Thursday, July 21, 2011

Matt Chandik's Heisman Predictions...No.5

We're getting closer and closer to the 2011 college football season, and the buzz entering this season is reaching a fever pitch. College football was the benefactor of the NFL lockout as more than a few players decided to skip the uncertainty of the NFL labor situation in favor of another year in college. That means that it's going to be a loaded field for the Heisman Trophy, so there are going to be some pretty damn impressive players that don't get it. With that being said, here's how I think the top five will unfold at the end of the year, not necessarily how it should be. We can all look back on this and laugh at me for being an idiot. Here's No. 5.

5. Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State
Blackmon was a revelation last season for the Cowboys. He took over for Dez Bryant, who alternated between pissing off his new NFL teammates and getting in trouble for letting his ass hang out of his pants, and Blackmon was terrific. After a 20-catch freshman season, no one really expected Blackmon to go ballistic on Big XII “defenses”- and I do use that term very loosely- but that's exactly what he did. He snared 111 passes for 1,782 yards (16.05 ypc) and 20 (!) touchdowns. His worst game was against archrival Oklahoma where he managed a pedestrian eight catches for 105 yards and a touchdown. SERIOUSLY? This guy's worst game was one that would be a career highlight for 90 percent of Division I receivers. He's good. He's got terrific size at 6-1, 210 pounds to outmuscle defensive backs and he can run very well, too.

Blackmon also has a good quarterback feeding him the ball in 94-year-old Brandon Weeden. Weeden should be a darkhorse contender for the Heisman after throwing for more than 4,200 yards, a 66.9 completion percentage and 34 touchdowns. Realistically, though, Blackmon makes the offense go. He scored a touchdown in every game that he played in last year and should again be the most productive Division I receiver.

While I really like Blackmon's game, though, the odds are stacked against him to win the Heisman. Notre Dame's Tim Brown and Michigan's Desmond Howard are the only two receivers to win the coveted award, but both were more than pure receivers. Brown had 1,937 all-purpose yards (846 receiving yards, 401 punt return yards, 144 rushing yards and 456 kick return yards to go with eight touchdowns), played for arguably the most popular team in the country and benefited from a fairly pedestrian field. Howard won the award in a landslide, but he was also a multi-threat wideout. He grabbed 61 passes for 950 yards and 19 touchdowns, had 165 rushing yards on 12 carries and scored twice, averaged 31.1 yards per kick return on 12 returns and scored once and also averaged a sickening 17.4 yards per punt return. His lone punt return for a touchdown is one of the most famous punt returns in college football- here's a video in case you need a reminder.

Right, suck on that, Ohio State.

Howard also added a gorgeous catch against Notre Dame as one of his signature moments, but the biggest thing for Brown and Howard is that they were both multi-purpose threats and played for monstrously hyped programs. Blackmon doesn't return punts or kicks and only had four carries last year (though he did get 77 yards and a touchdown on them) and plays for the state of Oklahoma's junior varsity team, so it's going to be hard to see him win the Heisman unless he does a little bit of everything, especially in a loaded field like this one. I expect Blackmon, the Big XII's Preseason Offensive Player of the Year, to win his second consecutive Biletnikoff Award and be an All-American before bolting for the NFL, but a Heisman might be a bit out of hand.

Look for Matt Chandik's No. 4 pick for the Heisman Trophy later this week. He can be reached at

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