2012 Heisman Trophy Contenders: Post-Week 4

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Florida State's EJ Manuel made a big jump into the rankings this weekend.

<p> 2012 Heisman Trophy Contenders: Post-Week 4</p>

Each week, the Athlon editors vote on the most prestigious award in all of college football. A nine-man conglomerate of college football gurus from Athlon Sports voted this week for their top Heisman Trophy candidates. The votes will be tallied and the result will be posted as the Athlon Sports Heisman Watch List every week of the regular season.

Voting: Each first-place vote receives 10 points. A second-place vote receives nine points. So on and so forth with a 10th-place vote receiving one point.

At the quarter pole of the 2012 season, the haves and have-nots are beginning to separate themselves. Last week, 22 different players received Heisman votes from Athlon Sports. Following Week 4, only 18 got votes this time around. Unofficially, Denard Robinson and Montee Ball are out of the running. Quarterbacks Tyler Wilson, Tajh Boyd and Landry Jones likely joined them this weekend as well.

Meanwhile, Collin Klein and EJ Manuel won the two biggest games of the weekend and are leading their respective teams into national contention. Defensive dynamos Jarvis Jones and Manti Te'o are leading two of the nation's best units with big plays and leadership. Electric playmakers Braxton Miller and De'Anthony Thomas are wowing fans at every step.

And Geno Smith continues to torch defenses.

1. Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia (eight first-place votes)
Season Stats: 
96-118, 1,072 yards, 12 TD, 0 INT, 16 att., 67 yards, TD
Just another day in the life of a Dana Holgorsen quarterback. Smith was 30-of-43 for 338 yards — his fourth straight 300-yard effort — and three touchdowns in the win over Maryland. He has yet to turn the ball over and is No. 2 nationally in total offense (379.7 ypg) and passer efficiency (191.23). Things will start to get interesting this weekend as Big 12 play opens up for the first time in Mountaineer history. Next game: Baylor

  Name Pos. Team Tot. Pts 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th Ballots
1. Geno Smith QB W. Virginia 89/90 8 1 - - - 9/9
2. De'Anthony Thomas AP Oregon 64/90 1 2 1 - 3 9/9
3. Braxton Miller QB Ohio St 62/90 - 2 2 2 1 9/9
4. Collin Klein QB Kansas St 51/90 - 2 - 1 2 8/9
5. EJ Manuel QB Florida St 49/90 - - 2 2 1 9/9
6. Manti Te'o LB Notre Dame 29/90 - - 2 - - 6/9
7. Matt Barkley QB USC 26/90 - 1 - 1 1 4/9
8. Stepfan Taylor RB Stanford 22/90 - - - 1 1 6/9
9. Marcus Lattimore RB S. Carolina 21/90 - - 1 - - 4/9
10. Jarvis Jones LB Georgia 15/90 - - - 1 - 5/9
11. Aaron Murray QB Georgia 13/90 - 1 - - - 3/9
12. AJ McCarron QB Alabama 12/90 - - 1 - - 3/9
13. Le'Veon Bell RB Michigan St 11/90 - - - 1 - 2/9
14. Johnathan Franklin RB UCLA 11/90 - - - - - 5/9
15. Marqise Lee WR USC 9/90 - - - - - 4/9
16. Barrett Jones OL Alabama 5/90 - - - - - 2/9
17. Kolton Browning QB UL Monroe 5/90 - - - - - 1/9
18. Tajh Boyd QB Clemson 1/90 - - - - - 1/9

2. De’Anthony Thomas, AP, Oregon
Season Stats: 25 att., 276 yards, 4 TD, 13 rec., 165 yards, 3 TD, 8 PR, 131 PR yards
Thomas was given a career-high 12 rushing attempts this weekend to go with a pair of receptions. And for the most part, DAT was kept under wraps with 59 total yards from scrimmage and (gasp!) no trips to paydirt. That said, Thomas still might have made the biggest play of the game. It was 13-0 halfway through the third quarter when his 38-yard punt return into Arizona territory set up the first score of the second half three plays later. His big play signaled the beginning of the end for the Wildcats. Next Game: at Washington State

3. Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State
Season Stats: 
60-98, 754 yards, 7 TD, 2 INT, 67 att., 441 yards, 7 TD
The story is getting awfully familiar. Ohio State struggles in the first half, turns to its star quarterback to carry the team to victory and No. 5 delivers in a big way in the second half to keep the Buckeyes undefeated. Miller, behind clutch passes and gritty runs, scored his sixth and seventh rushing touchdowns while not turning the ball over in the closer-than-expected win against UAB. The OSU quarterback is No. 2 in the Big Ten in rushing (110.3 ypg), No. 2 in total offense (298.8 ypg), and he is leading the league in scoring (11.5 ppg). Next Game: at Michigan State

4. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State
Season Stats:
 56-80, 758 yards, 5 TD, 2 INT, 63 att., 289 yards, 5 TD
He didn't stuff the stat sheet with gaudy passing or rushing numbers — he finished with 149 yards passing and one overall touchdown — but his team pulled-off the biggest win of the Week 4 slate in Norman, Okla., over the Sooners on Saturday night. Klein didn't turn the ball over and rushed 17 times for 79 yards while his offense executed to perfection in the first home loss to a ranked opponent for Bob Stoops. CK7 is a truly great young person that does things the right way. Now, his team is in the driver's seat for a Big 12 title. Next Game: Bye Week

5. EJ Manuel, QB, Florida State
Season Stats: 69-94, 905 yards, 8 TD, 1 INT, 24 att., 188 yards, TD
Manuel's come-from-behind win over Clemson was on par with Kansas State as the biggest win of the weekend and it has dropped the Seminoles signal caller right into the middle of the Heisman race. Manuel posted career highs in passing (380) and rushing yards (102) and led Florida State to 28 straight points as the game moved into the fourth quarter. Overcoming multiple double-digit deficits in the second half? Check. Beating the reigning ACC champs in an Atlantic Division de facto title game? Check. Posting the single best statistical performance of your career in the process? Check. Next Game: at South Florida

6. Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame
Season Stats: 17 tackles, 4.5 TFL, 3.5 sacks, INT, 3 FF, 2 PBU
The Notre Dame tackler should be the leader for Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. The Irish allowed 26 total points and went 3-0 against the B1G on the back of 30 tackles, two INTs and a fumble recovery in those three games by their senior stalwart. Next Game: Bye Week

7. Matt Barkley, QB, USC
Season Stats: 88-143, 1,005 yards, 12 TD, 5 INT, 11 att., minus-61 yards
For the second week in a row, it wasn't a vintage performance by Barkley. He threw for 192 yards and two scores in the win over Cal, but also threw two interceptions. So after posting one multi-interception performance in 14 games, the USC quarterback now has had back-to-back such games. Next game: at Utah

8. Stepfan Taylor, RB, Stanford
Season Stats: 67 att., 338 yards, 3 TD, 10 rec., 89 yards, TD
Stanford was on bye but Taylor maintains a presence in the top 10 in the continuing afterglow of the Cardinal's huge win over USC. He has another national primetime slot this week in a key Pac-12 North showdown on Thursday night against the Huskies. Next Game: at Washington

9. Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina
Season Stats: 
48 att., 235 yards, 4 TD, 6 rec., 33 yards
The most underrated Heisman contender (third on my ballot) posted 145 yards from scrimmage and two more touchdowns in the easy win over Mizzou. He had 28 touches, including seven receptions, and has scored four times in two SEC East wins. Next game: at Kentucky

10. Jarvis Jones, LB, Georgia
Season Stats: 24 tackles, 7.5 TFL, 4.5 sacks, INT, 3 FF, 2 PBU
Few players had as big of an impact in last week's games than the junior linebacker from Georgia. After sitting out last weekend against FAU, Jones posted seven total tackles, 3.0 tackles for loss and a sack in the destruction of SEC East rival Vanderbilt. Next Game: Tennessee

11. Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia
Season Stats: 69-104, 1,092 yards, 10 TD, 2 INT, 19 att., 1 yards, 3 TD
Next Game: Tennessee

12. A.J. McCarron, QB, Alabama
Season Stats: 
51-81, 819 yards, 10 TD, 0 INT, 15 att., minus-39 yards
Next Game: Ole Miss

13. Le’Veon Bell, RB, Michigan State
Season Stats: 117 att., 610 yards, 5 TD, 12 rec., 67 yards
Next Game: Ohio State

14. Johnathan Franklin, RB, UCLA
Season Stats: 78 att., 586 yards, 3 TD, 9 rec., 132 yards, TD
Next Game: at Colorado

15. Marqise Lee, WR, USC
Season Stats: 29 rec., 391 yards, 3 TD, 6 KR, 200 kickoff return yards, TD
Next Game: at Utah

by Braden Gall

@bradengall

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Pac-12 East Post-Week 4 Power Rankings
SEC Post-Week 4 Power Rankings 

Miscellaneous: 

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