Originally posted on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 9/7/12

The first weekend of college football was a showcase for several preseason Heisman Trophy favorites. While some preseason picks struggled and made a trip to New York less likely, others seized the opportunity to throw their names in the race.

Each week, we’ll update the list with new stats and information as some players make their way into the Heisman conversation and others drop out. Here’s the watchlist heading into week two:

2012 Heisman Trophy Watch Week Two

Matt Barkley – QB, USC

Barkley was the Vegas favorite heading into the season, and he didn’t disappoint in the Trojans’ opener against Hawaii. The senior quarterback threw for a 75-yard touchdown on his first pass of the season, finishing with 372 yards and four touchdowns. He had 220 yards in the first half, and the number could’ve been significantly higher had his receivers held on to a few more balls.

Geno Smith – QB, WVU

The last time America saw Smith on the field, he and the Mountaineers were obliterating Clemson, 70-33, in a game where Smith threw for 401 yards and six touchdowns. He seems to have picked up right where he left off after the bowl game. Against Marshall last weekend, he completed almost 90% of his passes, 323 yards and four touchdowns.

De’Anthony Thomas – RB/WR, Oregon

Thomas doesn’t get a ton of touches, but he doesn’t need to.  Against Arkansas State in the season opener, Thomas played less than one quarter and scored three touchdowns. He averaged 21.3 yards per carry and 13.8 yards per catch. Sure, the Red Wolves just aren’t the same class as the Ducks, but don’t forget, in last year’s Rose Bowl against Wisconsin, he had just two carries: for 91 and 64 yards.

Le’Veon Bell – RB, Michigan State

The Spartans’ junior running back stole the show in the season opener and helped Michigan State get the win over the Boise State Broncos. He ran for 210 yards and two touchdowns, but he also had a whopping 50 touches (44 carries, 6 catches). He averaged 4.8 yards per carry but the Heisman race is a marathon, not a sprint; it’ll be difficult to sustain that pace until December.

Marcus Lattimore – RB, South Carolina

Everyone wondered how he’d come back from last year’s season-ending ACL injury. After losing a fumble on his first carry, he showed why he was in the Heisman conversation last season before being injured. Lattimore had 23 carries for 110 yards and 2 touchdowns and was the SEC Offensive Player of the Week. Not a bad way to start a Heisman campaign.

Tyler Wilson – QB, Arkansas

Wilson had a great game in the Razorbacks’ opener, with 367 yards and 3 touchdowns in the warm-up win over Jacksonville State. If he can continue that pace – completing 70% of his passes – throughout the SEC schedule, he’ll make a strong case for the trophy.

Marqise Lee – WR, USC

After one game, USC fans speculated that Matt Barkley’s biggest competition for the Heisman might be his own teammate. Lee, the sophomore who Trojans coach Lane Kiffin says might end up being “the best ever” to play at USC, is the one who turned Barkley’s first pass of the year into a 75-yard touchdown. He also had a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the second half and after the first week, he leads the nation in all-purpose yardage (282). The scary thing about his performance against Hawaii? As good as he was, anyone watching knew he could be better: Lee had a couple dropped passes that would’ve gone for big yards, if not scores.

Montee Ball – RB, Wisconsin

Ball didn’t have an impressive week in the opener, averaging just 3.8 yards per carry. The Badgers relied on him heavily: he had 32 carries and three receptions for 151 total yards and a touchdown. Ball’s still very much in the race, but if he continues to have such a daunting workload, it’ll be harder to stay fresh and post the numbers he’ll need to win the Heisman.

Denard Robinson – QB, Michigan

Robinson earned himself the “Overrated” label when Alabama rolled over the Wolverines in prime time during the biggest game of Opening Weekend. He threw for exactly 200 yards and one touchdown, but he completed just 42.3% of his passes and threw two interceptions. Robinson can still have a stellar year, but as the adage goes, “A first impression is a lasting impression.” It’ll be tough for him to come back to the win the trophy after last week.

MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
The 22 most iconic college football traditions
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Final College Football Playoff rankings: Alabama reigns

WATCH: Tyler Lockett opens 2nd half with 75-yard TD

Newton benched on first play, Anderson immediately throws INT

Former commissioner Bud Selig and Braves GM John Schuerholz are headed to the Hall of Fame

WATCH: Josh Lambo has worst FG attempt of season so far

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

WATCH: Chiefs win game with incredible special teams play

WATCH: Jeff Fisher lost his challenge flag vs. Patriots

Colin Kaepernick benched for Blaine Gabbert in Chicago

Gronkowski releases statement, has no plans to retire

Sean Payton unhappy about Brandin Cooks trade rumors

Report: A 2015 investigation led to Kevin Wilson’s departure from Indiana

James Franklin, Penn State come up roses

Top 10 takeaways from Sunday’s Week 13 NFL action

Best of Yardbarker: CFB Championship Week chaos

Five teams on upset alert in NFL Week 13

Sporting life: Gifts for real fans (that aren't ugly NFL sweaters)

New faces help Spurs continue unparalleled success

The Pirates prepare for rarely chartered waters in dealing Andrew McCutchen

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Box Score 12/2: High-kicking it into the weekend

Jeff Fisher is the unkillable cockroach of NFL head coaches

Four teams to keep an eye on at the 2017 Winter Meetings

Eugene Monroe opens up about NFL’s drug policy

College Football News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

James Franklin, Penn State come up roses

Final College Football Playoff rankings: Alabama reigns

Sporting life: Gifts for real fans (that aren't ugly NFL Christmas sweaters)

New faces help Spurs continue unparalleled success

The Pirates prepare for rarely chartered waters in dealing Andrew McCutchen

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Everything you need to know for CFB Championship Week

Jeff Fisher is the unkillable cockroach of NFL head coaches

Four teams to keep an eye on at the 2017 Winter Meetings

Porzingis reshapes Knicks by elevating his game

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker