games (tied with 1971-72 Arizona State for third most).

Vanderbilt Struggling Against Top Competition
Vanderbilt is facing its second AP top-five team of the season. The Commodores lost 48-3 earlier this season to fifth-ranked Georgia. It's not a situation where Vandy feels very comfortable. Overall, the Commodores are 0-46 on the field against AP top-five teams (was awarded a win against Alabama in 1993 due to forfeit).

To make things worse, 38 of those losses were by double digits and only four times did they score at least 20 points. Eight of the 46 losses have come against this week’s opponent Florida.

Duke Has Rare Bowling Opportunity
Duke can become bowl eligible this week with a win over Virginia Tech. The Blue Devils currently own the longest bowl drought among BCS-AQ teams, having not gone to the postseason since 1994. If Duke ends its drought, Washington State Cougars will now own the distinction, last appearing in a bowl in 2003.

But Duke will have to reverse some recent history to get there. The Blue Devils are just 4-72 since that last bowl appearance against the remaining six teams on their schedule this season (Virginia Tech, North Carolina, Florida State, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Miami) and hasn't beaten any of those teams since 2004.

Marcus Lattimore is a True Workhorse
In SEC games, Marcus Lattimore has run between the tackles on 76.3 percent of his carries. He has averaged 4.4 yards per carry on these runs with 48 percent of his yards coming after contact.

Lattimore gets even stronger in the fourth quarter, when he averages 5.5 yards per run inside the tackles with 3.3 yards coming after contact. He’ll face an LSU defense that allowed 52 yards on 12 carries in the fourth quarter to Florida’s Mike Gillislee last week, including 21 yards after contact.

South Carolina owns Thursday openers

August, 29, 2012
8/29/12
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ESPN Stats & InformationSouth Carolina is 5-0 on the 1st Thursday night of the college football season under Steve Spurrier.
Thursday sees the return of college football with the ninth-ranked South Carolina Gamecocks traveling to play the Vanderbilt Commodores (ESPN, 7 ET).

South Carolina has dominated the series with Vanderbilt lately, winning 10 of the past 12 meetings. The two losses came in 2007 and 2008, when unranked Vanderbilt teams topped a ranked South Carolina squad.

South Carolina is very familiar with playing on the first Thursday night of the college football season lately, and it’s become a staple of the Steve Spurrier era. The school has done it five previous times in the Spurrier era, and have come away with a victory each time.

The Gamecocks open as a top-10 team in the AP preseason poll for the first time in AP preseason poll history. They opened No. 12 in the poll last year and before that, their previous high was No. 14 in the 1959 preseason poll.

Gamecock fans will be thrilled to welcome running back Marcus Lattimore back to the field. He missed his team’s final six games last season after tearing his ACL. He proved crucial to the South Carolina run game, as even after missing those six games last year, Lattimore still finished as the team’s leading rusher with 818 yards.

This is the second year of the James Franklin era for Vanderbilt. Last year, he became the only Vanderbilt coach in his first season to lead the team to a bowl game. The task this season could be challenging, as Vanderbilt has never made bowls in back-to-back seasons.

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SEC title run tops 2012 storylines

August, 25, 2012
8/25/12
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Derick E. Hingle/US PresswireA school from the SEC has won a record six consecutive BCS National Championships.

We’re less than a week away from the first college football Saturday of the season and there are certainly a lot of compelling storylines heading into the year. Among them is the question of whether or not the SEC can continue its run of dominance.

The SEC has won six straight and eight of the 14 BCS National Championships since the format was implemented prior to the 1998 season. During that span, no other conference has won more than two titles and the six consecutive championships are the most by any conference in college football history.

The SEC will have a good chance to extend its run in 2012 if the Preseason AP Poll is any indication. In all, six SEC teams were ranked in the Top 25 (T-most among all conferences) including five in the Top 10.

Off the field, the conference added new members for the first time since 1992 and both Missouri and Texas A&M will be tested against ranked opponents in their conference debuts. In Week 2, Texas A&M hosts No. 23 Florida (3:30 ET, ESPN) and Mizzou hosts No. 6 Georgia (7:45 ET, ESPN 2).

Across the country, the USC Trojans have completed their two-year bowl ban and enter the season ranked No. 1 in the AP Poll. Recent history is working against them (No preseason No. 1 has finished the year atop the poll since the 2004 Trojans), but they hope to become the first school since Oklahoma in 1975 to win a national championship in its first season following a bowl ban.

If the Trojans do win it all, it will likely be thanks to the play of Heisman contender, Matt Barkley. Barkley enters the season with over 9,000 passing yards and 80 touchdowns in 36 career starts (27-9) and is on pace to become USC’s all-time leader in passing yards, touchdowns and completions.

Like Barkley, Wisconsin's Montee Ball comes into the year with Heisman aspirations after a tremendous 2011 season. Ball’s 33 rushing touchdowns were the second most in a single season in FBS history and his 39 total touchdowns tied the FBS record set by Barry Sanders in 1988. He also set the FBS single season record with two or more scores in each of his first 13 games of the season.

At South Carolina, Marcus Lattimore is another running back garnering Heisman hype. Lattimore scored 11 touchdowns and had rushed for over 800 yards in seven games before suffering a season-ending knee injury against Mississippi State on October 15.

All three are certainly worthy of the praise, but perhaps the 2012 Heisman winner is not among the preseason favorites.

Over the last five years, winners of the trophy have included three sophomores (Tim Tebow, Sam Bradford, Mark Ingram), three first-year starters (Tebow, Ingram, Cam Newton), a pair of QBs with three regular-season losses (Tebow, Robert Griffin III) and a player from a program with very little winning tradition (Griffin III). Will another unknown crash the party in 2012?

Griffin throws himself into Heisman race

September, 27, 2011
9/27/11
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In order to win a Heisman Trophy, candidates must find a way to separate themselves from the competition. Each week, they are presented with one opportunity to showcase their skills and impress voters. One bad game can end a player’s Heisman aspirations, while one good performance can vault a player into the national spotlight. In Week 4, we saw several outstanding performances by potential Heisman Trophy candidates. Here are the candidates who helped themselves the most.

(1) Robert Griffin III, Baylor Bears
Robert Griffin III continued his stellar play Saturday in a win against the Rice Owls, totaling a career-high six touchdowns (five passing, one rushing). Griffin now has more touchdown passes (13) this season than he does incomplete passes (12). Griffin has been especially dangerous throwing the ball downfield, completing 15 of his 20 throws that have traveled 15 yards in the air or longer for eight touchdowns, including three Saturday against Rice.

(2) LaMichael James, Oregon Ducks
LaMichael James ran for 288 yards and two touchdowns in Oregon’s victory over the Arizona Wildcats, setting a new school records for both yards in a game and career touchdowns. James shed tackles all game long, racking up a career-high 187 yards after contact. James also had five rushes of over 20 yards, giving him 43 for his career, eight more than anybody else during that same time span.

(3) Trent Richardson, Alabama Crimson Tide
Trent Richardson ran for 126 yards on 17 carries and caught three passes for 85 yards in a win over the Arkansas Razorbacks on Saturday. His 211 yards from scrimmage was a career-high. The Razorbacks could not handle him between the tackles, where Richardson ran for 103 yards on 12 carries, including four rushes of 10 yards or longer. In the third quarter, Richardson showed his versatility by taking a screen pass 61 yards for a touchdown. It was his third touchdown from scrimmage of over 50 yards this season, tied for second most in FBS.

(4) Russell Wilson, Wisconsin Badgers
Russell Wilson only needed three quarters against South Dakota Coyotes to become the first Wisconsin quarterback to throw for 300-plus yards in back-to-back games since Jim Sorgi in 2003. Wilson has now thrown for three touchdowns in three straight games and has the second highest pass efficiency rating in the country. Wilson excelled with two tight ends on the field Saturday, completing 13 of his 16 passes for 234 yards and three touchdowns. Overall, seven of his 11 touchdown passes this season have come out of a 2-plus tight end set.

(5) Denard Robinson, Michigan Wolverines
Denard Robinson ran for 200 yards and tied a career-high with three rushing touchdowns in Michigan’s win over the San Diego State Aztecs. It was his third career 200-yard rushing game and his first at the Big House. Robinson did most of his damage on designed running plays. The Wolverines called Robinson’s number 19 times and he delivered with 190 yards and three touchdowns.

(6) Kellen Moore, Boise State Broncos
Kellen Moore passed for 279 yards and four touchdowns in Boise State’s home opener versus the Tulsa Golden Hurricane. It was his 16th straight game with at least two touchdown passes and his 12th straight 200-plus yard passing game. Moore was especially efficient on third and fourth down on Saturday, completing 7-of-9 passes for 133 yards and a touchdown.

(7) Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina Gamecocks
Marcus Lattimore had 150 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns in a win against the Vanderbilt Commodores on Saturday. Lattimore faced eight or more defenders in the box on 12 of his 20 rushing attempts. With the line of scrimmage stacked against him, Lattimore showed that he could contribute in others ways. The sophomore hauled in three receptions for 73 yards, including a 52-yard touchdown.

For exclusive video, stories and blogs about quarterbacks from every level of competition, check out ESPN's "Year of the Quarterback" page.

Lattimore making huge push for Heisman

September, 20, 2011
9/20/11
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In order to win a Heisman Trophy, candidates must find a way to separate themselves from the competition. Each week, they are presented with one opportunity to showcase their skills and impress voters. One bad game can end a player’s Heisman aspirations, while one good performance can vault a player into the national spotlight. In Week 3, we saw several outstanding performances by potential Heisman Trophy candidates. Here are the top seven.

(1)Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina
Lattimore ran for a career-high 246 yards on 37 carries in South Carolina’s win over Navy. Lattimore had eight rushes of 10 yards or longer, the most by any player in a game this season against a FBS opponent. The last time a player had more runs of 10-plus yards in a game against an FBS school was when Lattimore had nine such runs at Florida last season. He leads FBS with 16 such runs this season.

(2)Chris Rainey, Florida
Rainey racked up 212 yards of total offense in Florida’s win over Tennessee, including a career-high 104 receiving yards. It was the first time Rainey had over 100 yards rushing and receiving in the same game and the first time a Gator had done it since Percy Harvin in 2007. Rainey showcased his ability to win one-on-one matchups, with all of his receiving yards coming after the catch and 86 of his 108 rushing yards coming after contact.

(3)Andrew Luck, Stanford
Luck notched his first 300-yard passing game of the season and added two touchdowns in Stanford’s win at Arizona. Both of Luck’s touchdowns went to his tight ends; his seven touchdowns this season and 10 since the start of last season to tight ends both lead FBS.

(4)LaMichael James, Oregon
James ran for 204 yards and three touchdowns in Oregon’s victory over Missouri State. James was effective running both inside and outside, racking up 120 outside the tackles and 84 yards inside the tackles. His versatility was highlighted by two touchdown runs of 50-plus yards, one coming from inside the tackles and the other from outside. James now has 11 runs of 50 yards or longer since the start of the 2009 season, most in FBS.

(5)Robert Griffin III, Baylor
Griffin threw for 265 yards and three touchdowns in just three quarters during Baylor’s weather-shorten win against Stephen F. Austin. Among the 120 FBS quarterbacks that have attempted 30 passes this season, Griffin leads the country in completion percentage (83.7), passing efficiency (244.5), yards per attempt (12.7), touchdowns per attempt percentage (16.3) and percentage of passes for completions of 20+ yards (18.4).

(6)Kellen Moore, Boise State
Moore completed 32 passes (career-high) and threw five touchdowns in Boise State’s rout of Toledo. Moore completed passes to nine different receivers, amassing 455 yards on 42 attempts. After completing only one throw over 15 yards against Georgia, he went 8-of-9 for 183 yards and two touchdowns on passes of that distance. Moore has 23 touchdowns and two interceptions the past two seasons when throwing 15 yards or farther.

(7)Russell Wilson, Wisconsin
Wilson threw for 347 yards and three touchdowns in a win over Northern Illinois. He was outstanding passing off play action, going 11-of-16 with two touchdowns. Wilson has completed 70 percent of his passes after a run fake this season and continues to have success running the ball on third down and five yards or more. He tallied two more first downs Saturday and has 16 since the start of last season, most in FBS.

Lattimore's Heisman push: Untouchable

September, 13, 2011
9/13/11
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Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Marcus Lattimore's Week 2 performance against Georgia pushed him to the top of the Heisman race.

In order in to win a Heisman Trophy, college players must find ways to separate themselves from the competition. Each week, they are presented with one opportunity to showcase their skills and impress voters. One bad game can end a player’s Heisman aspirations, and one good performance can vault a player into the national spotlight. In Week 2, we saw several outstanding performances by potential Heisman candidates. Here are the top six.

(1) Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina Gamecocks
Lattimore ran for 176 yards on 27 carries in South Carolina’s 45-42 win against the Georgia Bulldogs. It was Lattimore’s sixth career 100-yard rushing game and his second this season. The Bulldogs literally could not touch Lattimore, as 111 of his 176 yards came before contact. Lattimore finished the game with five rushes of 10 yards or longer. He now has 38 such rushes in SEC play since the start of 2010, the most by any player.

(2) Darron Thomas, Oregon Ducks
Thomas tied a school-record with six touchdown passes in Saturday’s win against the Nevada Wolf Pack. His 303.1 passer rating was the eighth 300+ passer rating game since 2004 (min. 15 attempts) and the first since Sept. 29, 2009 when Tulsa’s G.J. Kinne posted one against Sam Houston State. Five of Thomas’ touchdowns passes were plays of 20 yards or longer. That tied for the most such touchdown passes by any player since 2004 (with eight others) and the most since former Georgia QB Joe Cox did it against Arkansas on Sept. 19, 2009.

(3) Denard Robinson, Michigan Wolverines
Robinson threw for 338 yards and four touchdowns in Michigan’s thrilling 35-31 victory against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Robinson stepped up on Saturday when the Wolverines needed him most. With his team trailing by 17 after three quarters, Robinson accounted for four touchdowns (three pass, one rush) and threw for 202 yards in the final quarter as Michigan pulled off the comeback.

(4) Andrew Luck, Stanford Cardinal
Luck matched his career high by throwing four touchdown passes in Stanford’s 44-14 victory against the Duke Blue Devils. Luck used run fakes to open up his passing game, completing nine of 13 throws for three touchdowns and no interceptions on play-action passes. Since the start of the 2010 season, Luck has completed 71.8 percent of his passes for 12 touchdowns and no interceptions after a run fake.

(5) Russell Wilson, Wisconsin Badgers
Wilson completed 81.0 percent of his passes in the Badgers’ 35-0 victory against the Oregon State Beavers. He was especially effective on third down, completing 10 of 11 passes for seven first downs and three touchdowns. Additionally, he had a 14-yard scramble on third down in the second quarter. It was his 14th rushing first down on third-and five-plus since the start of last season, most in FBS.

(6) Vick Ballard, Mississippi State Bulldogs
Ballard ran for 135 yards on 21 carries in Mississippi State’s 41-34 loss to the Auburn Tigers. Ballard did his best to lead a comeback. With his team trailing by 14 points in the fourth quarter, Ballard ran for 94 yards and a touchdown to lead the Bulldogs to within inches of keeping Auburn from extending the nation’s longest winning streak to 17 games. Ballard’s touchdown was his 11th in his last five games.
1. The nation’s two longest intrastate winning streaks are on the line this week. Ohio State enters its game with Toledo riding a 37-game winning streak against teams from the state of Ohio, and a 43-game unbeaten streak (42-0-1). The Buckeyes haven’t lost to an Ohio team since dropping a 7-6 decision to Oberlin in 1921. Meanwhile, LSU hosts Northwestern State having won 27 straight against teams from the state of Louisiana. The Tigers haven’t lost to an intrastate team since 1982 against Tulane.

2. Auburn dropped out of the AP top 25 this week following a lackluster performance against Utah State in the opener. The Tigers are the first defending AP national champions to be unranked by the second poll of the season since Alabama in 1965. That year, Alabama entered the season ranked fifth, but dropped out after a loss to Georgia. The AP ranked only the top 10 schools back then.

3. Stephen Garcia will start for South Carolina against Georgia. He is now reunited with running back Marcus Lattimore and receiver Alshon Jeffery to form a very explosive trio. Last season, Garcia threw for 3,059 yards, while Lattimore ran for 1,197 yards and Jeffery had 1,517 receiving yards. The Gamecocks were one of seven teams (Boise State, Hawaii, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, San Diego State and SMU) last season to have a 3,000-yard passer, 1,000-yard rusher, and 1,000-yard receiver. Of those seven teams, South Carolina and SMU are the only teams with a 3,000-yard passer, 1,000-yard rusher, and 1,000-yard receiver returning from last season.

4. In this week’s only matchup of ranked opponents, Alabama travels to Happy Valley to face Penn State. This will be Joe Paterno’s 14th game against the Tide, sporting a 4-9 record. Alabama has the most wins against Paterno of any school outside of the Big Ten. In fact, among non-Big Ten schools that Paterno has faced at least 10 times, Alabama is the only one with a winning record. He has faced 11 such teams and has an incredible record of 191-32-2 (.853). Those teams? Miami, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Boston College, Syracuse, NC State, Army, West Virginia, Rutgers, Maryland, Temple.

5. Michigan goes for its third straight win over Notre Dame, and that hasn’t happened in a long time. Michigan won the first eight series meetings from 1887-1908, but hasn’t been able to win three straight against the Irish in the last 30 meetings. Since 1909, Michigan has played only two other opponents at least 10 times without posting a three-game win streak, Those schools are only 45 miles from each other: Cornell (10 meetings) and Syracuse (11 meetings).

Looking for ideal RB? Check the SEC

August, 15, 2011
8/15/11
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When Mark Ingram won the Heisman Trophy and a national championship in 2009, he displayed amazing versatility. He averaged 6.0 yards running between the tackles and 6.3 running outside the tackles. His 31 runs of 15 or more yards led FBS, as did his 17 rushing first downs in the fourth quarter when Alabama was ahead.

He was as close to the total package as any running back, which begs the question: If you could construct the perfect running back combination, whose skills would you incorporate? Here's our take.

Power: short-yardage bruiser = Trent Richardson, Alabama Crimson Tide
When asked by ESPN’s Erin Andrews about all of his weight room work, Richardson said, “It helps me a lot. I run folks over or I throw them off me.” The numbers back Richardson’s statement. Last season, he averaged 5.0 yards per carry inside the tackles and 43.0 percent of his yards came after being contacted by a defender. He was rarely stopped short. He gained 5 yards or more on 43.8 percent of his carries, third best in FBS (minimum 100 attempts). His average of 6.3 yards per carry was higher than Cam Newton’s (5.6) and Mark Ingram’s (6.1) during their Heisman Trophy winning seasons.

Speed: home run threat = LaMichael James, Oregon Ducks
LaMichael James finished third in the Heisman Trophy voting last season, thanks in large part to his penchant for breaking long runs. His eight runs of 40 yards or more led the nation. In his career, the average length of his rushing touchdowns has been 18.4 yards, including 10 scoring runs of 20 or more yards and six of 50 or more. James is at his best running on the perimeter. Last season, he averaged 7.2 yards per carry outside the tackles with one of every 10 runs going for 20 yards or more.

Stamina: close out games = Michael Dyer, Auburn Tigers
It is a rarity for running backs to become increasingly effective as the game unfolds, but that’s exactly what Michael Dyer does. His second-half yards per carry average (6.8) last season was significantly better than his mark in the first half (4.8). He rushed for 17 fourth-quarter first downs, the most in FBS of any player with 50 such rushes, and his 7.1-yard average on fourth-quarter carries was the highest in the SEC among players with 25 or more attempts. When Auburn led in the fourth quarter, Dyer ran for at least 5 yards on 52.9 percent of his carries (fourth highest in FBS).

Vision: finding running lanes = Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina Gamecocks
Marcus Lattimore has a knack for findings holes and creases. On 20.1 percent of his runs last season, first contact was not made until at least 5 yards past the line of scrimmage. That meant that on one of every five runs, Lattimore was able to navigate 5 yards past the line without being touched, let alone tackled. During SEC play season, Lattimore had 33 rushes of 10 yards or more.

Alabama's Richardson has Heisman hopes

June, 7, 2011
6/07/11
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Trent Richardson, Alabama
Can the junior join former teammate Mark Ingram and make Alabama the 17th school with multiple Heisman winners? Last season splitting time with Ingram, Richardson ran for 700 yards and six touchdowns on 112 carries. His 6.3 yards per carry was higher than Cam Newton’s (5.6) and Ingram’s (6.1) during their Heisman-winning seasons.

Richardson gained at least 5 yards on more than 44 percent of his carries last season, ranking third in the nation among players with 100 attempts. Of the 25 FBS players with six 30-yard runs last season, Richardson had the second-fewest attempts.

Alabama’s offense lost two first-round picks, Ingram and Julio Jones, as well as starting quarterback Greg McElroy. But the loss of left tackle James Carpenter might be the biggest loss when it comes to Richardson’s Heisman hopes. Last season when running to the left side (Carpenter’s side), Richardson averaged 8.4 yards per carry (29 rushes, 244 yards).

LaMichael James, Oregon
No Duck has ever won the Heisman. James finished third last season, and will try and join Oregon State’s Terry Baker (1962) as the state's only Heisman winners.

Last season, James led the FBS with 144.3 yards rushing per game and finished second with 21 rushing touchdowns. The average length of James' 35 career touchdown runs was 18.4 yards, including six of at least 50 yards.

But James is more than just a home run threat. He averaged 5.1 yards per carry inside the tackles, and gained 43.0 percent of his rushing yards after contact.

The biggest obstacle James may face is the loss of three seniors along the offensive line, including two all-conference performers. If the line is unable to create lanes for James, then Oregon may have to wait another year for its first Heisman.

Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina
Lattimore is in position to compete for the school’s second Heisman (George Rogers, 1980). During SEC play in 2010, Lattimore ran for 112.1 yards per game, second to Newton. On Nov. 13, Lattimore ran for a career-high 212 yards against Florida, the only 200-yard rushing game allowed by the Gators during Urban Meyer’s tenure.

Lattimore gets his yards in bunches. Last season, he had 33 rushes of at least 10 yards against SEC opponents. Over the past seven seasons, only five other players accomplished that feat, all of whom were selected within the first 36 picks of the NFL draft, including four first-rounders.

Receivers who could contend for Heisman

June, 6, 2011
6/06/11
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Only two wide receivers have won the Heisman Trophy (1987 Tim Brown, 1991 Desmond Howard). In 2011, there are three who could emerge as contenders.

Alshon Jeffery, South Carolina
The 6-foot-4-inch junior burst on to the national scene last season with 1,517 receiving yards. More impressive was the fact that he dropped just one pass.

In 2010, Jeffery had 88 receptions and 61 of them gained at least 10 yards. There have been only five instances over the past five seasons when a receiver had at least 70 receptions and gained 10 yards or more at a higher rate. Compare that to former Georgia wide receiver A.J. Green, the fourth pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. He gained 10 yards or more on just 56 percent of his receptions last season.

Jeffery’s production is helped by a dynamic teammate who keeps defenses honest, running back Marcus Lattimore. In 2010, South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia completed 84 percent of his passes -- and averaged 19.6 yards per completion -- when targeting Jeffery after a play-action fake. Those numbers could go even higher this season as respect for Lattimore grows. (Lattimore will be featured in our look at running backs on Tuesday.)

Ryan Broyles, Oklahoma
He returns to Oklahoma for his senior season to, he said, "win more championships and break every record possible as a receiver.” As a junior, he hauled in an NCAA-best 131 passes.

This season, Broyles’ numbers could be mind boggling.

Last season, he averaged more than nine catches per game and did not drop one ball. In his last two seasons, Broyles has 29 touchdown receptions, 20 of them have been for 10 yards or more. Both figures are tops in college football.

There are two obstacles for Broyles to overcome. Oklahoma’s running game could be a question mark with the loss of leading rusher DeMarco Murray. Also, Broyles isn’t the only Heisman candidate on Oklahoma: QB Landry Jones (who will be featured on Thursday) finished second in FBS last season with 38 touchdown passes. The only receiver in the last decade to finish in the top five of Heisman voting ahead of his quarterback was Larry Fitzgerald in 2003.

Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State
The word that comes to mind to describe Blackmon on the field is monster. He's a nightmare for defensive coordinators with his ability to turn screen plays into big gains, and also beat a secondary down field.

Last season, Blackmon averaged 10.8 yards on receptions made at or behind the line of scrimmage. He also caught 63.6 percent of passes that targeted him 15 yards or more downfield. The ability to turn any throw into a big gain helped Blackmon lead FBS last season in receiving yards per game.

What could possibly haunt Blackmon in 2011? He dropped five passes last season, which may not seem like a lot. But it is when you consider that Jeffery had just one drop last season and Broyles had none.

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