Heisman Power Rankings For 2012: Barkley Clear Favorite If He Stays.

By Ty Duffy

Matt Barkley [USC] Assuming Barkley stays he will get the Andrew Luck treatment all summer. He will quarterback a traditional football power starting the season in the top five. He will post sick numbers throwing to Robert Woods and Marqise Lee in Lane Kiffin’s offense. Barkley’s in a beauty contest and, fortunately for him, he looks like a Ken doll.

Marcus Lattimore [South Carolina] The sophomore was a favorite heading into 2011, but had his season cut short. Truthfully, he was not the same player after 96 total touches his first three weeks. He should return with fresh legs next year and if the OBC can balance the offense and manage his carries better, roll through the SEC.

Denard Robinson [Michigan] Robinson was digesting a system change while playing through both an elbow abscess and a staph infection. Despite that, he put up 2,000 yards through the air and more than 1,000 on the ground for the second-straight season. Denard makes plays. He wins games. He has name recognition. If he can cut down his interception total with a year’s worth of experience and footwork training and stay healthy, he has a definite chance.

Tyler Wilson [Arkansas] In his first year as a starter, Wilson completed 63 percent of his passes, threw for 3,400 yards and had 22 touchdowns to just six interceptions. Subtle improvements could lead to a monster season as a senior, which will be blasted through a megaphone as it happened at SEC speed.

Geno Smith [West Virginia] Smith is consistent. He is accurate. He should explode and put up big time numbers as a senior in his second year in Dana Holgorsen’s system next season whether it’s in the Big 12 or the Big LOL. With a number of high-end quarterbacks leaving, he looks like one of the most probable to step forward.

No Honey Badger: Tyrann Mathieu is the only Heisman finalist known to be returning next year. He’s not in our top five. He’s a great player. He may not give a sh*t, but we don’t think defense alone will get him to the top and we suspect teams will avoid punting to him.

[Photo via Getty]