A handful of players from the Big 12 could be up for the Heisman in
One of the greatest poses in sports, one of the most coveted
trophies, only second to the crystal football.
In 2011, we saw Robert Griffin III run, pass and pose for
the Heisman Trophy and became the first player from Baylor to ever lift the
Following his “Heismanesque” season, the question now, is there
a player in the Big 12 Conference that has the chance to bring home the
Landry Jones – QB – Senior – Oklahoma
Landry Jones opted to come back for his
senior season, instead of taking the bucks and running for the NFL.
Jones is arguably among the top gunslingers
to return in 2012 to the Big 12 Conference, making the Sooners a contender for
the Big 12 title.
The senior has finished the past two
seasons with a completion percentage above 63 percent and also threw for more
than 4,000 yards – 4,718 in 2010 and 4,463 in 2011.
Probably the most impressive number of all
is his interceptions. In his three years at Oklahoma, in a single season he has
not thrown more than 15, which was the mark in 2011.
With the low turnover number, comes high
touchdown numbers. Jones threw for 38 touchdowns in 2010 and came up just short
in 2011 of the 30-touchdown mark with just 29.
In his time at Oklahoma, the Sooners have
not suffered a losing season, and have had 10-win seasons in two of the three
seasons with a 12-2 record in the 2010-2011 campaign.
With all of this in mind there is no
question, if he turns in another 4,000 yard plus passing season with almost 30
touchdowns again, there is no doubt he will be sitting in New York with a
chance to lift the Heisman Trophy.
Geno Smith – QB
– Senior - West Virginia
The newcomer to the Big 12 comes
in second on the list. Geno Smith has earned national
attention, and a 10-3 record in 2011 helps a little too.
Smith was instrumental in making
Dana Holgrosen’s debut season as a head coach a memorable one.
In his three seasons in the
Mountaineer uniform, Smith has gotten nothing but better.
But his best season so far came
once he got a head coach that knows very well how to make an offense pass, pass
and pass some more.
In 2011, Smith threw for 4,385
yards, which is almost 2,000 more yards than he passed for the season before.
The Miami native also has thrown
just 14 interceptions in the last two seasons, while hitting the end zone 55
Another key to Smith’s success in
the pocket is his throwing accuracy, finishing above 65 percent completion rate
in two of his three seasons.
Truly the only area that Smith struggled
is his scrambling ability, he went backwards in 2011 gaining no yards and
losing 33 on 56 attempts.
The previous season he rushed for
217 on 106 attempts.
So the change of head coaches is
obvious, because of the numbers. Passing yards raised substantially and his
rushing yards cut way down.
But despite that fact, Smith is
going to be electric in 2012, and it will be interesting if he can go for more
than 4,000 yards for the second straight season and do it against the beasts of
the Big 12.
If Smith repeats and improves on
his passing numbers and becomes a little better at the running game, he could
land a reserved chair in New York.
Joseph Randle – RB – Junior – Oklahoma State
Finally on the list is a running
back; all the love couldn’t just go to the gunslingers.
In 2010 and 2011, Joseph Randle
played in 13 games, but the difference between his freshman and sophomore
season is mind-boggling.
His freshman campaign ended with
him finding the end zone only twice and rushing for only 452 yards.
2011 was like he broke, exploded
out of his shell.
Randle rushed for 1,216 yards,
which is the 16th-best single season mark, on 208 attempts and went
for six 24 times for the Cowboys.
En route to a 1,000-yard plus
season he recorded 100-yard performances six times in the season.
If there is a running back in the
country that will give Randle a run for a run for his money of course is Montee Ball at Wisconsin. Ball rushed for 1,923 yards for
33 touchdowns in 2011 and was a Heisman finalist.
But there is a chance Randle, who
is also up for the Doak Walker Award , could make a
bigger splash in 2012 with the way Oklahoma State will be rebuilding at the quarterback position.
Randle will be key to the Cowboys
success this season and if he can up the numbers might be in a runoff with Ball
all the way to the Big Apple.