Published September 14, 2011 - 9:57am
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We have a long way to go to see who the winner of the 2011 Heisman Trophy will be, but it is fun to see who should be considered in the SEC right now. We’ll take a look at players within the SEC every few weeks or so.
Here are five candidates who should be considered right now:
1. Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina: Lattimore is second in the conference in rushing, with 288 yards and four touchdowns. His 5.8 yards per carry is better than last year’s, and that should stay around 5 yards per carry throughout the year. He’s bigger and stronger this year, and let us not forget what he can do in the passing game as well. He has been very key in the Gamecocks’ two wins thus far.
2. Vick Ballard, RB, Mississippi State: Ballard is leading the SEC in rushing with 301 yards, and he has added four touchdowns on the year. He is averaging 150 yards per game on 9.7 yards per carry. With State losing this past weekend against Auburn, it will likely keep him dropping week after week. However, he is a special talent who should have a very good year.
3. Tyler Bray, QB, Tennessee: Bray has come out throwing lights out in 2010. Yes, it has been against inferior competition, but you cannot discount the overall body of work thus far. Bray is leading the SEC in passing yards (698), touchdowns (7) and completion percentage (78.5). We will find out what kind of quarterback he is under pressure this week in Gainesville, but he is off to a very hot start.
4. Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama: Richardson hasn’t started off like most thought. He is 10th in the conference in rushing yards, but he is leading the SEC in scoring, with five total touchdowns. As teams and defenses wear down throughout the season, Richardson will still have a chance to go strong because of his weight and durability.
5. Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee: I’m going to give some love to Justin Hunter, who I think is one of the best wide receivers in the SEC this year. His length, hands, athletic ability and speed make him a special combination. Hunter is leading the SEC in receiving right now with 302 yards, and he has added two touchdowns. The kid is a freak, and he is the next great wide receiver in this great conference. Watch out for him this year.
Chris Rainey, RB, Florida: He does it against non-SEC opponents year after year, but can it do it in the SEC this year? This is a player to watch moving forward, and he is a bit of a darkhorse. He is the game plan right now at Florida because of his electric moves when he has the football.
Obviously there is a long way to go in this season, but it is always fun to look at the best players in the league and talk about the Heisman.