Granted, there’s still a half of a season to play, but Auburn quarterback Cameron Newton has that Heisman glow to him right now.
It’s a similar glow to the one that latched onto Alabama’s Mark Ingram about this same time a year ago, and we all know how that turned out.
Here’s how I would rank the SEC’s Heisman Trophy candidates going into Week 7:
1. Auburn quarterback Cam Newton: Over and above his outlandish numbers, Newton had another Heisman moments last week on his scrambling, 33-yard completion to Kodi Burns just as Newton was about to go out of bounds. Having the arm strength to make that throw is one thing. But having the confidence in your arm strength to even fathom making that throw is quite another. Here’s something else to consider: With 12 passing touchdowns and nine rushing touchdowns, Newton could be on track to join Tim Tebow in the 20/20 club. Raise your hand if you ever thought you’d see that happen in this league again.
2. Kentucky receiver Randall Cobb: The reality is that Kentucky’s not going to win enough games for Cobb to win the Heisman Trophy. But if you watched his performance last Saturday in the 37-34 loss to Auburn, tell me why he shouldn’t be a legitimate candidate. He’s a great football player who embodies what this award is supposed to be about. I mean, he scores touchdowns with the same ease that most of us crank up our cars every morning.
3. Alabama running back Mark Ingram: After two so-so rushing performances in a row, it’s going to be extremely difficult for Ingram to get back into the race now. But the one thing you learn about this guy is to never completely count him out. In other words, Ole Miss might want to brace itself.
4. Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett: Here’s a golden chance for Mallett to get right back into the race, especially with Newton being on the other sideline. Mallett’s numbers remain strong. He has 1,748 passing yards and 13 touchdowns. What he needs is a signature victory on the road against a top 10 team.
5. South Carolina receiver Alshon Jeffery: Keep an eye on this guy. Receivers are always on the outside looking in when it comes to the Heisman Trophy, but Jeffery is playing at a Heisman level right now. He leads the SEC with 34 catches and 625 receiving yards and is an absolute beast to cover. Just ask the Alabama defensive backs who couldn’t get the 6-4, 230-pound sophomore on the ground last week.