Wednesday's Links: Let's talk Heisman Race

Wednesday's Links: Let's talk Heisman Race

The calendar hasn’t even flipped to June, but some already are talking Heisman Trophy. Why not? I found one writer who lists his top candidates. Read what he wrote and tell me what you think.

Here we go: Steve Greenberg of Sporting News offers an early Top 7:
1. Matt Barkley, QB, USC
2. Denard Robinson, QB, Michigan
3. Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin
4. Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
5. De’Anthony Thomas, RB, Oregon
6. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State
7. Tyrann Mathieu, CB, LSU

Hard to argue with that list. And, yes, having Robinson ahead of Ball isn’t such a crazy notion, even though Ball finished No. 4 in Heisman voting last year and is the top returning vote-getter in the nation. I think Robinson is primed for a big season. Wouldn’t it be great if Ball and Robinson met in the Big Ten title game?

Lined up: Lots of opportunity looms on Michigan’s offensive line for freshmen. And the two incoming freshmen with the best chance to impact? Kyle Kalis and Erik Magnuson.

More good news for those two: Michigan coach Brady Hoke isn’t afraid to play true freshmen, as Desmond Morgan and Blake Countess started on defense by the end of last season. Also, Brennen Beyer and Frank Clark got significant snaps. Plus, offensive coordinator Al Borges has used true freshmen on the offensive line at previous stops. In fact, he had three start in his last season at Auburn.

Bell ringer: Michigan State running back Le’Veon Bell continues to get smarter and faster. And that’s a scary proposition for opponents.

Bell already figured to be one of the top running backs in the Big Ten this fall. He paced Michigan State with 948 yards rushing in 2011, scoring 13 touchdowns, emerging as an elite back within the conference. Bell also caught 35 passes. Bell possesses a versatile package that recently caused Mark Dantonio to say that Bell reminded him of former Ohio State running back Keith Byars, who was No. 2 in Heisman voting in 1984.

Training days: How does Iowa—or any other Big Ten team, for that matter—keep up with Michigan and its training with Navy SEALs?

When Hoke was head coach at San Diego State, he became enchanted with the SEALs and what they and their regimen could mean to building a football program. It has to be a unique experience from a physical and psychological standpoint for the Wolverines. Gotta love Hoke. He’s also thinking, always looking for an edge. What will Urban Meyer do?

Receiving news: Purdue received big news when Antavian Edison had charges of carrying a concealed weapon dropped. Edison figures to be the Boilermakers’ top wideout. Had he not returned, it would have been a big blow to an offense that already lacks many proven commodities at receiver and needs playmakers.

TWEETS THAT MATTER

My take: I guess I shouldn’t be amazed at the response this has received. We are talking about Michigan and Ohio State, after all. Still, people’s passion—or misdirected passion, in this case—amazes me.

My take: Did he say “run the table”? Well, the more I look at Ohio State and its schedule, the more I think it may be a possibility. I have said often that I think the Buckeyes may end up with the best record in the Big Ten in 2012.

BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is on Twitter and Facebook, all of his work is at btn.com/tomdienhart, and you can subscribe to it all via his RSS feed. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below.

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