2011 Athlon Sports Week 1 Heisman Voting

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Each week the Athlon editors will vote on the most prestigious award in all of sports.

Each week the Athlon editors will vote on the most prestigious award in all of sports.

-by Braden Gall (@AthlonBraden on twitter)

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

Note: The scoring system is as follows: A first place vote earns a player 10 points. A second place votes earns nine points - so on and so forth until the 10th place player receives one point.

With less than 10 days left until the kickoff of the season, is there any doubt who the best, most important player in college football is heading into 2011?

He has an architecture degree from one of the most prominent academic schools in the nation. He finished second in the Heisman voting a year ago. He led his team to its first ever BCS Bowl win with an absolutle dismantling of the ACC champion Virginia Tech Hokies in the Orange Bowl. He has his team poised for a Pac-12 and BCS national title run in 2011.

Ladies and gentleman, I give you Athlon's top vote-getter in the preliminary Heisman vote:

1. Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford (88 of 90 possible pts, 7 of 9 first place votes)
They lost their head coach, but the Cardinal are welcoming back the nation’s finest quarterback. Luck, who spurned the NFL Draft, threw for 3,338 yards and 32 touchdowns (and only eight INTs) as a sophomore to lead Stanford to its first 12-win season in school history.

Preseason Voting:

  Name POS Team Tot Pts 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th Left Off
1. Andrew Luck QB Stanford 88/90 7 2 - - - 0
2. LaMichael James RB Oregon 77 1 4 3 1 - 0
3. Landry Jones QB Oklahoma 62 1 - 2 2 2 0
4. Kellen Moore QB Boise State 60 - - 3 2 3 0
5. Marcus Lattimore RB South Carolina 58 - 2 - 3 1 0
6. Trent Richardson RB Alabama 48 - 1 1 1 2 0
7. Justin Blackmon WR Oklahoma St 26 - - - - - 2
8. Robert Griffin QB Baylor 22 - - - - 1 2
9. Brandon Weeden QB Oklahoma St 17 - - - - - 4
10. Denard Robinson QB Michigan 13 - - - - - 4
11. Ryan Broyles WR Oklahoma 13 - - - - - 4
12. Matt Barkley QB USC 5 - - - - - 9
13. Case Keenum QB Houston 2 - - - - - 8
14. Jared Crick DT Nebraska 1 - - - - - 9
15. Manti Te'o LB Notre Dame 1 - - - - - 9
16. Geno Smith QB West Virginia 1 - - - - - 9
17. David Wilson RB Virginia Tech 1 - - - - - 9

The Contenders:

2. LaMichael James, RB, Oregon (77/90 pts)

Speedster led the nation in rushing last season with 1,731 yards for the national runners-up. With seven starters back on offense, including three on the offensive line, the Ducks should continue to put up gaudy numbers.

3. Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma (62/90 pts)
Jones has been wildly productive in his two years as the starter in Norman. In 2010, he broke school records for pass attempts (617) and completions (405) en route to a 4,718-yard, 38-touchdown season. With a host of weapons at his disposal, expect more of the same from the fourth-year junior.

4. Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State (60/90)
Moore, 38–2 as a starter, needs eight wins to pass Colt McCoy as the all-time winningest quarterback in the FBS ranks. He must forge ahead without his top two receivers from last season, as well as offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin, now at Texas.

5. Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina (58/90)
Lattimore was sensational as a true freshman, rushing for 1,197 yards and 17 scores for the SEC East champs, and promises to be even better as a sophomore after a year in the weight room. With issues at quarterback — will Stephen Garcia ever behave? — the Gamecocks could lean on their running game even more this fall.

6. Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama (48/60)
He’s been arguably the best backup in the nation the past two seasons. Now, with former Heisman winner Mark Ingram off to the NFL, Richardson is the top option at Bama. Last year, he rushed for 700 yards on only 112 carries for a sparkling 6.3-yard average.

7. Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State (26/90)
Blackmon teamed with Brandon Weeden to form one of the nation’s most explosive pass-catch duos. After catching 20 passes as a redshirt freshman in 2009, Blackmon blew up last fall, ranking second in the nation in receptions (111) and third in yards (1,782) while leading the country (by a wide margin) with 20 TD catches.

8. Robert Griffin, QB, Baylor (22/90)
He’s the most dangerous dual-threat quarterback in the country — he threw for 3,501 yards and rushed for 635 in 2010 — but Griffin will have a tough time impressing Heisman voters unless the Bears can somehow challenge for the Big 12 crown.

9. Brandon Weeden, QB, Oklahoma State (17/90)
The former minor league pitcher threw for 4,277 yards and 34 touchdowns while leading the Big 12 in passing efficiency in his first year as the Cowboys starter. Having his favorite target, Justin Blackmon, back is a plus, but losing highly regarded coordinator Dana Holgorsen to West Virginia is a blow.

10t. Denard Robinson, QB, Michigan (13/90)
10t. Ryan Broyles, WR, Oklahoma (13/90)

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