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Ingram is Heisman favorite for '10

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Pete Fiutak

Pete Fiutak writes previews, predictions and prognostications for CollegeFootballNews.com.

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No defensive player has a chance (proven by Ndamukong Suh), it would take something amazing for a non-BCS player to be in the mix (proven by Case Keenum), and wide receivers need not apply (proven by Golden Tate). The Heisman goes to the top quarterback or running back on the top teams, period. The 2010 Heisman race could be a bit thin. The 2011 NFL collective bargaining agreement will almost certainly have a hard rookie salary cap that could cut rookie salaries in half, if not more. That means that anyone who has any thoughts of being a top 100 pick, even if more development is needed, would be crazy to stay around for another year. Even so, there are just enough good-looking underclassmen who have to come back to make the chase worth paying attention to. And so, the top 20 Heisman candidates in 2010 will likely be:

1. Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama

The reigning Heisman winner was only a sophomore and he just might be scratching the surface of how good he could become. Think Ron Dayne with a bit more pizzazz.

2. Case Keenum, QB, Houston

Ignored at the end of the 2009 Heisman race after being among the front-runners for a long stretch, he'll have the buzz, the receivers, and the head coach to be in New York.

3. Jacory Harris, QB, Miami

If Miami is as good as it's supposed to be next year, Harris will be the marquee name. He would've been in the 2009 Heisman mix had Miami won the ACC title.

4. Terrelle Pryor, QB, Ohio State

He's due to become the superstar everyone has waited for. He'll have the talent around him to finally live up to the hype.

5. Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State

He got ten first-place votes this year, likely all from the greater Boise area, but he was the nation's most efficient passer this year with 39 touchdowns and just three interceptions. More people will take notice next season.

6. Dion Lewis, RB, Pitt

Hook up all 120 head coaches up to a lie detector and ask them if they'd rather have Lewis, who finished third in the nation in rushing, or Mark Ingram, and you'd likely get a 50/50 split.

7. LaMichael James, RB, Oregon

LeGarrette Blount will be off to the NFL, but Jeremiah Masoli will steal rushing yards and touchdowns. Even so, James will be one of the "IT" Players of 2010.

8. John Brantley, QB, Florida

Tebow was a legend and an all-timer who'll be impossible to replace. Brantley will make more money in the NFL.

9. Jacquizz Rodgers, RB, Oregon State

All 'Quizz has done is run for 2,630 yards and 31 touchdowns and catch 103 passes for 756 yards and two scores in his first two seasons.

10. Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri

After bombing away over the second half of the season, Gabbert should grow into the Big 12's most dangerous passer.

11. Ryan Williams, RB, Virginia Tech

He'd be higher but Darren Evans is coming back and Tyrod Taylor always takes yards away.

12. Jeremiah Masoli, QB, Oregon

Remember, Dennis Dixon probably would've won the 2007 Heisman if he hadn't blown out his knee. Masoli is the type of quarterback who could be the right combination of leader and stat-producer to get to New York.

13. Christian Ponder, QB, Florida State

Ponder was having a monster season before getting hurt. He could become special now that Jimbo has the full-time gig.

14. Garrett Gilbert, QB, Texas

Remember, Vince Young couldn't be replaced, either. Gilbert might be the most talented quarterback Mack Brown has ever coached.

15. Josh Nesbitt, QB, Georgia Tech

His passing numbers will keep him from ever winning the Heisman, but if he cranks out another ACC title and comes up with a huge rushing season, he could be a fringe finalist.

16. Matt Barkley, QB, USC

He's way too talented to have a dud of a career. Relax about his second half of the 2009 season; he was a true freshman.

17. Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma

Oklahoma quarterbacks have flourished under Bob Stoops. Josh Heupel, Jason White, and Sam Bradford were all Heisman-worthy, and in time with a stronger line in front of him, Jones could be the same type of player.

18. Taylor Potts, QB, Texas Tech

The Texas Tech quarterback always puts up huge yards and Heisman-esque stats, but Graham Harrell didn't even get an invite two years ago and there's no guarantee that Potts will be the man. Even if he is the starter, the clock will be ticking on how long he'll last before he's pulled.

19. Jerrod Johnson, RB, Texas A&M

The stats are going to be amazing. A&M could be one of 2010's breakthrough teams if the light goes on in Year Three under Mike Sherman.

20. A.J. Green, WR, Georgia

A wide receiver had to be put on here somewhere. Green might not be Julio Jones talent-wise, but he'll have better stats. Over the first five games of 2009, Green was a Heisman-worthy receiver.

The Major Heisman Contenders Who Won't Be Around

They're nuts if they choose to come back for another year instead of making lots of money in the NFL, but if they come back, they'll all be among the top 20 Heisman prospects. 1. Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas
2. Jahvid Best, RB, California
3. Jake Locker, QB, Washington
4. John Clay, RB, Wisconsin
5. Ryan Matthews, RB, Fresno State
6. Jonathan Dwyer, RB, Georgia Tech
7. DeMarco Murray, RB, Oklahoma
8. Noel Devine, RB, West Virginia
9. Jevan Snead, QB, Ole Miss
10. Evan Royster, RB, Penn State

Great Players Who Won't Be In The Hunt Because of Where They Play

These players will deserve to be ranked among the best in 2010, but won't be in the Heisman race because they don't play for the right teams. 1. Donald Buckram, RB,UTEP
2. Bernard Pierce, RB, Temple
3. Andy Dalton, QB, TCU
4. Dwight Dasher, QB, MTSU
5. Colin Kaepernick, QB, Nevada
6. Brynn Harvey, RB, UCF
7. Vai Taua, RB, Nevada
8. Darius Marshall, RB, Marshall
9. Trevor Vittatoe, QB, UTEP
10. Ryan Lindley, QB, San Diego State

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