CLA Weekly Heisman Watch

Geno Smith Leads the Race for WVU

1. Geno Smith QB West Virginia

West Virginia senior quarterback Geno Smith has ascended to the top spot with his stellar performance against Maryland last week. Smith linked up with his favorite target Tavon Austin on three touchdown strikes and finished the contest with 338 passing yards.

For the season, Smith has 12 touchdowns with no interceptions and a 81% completion percentage. The undefeated Mountaineers head into Big 12 conference play this week against undefeated Baylor. Expect Smith to lead his team and build up his Heisman resume.

2. De’Anthony Thomas RB Oregon

Despite not scoring a touchdown for the first time this season against Arizona, Ducks running back De’Anthony Thomas remains the most thrilling playmaker in the nation and a serious force in the race for the Heisman.

Thomas has rushed for 276 yards and four touchdowns on 25 carries while adding 13 receptions for 165 yards and three touchdowns. With Oregon in the thick of the national title hunt and many big games left on the schedule, Thomas will have his opportunity to make his case.

3. Marqise Lee WR USC

Explosive USC wide receiver Marqise Lee had another productive performance against Cal last week with 11 catches for 94 yards and two touchdowns. Lee continues to be Matt Barkley’s favorite target and remains a handful for opposing defenses to contain.

Lee currently leads the nation in receptions with 40 and is second in receiving yards with 457, including six touchdowns. Expect Lee to remain a Heisman contender if he continues to produce and the Trojans remain in the title hunt.

4. AJ McCarron QB Alabama

Fresh off leading the Alabama Crimson Tide to the 2011 national title, junior quarterback AJ McCarron appears poised to lead the Tide to another historic season.

McCarron has thrown 10 touchdowns and no interceptions thus far and should gain support from his team’s success. If AJ continues to play at such a high level and Alabama runs the table, McCarron will earn a trip to New York as a Heisman finalist.

5. EJ Manuel QB Florida State

After his outstanding performance against Clemson, Florida State senior quarterback EJ Manuel has established himself as a legitimate Heiman candidate. Manuel lit up Clemson for 380 passing yards and two touchdowns while adding 102 yards on the ground..

With the Seminoles undefeated and highly ranked, Manuel’s stock should continue to rise.

Here's Todd McShay's Heisman Top 5 on ESPN