The Heisman Pundit has released its official 2012 Heisman Trophy Watch List, and as you’d expect, it’s the usual suspects from the Pac-12 on the list.
Though in alphabetical order, it’s widely assumed that USC quarterback Matt Barkley is the front-runner with all others playing catch-up before the first snap has been taken. Here’s the list.
Tavon Austin, Sr., AP, West Virginia
Montee Ball, Sr., RB, Wisconsin
Matt Barkley, Sr., QB, USC
Tajh Boyd, Jr., QB, Clemson
Tyler Bray, Jr., QB, Tennessee
Knile Davis, Jr., RB, Arkansas
James Franklin, Jr., QB, Missouri
Landry Jones, Sr., QB, Oklahoma
Collin Klein, Sr., QB, Kansas State
Marcus Lattimore, Jr., RB, South Carolina
Aaron Murray, Jr., QB, Georgia
Keith Price, Jr., QB, Washington
Denard Robinson, Sr., QB, Michigan
Geno Smith, Sr., QB, West Virginia
De’Anthony Thomas, So., RB, Oregon
Sammy Watkins, So, WR, Clemson
Tyler Wilson, Sr., QB, Arkansas
Cierre Wood, Sr., RB, Notre Dame
The Pac-12 blog entertained which player from the conference we thought would emerge as the Heisman winner in a Take 2 back in March. Watch lists are always subject to change, and until we actually see some games, it’s only fun speculation at this point.
No question that Barkley is the early leader in the minds of many. Given his statistics last season, the receivers he has around him and the lofty preseason ranking the Trojans are expected to enjoy, he’s looking down on the pack – at least for now.
Thomas is going to have big play after big play this season, which makes him a very strong Heisman candidate. His exploits can be packaged into an explosive highlight reel that is easily digestible for East Coast voters. No one ever gets tired of seeing 85-yard touchdown runs (unless you're safeties chasing Thomas).
Price lacks the national brand at this point, but that could all change in Week 2 in Baton Rouge. A strong showing against LSU is certain to boost his exposure and could catapult him from dark horse contender to major candidate. And then he's got Stanford, Oregon and USC all in the first six games. He could be the leader at the turn ... or slip out of the running all together.