Brent Yarina, BTN.com Senior Editor, June 21, 2012
Coming up with 25 national candidates for the Heisman Trophy is difficult enough, so it's easy to understand what Athlon Sports must have gone through while compiling its Big Ten's 25 Heisman Trophy Contenders. Twenty-five, really?! Let's focus on the top 5, what do you say? Here it is: 1. Denard Robinson; 2. Montee Ball; 3. Rex Burkhead; 4. Braxton Miller; 5. Taylor Martinez.
Not many surprises, although some would say Ball, a Heisman finalist a year ago, should be No. 1. The biggest eyebrow-raiser might be Miller at No. 4. The Ohio State sophomore QB has all the tools, which is why people are falling in love with him, but the expectations are reaching epic proportions.
[AthlonSports.com: The Big Ten's Top 25 Heisman Contenders]
What do you think of the list? Here are my thoughts:
Ranked too high: Braxton Miller, No. 4 – Miller plays the right position and plays for a nationally relevant team, however it's hard to put him this high until we see how much he improves as a passer. This is a guy who was a babied last season–like most true freshman quarterbacks–and now he's learning another new offense, one many think perfectly suits him. Wait another year, and this is a fair placement.
Ranked too low: William Gholston, No. 16 – Defensive lineman don't win the Heisman, but considering Athlon isn't operating under the Heisman prejudices, it's hard to believe Gholston is only the 16th best player, the fourth best defensive player.
Possible dark horse: There aren't many bigger Kain Colter fans than myself. The do-it-all Wildcat has the speed and skills to produce in a myriad of ways, as we witnessed all last season. So while he isn't a polished quarterback, he'll find ways to make big plays and get himself on the highlight shows.
Hello, Badgers!: Yes, back-to-back Big Ten champ Wisconsin is going to be good again. Athlon certainly feels this way, as it placed six Badgers on the list. That's nearly a quarter of the candidates!
Indiana love: In a bit of a surprise, two Hoosiers made the cut: RB Stephen Houston (No. 17) and QB Tre Roberson (23). Houston, a powerful back, is poised for a strong year. The verdict is still out on Roberson, who has new competition this fall.