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2012 Heisman Trophy Voting: Post-Week 2

UCLA's Johnathan Franklin makes major move on our ballots

Each week, the Athlon editors vote on the most prestigious award in all of college football. An eight-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.

USC's Matt Barkley remains atop our poll, with all but one of our panel  listing Barkley at No. 1 as the Trojans begin conference play this week. The only other near-unanimous pick was Geno Smith even though the West Virginia quarterback did not play last week.

The biggest movers this week were in the next seven spots. The voters in our panel who liked Oregon’s explosive all-purpose player De'Anthony Thomas really liked De'Anthony Thomas. He appeared on six of eight ballots, at No. 3 on each of them. UCLA’s Johnathan Franklin, the nation’s leading rusher, jumped from No. 13 last week to No. 4 after a second 200-yard effort this season. After a game-turning performance against Missouri, Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones became everyone’s favorite defensive candidate, climbing from No. 19 to No. 6. And Kansas State’s Collin Klein, who was not among our top 20 in Week 1, made his season debut at No. 7.

Of the notable players who dropped out of the top 15: Wisconsin’s Montee Ball claimed only one vote at No. 10 after rushing for 61 yards against Oregon State. Injured Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson also dropped from No. 12 to out of the rankings completely.

1. Matt Barkley, QB, USC (seven first-place votes)
Season Stats: 46-68, 559 yds, 10 TD, 1 INT
Barkley’s performance Saturday against Syracuse wasn’t perfect (23 of 30, 187 yards), but the USC quarterback still tied his own school record of six touchdown passes. In a single game, Barkley had as many touchdown passes as Michigan and Miami have touchdowns all season. Only 20 teams have accounted for more offensive touchdowns than Barkley’s 10 touchdowns through the air. This week, Barkley will try to do something he’s never done in his career: Beat Stanford. Next Game: at Stanford

  Name Pos. Team Tot. Pts 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th Ballots
1. Matt Barkley QB USC 70/80 7 1 - - - 8/8
2. Geno Smith QB West Virginia 68/80 1 5 - 1 2 8/8
3. De'Anthony Thomas AP Oregon 48/80 - - 6 - - 6/8
4. Johnathan Franklin RB UCLA 42/80 - 1 1 2 1 7/8
5. Le'Veon Bell RB Michigan St. 38/80 - - - 3 1 7/8
6. Jarvis Jones LB Georgia 28/80 - 1 - - 1 7/8
7. Collin Klein QB Kansas State 23/80 - - - 1 1 5/8
8. Marqise Lee WR USC 22/80 - - - - 1 5/8
9. Braxton Miller QB Ohio State 19/80 - - - - 1 5/8
10. Marcus Lattimore RB South Carolina 17/80 - - - - 2 5/8
t11. Tajh Boyd QB Clemson 11/80 - - - - - 3/8
t11. Andre Ellington RB Clemson 11/80 - - - 1 - 2/8
13. A.J. McCarron QB Alabama 10/80 - - 1 - - 3/8
14. Denard Robinson QB Michigan 9/80 - - - - - 3/8
15. Taylor Martinez QB Nebraska 7/80 - - - - - 2/8

Also receiving votes: 16. Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia (five votes), T-17. Tyler Bray, QB, Tennessee; Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin; Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU (one vote each)

2. Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia (one first-place vote)
Season Stats:
32-36, 323 yds, 4 TD, 0 INT, 8 att., 65 rush yds, TD
Smith and West Virginia didn’t play last week, but that did nothing to diminish his standing in the Athlon Heisman poll thanks to his near-perfect performance against Marshall in the opener. West Virginia will face James Madison, ranked sixth in this week’s FCS coaches’ poll, in a neutral site game at FedEx Field. Mountaineers coach Dana Holgorsen said he’s anticipating a “bigger challenge” against James Madison than against Marshall. Whether that’s honesty or a not-so-subtle jab against rival Marshall, we’ll find out Saturday. Next game: James Madison (Landover, Md.)

Who is your Heisman frontrunner? free polls 

3. De’Anthony Thomas, AP, Oregon
Season Stats:
10 att., 166 yds, 3 TD, 8 rec., 81 yds, 2 TD
Oregon and Thomas have yet to play a major conference team, but the all-purpose dynamo continues to grab our Heisman attention. Thomas appeared at No. 3 on six of eight Athlon ballots. So far, the sophomore has touched the ball 18 times on offense, resulting in five touchdowns. With touchdown runs of 51, 39 and 33 yards this season, Thomas is averaging 13.7 yards each time he touches the ball on offense. Expect that to continue with a warm-up game this week before facing newly-ranked Arizona on Sept. 22. Next game: Tennessee Tech

4. Johnathan Franklin, RB, UCLA
Season Stats:
41 att., 431 yds, 3 TD, 4 rec., 63 yds, 1 TD
The Bruins senior may be the biggest beneficiary of Jim L. Mora’s arrival at UCLA. Was Franklin’s 214-yard performance in the opener a product of weak competition (Rice)? The answer is no. Franklin followed his second career 200-yard game with his third against Nebraska in Week 2. Against Nebraska, Franklin rushed for 217 yards on 26 carries in addition to catching a fourth-quarter touchdown pass that ended up being the difference in the game. Next game: Houston

5. Le’Veon Bell, RB, Michigan State
Season Stats:
62 att., 280 yds, 4 TD, 7 rec., 55 yds
A week after carrying 44 times against Boise State, Bell got a bit of rest against Central Michigan, relatively speaking. Bell carried only 18 times for 70 yards with two touchdowns against the Chippewas. The Spartans didn’t need a gladiator effort in the 41-7 rout, but they may put more on his shoulders this week. Next game: Notre Dame

6. Jarvis Jones, LB, Georgia
Season Stats:
17 tackles, 4.5 TFL, 3.5 sacks, INT, 2 forced fumbles, 2 pass breakups
Jones was a dominant presence for nearly the entire game against Missouri, but two key plays turned close game into a Georgia blowout. Jones returned an interception 21 yards to Missouri’s 1-yard line to set up a touchdown. He later sacked quarterback James Franklin, forcing a fumble that set up the Bulldogs’ final touchdown in the 41-20 win. Next game: FAU

7. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State
Season Stats:
28-39, 379 yds, 3 TD, INT, 25 att., 125 yds, 3 TD
Klein had one of the best passing days of his career, throwing for 210 yards and a touchdown on only 9 of 11 completions. Of course, the ground game remained Klein’s calling card with 71 yards and three touchdowns on 22 carries. Klein has accounted for either a passing or rushing touchdown in 15 consecutive games and has 30 rushing TDs since the start of the 2011 season.  Next game: North Texas

8. Marqise Lee, WR, USC
Season Stats:
21 rec., 263 yds, 4 TD, 1 att., 23 yds, 4 KOR, 140 yds, TD
Lee’s 66 receiving yards against Syracuse was his lowest total since picking up 36 yards against Notre Dame on Oct. 22. Yet Lee still managed to catch three touchdown passes, giving him 13 total touchdowns in his last seven games. Lee also caught 11 passes, giving him at least 10 receptions in his last three games. Next game: at Stanford

9. Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State
Season Stats:
32-48, 362 yds, 3 TD, INT, 44 att., 302 yds, 4 TD
For a time last season, Ohio State didn’t trust Miller to throw the ball more than 10 times in a game. That’s hard to believe now as Miller has thrown at least 23 passes in his last four games dating back to the Michigan game last year. And that’s the second-most interesting part of his game right now: Miller is the fourth-leading rusher in the country, topping 140 yards in each game this season. Next game: Cal

10. Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina
Season Stats:
36 att., 150 yds, 3 TD
South Carolina didn’t need an other-worldly effort out of Lattimore to defeat East Carolina. The junior rushed for 40 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries. Next game: UAB

T-11. Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson
Season Stats:
43-57, 437 yds, 4 TD, INT, 22 att., 70 yds

T-11. Andre Ellington, RB, Clemson
Season Stats:
38 att., 269 yds, 2 TD

13. A.J. McCarron, QB, Alabama
Season Stats:
25-40, 418 yds, 6 TD, 0 INT

14. Denard Robinson, QB, Michigan
Season Stats:
25-51, 408 yds, 3 TD, 3 INT, 30 att., 245 yds, 3 TD

15. Taylor Martinez, QB, Nebraska
Season Stats:
43-65, 533 yds, 5 TD, INT, 19 att., 122 yds, TD

by David Fox

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