At this point it’s no secret. My formula for the Heisman Trophy is simple and I’m sticking to it. As a player, you have to have your top spot taken or play bad enough to lose it. As of right now, Matt Barkley did both last weekend in a loss to Stanford. Barkley had no touchdowns and two picks in USC’s first loss of the season, and his top spot in the Heisman poll has been overtaken…for now.
1. Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
Geno Smith has been dominant this year, throwing as many touchdowns (nine) as he has incomplete passes. He’s completing 88 percent of his passes and his top WR combo of Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey rival Marqise Lee and Robert Woods as the best in the country. He’s hit those two receivers a combined total of 43 times. The next closest receiver on the roster after Austin’s 21 catches? Nine. This is shaping up to be a great year for Smith, comparable to what Robert Griffin III did last year with the Baylor Bears.
2. DeAnthony Thomas, RB/WR/RS, Oregon
There probably isn’t a more exciting playmaker in the nation than DeAnthony Thomas. He has at least two touchdowns in each of the Ducks’ first three games, and on just 24 touches this season, he has scored seven total offensive touchdowns. He’s also got seven punt returns for 93 yards so far this season. He’s probably the most versatile player in America, and the most dangerous threat to score every time he touches the ball. He’s an incredible player to watch.
3. Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State
Miller has been hit or miss as a quarterback this season, but there’s no question he’s improved as a passer. In three games, he’s led Ohio State to three wins and has seven passing touchdowns along with five rushing touchdowns. He’s fifth in the nation in rushing with 377 yards, and despite the fact that his completion percentages have been up-and-down, he looks improved overall as a player and is a great fit in Urban Meyer’s system. This is a very fun player to watch.
4. Matt Barkley, QB, USC
You still can’t count him out. Barkley is still arguably the top overall player in the entire country, and because of their loss to Stanford, I think he’s going to be hungrier than ever. At the end of last season, there probably wasn’t a hotter player in the country, and I think you could see a very similar climb for Barkley and the Trojans this year.
5. Johnathan Franklin, RB, UCLA
Looking for some great football? Check out the Pac-12 this year. Johnathan Franklin has come out of nowhere to lead the NCAA in rushing yards with 541 through three games. He’s also added 141 yards receiving with four total touchdowns, and he’s helped the Bruins to a 3-0 start including a huge performance in their upset win over Nebraska. He rushed for over 200 yards in both of the Bruins’ first two games.