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Pick Six: Players worthy of Heisman consideration

By Ralph D. Russo

Associated Press

Published: Tuesday, Nov. 30 2010 12:52 p.m. MST

It seems the only thing standing in the way of Auburn quarterback Cam Newton winning the Heisman Trophy is an NCAA investigation.

Newton's an easy pick, so long as allegations that his father was looking for money for his son's commitment out of junior college don't derail his Heisman candidacy.

Other likely finalists include Oregon running back LaMichael James, Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore and Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck.

And here are six more players who have had Heisman-worthy seasons, but because of lack of hype or the positions they play, shouldn't expect invitations for the award ceremony on Dec. 11.

Don't feel too bad for these guys. The NFL scouts know how good they are.

JUSTIN BLACKMON, WR, Oklahoma State. The 205-pound sophomore missed a game due to a suspension and still leads the nation with 1,665 yards receiving and 20 touchdowns and is second in catches with 102. Cowboys fans wondered what they would do without Dez Bryant this season, but Blackmon has done a fine imitation of that first-round NFL draft pick.

RYAN BROYLES, WR, Oklahoma. He's not even the best receiver in the conference but it'd be hard to find another one better than Broyles. He leads the nation in catches with 115 for 1,391 yards. On a team that has had some inconsistent play by its quarterback and an up-and-down running game, Broyles has been the Sooners' Mr. Reliable.

GABE CARIMI, OT, Wisconsin. Watch the Badgers steamroll opponents and you'll notice their running backs often go 5 or 10 yards without being touched. They can credit the best offensive line in the country for that, and the 6-foot-7, 325-pound Carimi is its most talented player. He's a finalist for the Outland Trophy.

COLIN KAEPERNICK, QB, Nevada. After Friday night's upset of Boise State, a lot more people know about the Wolf Pack's gangly dual-threat QB. Directing Nevada's pistol offense, Kaepernick has run for 1,029 yards, passed for 2,671 yards and accounted for 37 touchdowns (17 rushing, 20 passing). For comparison, Newton has 3,590 yards of total offense and accounted for 43 touchdowns.

RYAN KERRIGAN, DE, Purdue. Bad team, great player. The 265-pound Kerrigan is a nonstop pass rusher who has been wrecking offenses all season. He has 12½ sacks, second in the nation, leads the nation in tackles for loss with 26 and is second in fumbles forced with five. All that while facing plenty of double-teams.

PATRICK PETERSON, CB, LSU. Most opponents avoid challenging the Tigers' shutdown corner. But when he does get the ball in his hands, he's hard to catch. He has four interceptions and has averaged 25 yards per return. On special teams, he's averaged 16.8 yards per punt return with two touchdowns and 29 yards per kick return.

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