ASHBURN, Va. (CBSDC) — While firmly focused on playing on Sunday, Robert Griffin III is still keeping a close eye on the Saturday afternoon NCAA pulse.
His passion for the sport will pay dividends as last year’s Heisman Trophy winner will be able to vote on this year’s ballot.
Entering the season, USC quarterback Matt Barkley was the projected frontrunner, but a lackluster Trojan season and an injury have taken his name out of the race. West Virginia’s Geno Smith made an early statement to get in the running, but has since fallen back in the pack.
Washington Redskins defensive end Adam Carriker welcomed Griffin onto his radio show, 4th & Pain, to talk about the Heisman among a host of other Redskins and football discussions.
Related: Carriker Cautiously Optimistic About Redskins Playoff Chances
“It’s tough this year with the amount of losses that have been at the top,” Griffin said of the voting prospects. “And then some of the best players being on some of the teams with four and five losses.”
So who does he feel are the top current Heisman hopefuls?
“Definitely, right now, even though they lost Collin Klein has to be in that picture… Manti Te’o from Notre Dame,” Griffin said. “After that it’s up in the air. Kanjon Barner was playing very well early in the year and as of late he hasn’t had the monster numbers like before. After those two you don’t know who to vote for.”
Michigan’s Charles Woodson is the only primarily defensive player to have been awarded the trophy, leaving an uphill climb for Te’o. And while history may not be on his side, the Irish linebacker cannot be written off.
Asked whether he’d feel comfortable voting for a linebacker, Griffin said he wouldn’t be opposed to the idea.
“I’ve never felt like the Heisman was the best player on the nation’s top team type of award,” he explained. “But, he’s an exceptional talent and Notre Dame is number one right now. I wouldn’t feel uncomfortable doing it. It’s just a matter of these two weeks of college football are going to be big, I think, for all Heisman voters to see who emerges on top.”