Commentary

Mark Ingram among Heisman favorites

Originally Published: August 16, 2010
By Ivan Maisel | ESPN.com

Your parents' generation never trusted anyone over 30. Everything happens faster these days. The Heisman Trophy no longer trusts anyone over 21. The past three winners -- Tim Tebow of Florida, Sam Bradford of Oklahoma and Mark Ingram of Alabama -- hoisted the 25-pound keepsake in their sophomore season.

Ingram is the 19th underclassman to win the Heisman. Only one of them, Archie Griffin of Ohio State, won another. Ingram's journey to join Griffin won't be easy, if the journeys of his predecessors are any measure. Expectations for Ingram will be higher -- after all, he won a Heisman.

There's also the very real possibility that none of these 20 for '10 Heisman contenders will win. Ingram surely wasn't on anyone's short list of contenders last season. Heisman voters always have taken into consideration the success of a player and his team. The voters seem less concerned with how he performed in prior seasons.

If you're looking for a fourth consecutive sophomore to win the Heisman, listed below are four -- quarterbacks Landry Jones of Oklahoma and Andrew Luck of Stanford, and tailbacks Dion Lewis of Pittsburgh and LaMichael James of Oregon. There are no freshmen on this list. The next freshman to win the Heisman will be the first.

[+] EnlargeMark Ingram
Mark J. Rebilas/US PresswireMark Ingram could become only the second two-time Heisman Trophy winner.

1. Mark Ingram, Alabama: The fireplug junior will try to join Archie Griffin as the only two-time Heisman winners. The running back has the talent to do it and the blockers around him.

2. Jake Locker, Washington: The NFL loves the quarterback's skills. The Dawg fans just love him. The Heisman voters won't love this senior unless the Huskies return to the winning ways of yore.

3. Terrelle Pryor, Ohio State: If the junior QB plays in the rest of 2010 the way that he played on Jan. 1 in the Rose Bowl, then he will attend the Heisman ceremony in December.

4. Christian Ponder, Florida State: A new era in Tallahassee begins with an old quarterback. The Seminoles will return to relevance on this senior's experience and live arm.

5. Jacquizz Rodgers, Oregon State: The junior running back import from Texas has been so entertaining and effective that the Pac-10 tried to recruit four teams from the state.

6. Evan Royster, Penn State: A veteran line and a young quarterback translate into a lot of responsibility -- and opportunity -- for this senior running back.

7. Ryan Mallett, Arkansas: The best arm west of Stephen Strasburg will lead the Hogs' attempt to dethrone Alabama. But the Arkansas defense has to do its part, too.

[+] EnlargeKellen Moore
Kirby Lee/US PresswireKellen Moore could become the first Heisman winner from a non-AQ school since BYU's Ty Detmer in 1990.

8. Kellen Moore, Boise State: The junior QB doesn't look the part until you see his statistics. Moore's brains and accuracy have helped lead the Broncos to the top five.

9. Ricky Dobbs, Navy: The best Midshipmen quarterback since Roger Staubach, Dobbs oozes leadership and runs the option offense to perfection. If his passing accuracy improves, watch out.

10. Jerrod Johnson, Texas A&M: The best quarterback in the Big 12 has a defensive end's size (6-foot-5, 243 pounds) and an arm both strong and accurate. His feet are pretty good, too.

11. Dion Lewis, Pittsburgh: As a freshman last season, Lewis rushed for 1,799 yards and 17 touchdowns. If the offensive line (two returning starters) is ready, Lewis will be.

12. Case Keenum, Houston: The senior is 4,100 yards or so short of owning the NCAA career passing record, now at 17,072 yards. Keenum's cartoonish numbers speak for themselves.

13. Andrew Luck, Stanford: The redshirt sophomore helped take the Cardinal to Pac-10 runner-up last year. If the QB and the Cardinal thrive without running back Toby Gerhart, he will be a Heisman candidate.

14. Landry Jones, Oklahoma: Last year's pain is this year's gain. After learning on the job as Sam Bradford's stand-in, the OU QB is bigger, stronger and smarter.

15. LaMichael James, Oregon: The dismissal of QB Jeremiah Masoli makes the running back the Ducks' most dangerous offensive weapon. Will being suspended for the opener hurt him in voting?

16. Ricky Stanzi, Iowa: The senior QB produced one great fourth-quarter comeback after another last season. Now he must learn to play better in the first three quarters.

17. Ryan Williams, Virginia Tech: The sophomore running back is an obvious candidate after last season (1,655 yards, 21 scores). But with four backs and one ball, will Williams get the carries to win a Heisman?

18. Julio Jones, Alabama: The junior's numbers dipped last season because of injuries. When healthy, his NFL body gives the wide receiver a huge advantage over college corners.

19. Michael Floyd, Notre Dame: If this junior wideout adjusts to new coach Brian Kelly's offense, watch out. Kelly seems smart enough to figure out how to use his best player.

20. Noel Devine, West Virginia: He rushed for 1,465 yards despite nagging injuries. This season, with a young quarterback and an experienced line, Devine should shine.

Ivan Maisel is a senior writer for ESPN.com and hosts the ESPNU College Football podcast. Send your questions and comments to him at Ivan.Maisel@ESPN.com.

Ivan Maisel | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com