STILLWATER â€” Justin Blackmon already has his two signature Heisman plays.
The Oklahoma State receiver's touchdown catches against Texas cornerback Aaron Williams and Nebraska cornerback Prince Amukamara â€” both preseason All-Big 12 defenders â€” showed the one-on-one dominance that has become Blackmon's trademark in 2010.
The sophomore is averaging 9.33 receptions and 158.89 yards per game as he has recorded 84 catches for 1,430 yards and 16 touchdowns.
â€œIt's pretty amazing what he's done per game,â€ coach Mike Gundy said.
Simply put, he has been as dominant as a receiver can be. Yet, he doesn't rank among the top three candidates in the Heisman race.
Does being a receiver eliminate you from the Heisman race before the season even begins in the current college football landscape?
â€œWideouts don't get much notice in that race,â€ Gundy said. â€œIt's difficult for a wideout to win it.â€
A receiver has not won the Heisman since Michigan's Desmond Howard in 1991. And Tim Brown is the only other receiver to win the award since 1949. Both players were receivers and kick returners.
â€œWith the Heisman, you're talking the best player in the country, it's pretty prestigious,â€ offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen said. â€œBut all I can say is this: Every time he's on the field, he's the best player.â€
Auburn quarterback Cameron Newton â€” the unquestioned Heisman favorite â€” could be taken out of contention by the firestorm surrounding his recruitment. If that happens, there's no better candidate than Blackmon.
Some voters may hold the Cowboy receiver's October arrest against him, but Newton and Oregon's LaMichael James â€” generally considered the top two candidates â€” have each had previous brushes with the law.
The Kansas State game is a glimpse at Blackmon's impact on the Cowboy offense. With the Plainview graduate serving a one-game suspension, OSU's offense had 511 total yards but 24 points as they struggled to finish drives.
With Blackmon on the field, and drawing double coverage, it means more running lanes for Kendall Hunter and more one-on-one opportunities for OSU's other receivers. OSU has averaged 47.3 points per game in the nine games Blackmon has played.
â€œHe's such an impact player,â€ quarterback Brandon Weeden said. â€œHe makes our offense better; he can change games. If you talk about the Heisman, you're talking about the best player in the country. And I think Justin Blackmon is the best player in the country.â€
THE TOP CANDIDATES FOR THE HEISMAN
Auburn quarterback Cameron Newton: The unquestioned leader in the Heisman race. Only off-the-field concerns keeps him from the award.
Oregon running back LaMichael James: Is having a great year but had a season-low 91 rushing yards (3.1 yards per carry) against Cal.
Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore: Great numbers but the level of competition question will come into play.
Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck: Has been stellar and deserves as much consideration as anyone on this list.
Oklahoma State receiver Justin Blackmon: His numbers and consistency are second to none.