Author’s Note: As the list is shortened to seven, dropping from the Watch is Florida State QB EJ Manuel, West Virginia WR Stedman Bailey.
7. Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M (5-1)
How is this kid on no one else’s Heisman Watch? Barring a three-point loss to Florida in their opening game, A&M would be undefeated, and this redshirt freshman is shredding opposing defenses like it’s his job. Against Louisiana Tech, Manziel broke his own SEC record for total offense in a single game. On top of 576 total yards on the day, he added three passing and rushing touchdowns apiece. This brings his total to 24 total touchdowns on the year, with ten of those coming on the ground. Through only six games, Manziel has 2,356 total yards and is well on his way to breaking Cam Newton’s SEC record for total yards in a single season (4,327 yards). On top of all of that, the kid is exciting to watch, fun to root for, and will have ample opportunity to make his impact in the Heisman running during the second half of the 2012 season.
Last Game Stats: 59-57 Win @ Louisiana Tech
|Comp||Att||Pass Yds||Pass TD||Int||Rushes||Rush Yds||Rush TD|
Next Game: Next Saturday at 12 p.m., Manziel and Texas A&M host LSU. This game will be Manziel’s biggest test yet, and he can launch himself further in the Heisman conversation with a solid performance against one of the nation’s toughest defenses.
6. Manti Te’o, LB, Notre Dame (6-0)
Did Stepfan Taylor actually score a touchdown at the end? We’ll never know. What matters most is that Manti Te’o is the single most important reason that Notre Dame came out with a win over Stanford Saturday. In stuffing Taylor in both of Stanford’s final two rushes at the end of the game, Te’o proved that he can step up when his team and university need him the most. Te’o had a great performance, playing a big part in an Irish defense that held Stanford to 272 total yards in the game. Gutsy performances like these will only help Te’o's chances.
Last Game Stats: 20-13 Win vs. Stanford
|Tackles||Sacks||Forced Fumbles||Pass Deflections||INT|
Next Game: Te’o leads the Irish against BYU Saturday at 3:30 p.m. He should be at his best against an inconsistent Cougar offense ranked 80th in the nation.
5. Matt Barkley, QB, Southern Cal (5-1)
Just when I thought Barkley was back in Heisman form, the senior quarterback put on another disappointing performance. Southern Cal depended on its defense–not Barkley–to carry the team against an unimpressive Washington squad. Of all the candidates on this list, Barkley has surprisingly had the least exciting season of any, as both he and the Trojans have pretty much meandered their way through the season. Luckily, there are another six regular-season games to be played, so Barkley will be able to turn the page on the first half of his senior campaign.
Last Game Stats: 24-14 Win @ Washington
Next Game: Southern Cal squares off against vs Colorado at 6 p.m. on Saturday, hoping to get their offense back on track against the hapless Buffaloes. Barkley will need to make the most of this opportunity to get in sync with the rest of his offense.
4. De’Anthony Thomas, RB, Oregon (6-0)
Thomas had a great game in three quarters of play a few Saturdays ago against Washington, as the Ducks downed the Huskies 52-21. Thomas played a key role in the first half, scoring the first touchdown of the game on a 16-yard burst through the middle of the field. Thomas’s Heisman chances are severely limited by the talent that surrounds him on the roster and the fact that Oregon has blown out every opponent they’ve had this season. If he can return a few more kicks, however, expect his name to resurface more in the Heisman conversation.
|Rushes||Rush Yds||Yds/Carry||Rush TD||Receptions||Rec Yards||Rec TD|
Next Game: Oregon travels to take on Arizona State on Thursday, October 18 at 9 p.m., hoping to record another solid performance against a Pac-12 opponent.