After a great 2011 college football season, several of the game's top players return to school in 2012.
Many of last preseason's Heisman favorites and dark horses are among those who are returning to give it another go in 2012.
Here are the top five favorites to take home the 2012 Heisman Trophy.
5. Montee Ball
Wisconsin runningback Montee Ball took the Big Ten by storm in 2011.
Ball rushed for 1,923 yards and 33 touchdowns while leading the Badgers to the Big Ten title.
Ball won't be sneaking up on any defenses in 2012. However, he has enough talent to put up similar numbers this year and earn another trip to New York for the Heisman ceremony.
4. Landry Jones
Last preseason, Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones was one of the favorites to win the Heisman after a strong 2010 campaign.
However, Jones' numbers took a hit in 2011. His passing yards, touchdowns, and passer rating all went down while his interceptions went up.
That being said, Jones is a remarkable talent on one of the best teams in the nation year in and year out. He has the skill to bounce back in 2012 and surpass his 2010 numbers, which would almost assuredly put him near the top of the Heisman shortlist.
LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu is the lone defensive player on the list. However, like former Heisman winner Charles Woodson, he does much more for his team than just play cornerback.
The Honey Badger is one of the best return men in college football, electrifying the crowd with dazzling returns, like his punt return he took to the house in the SEC Championship Game against Georgia.
That's not to say he isn't one of the best corners in the nation, though. Mathieu forced five fumbles and picked off two passes in 2011.
With more highlight reel returns and big plays on defense, the Honey Badger should be a Heisman finalist for the second straight season.
2. Denard Robinson
Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson has gotten off to a fast start each of the past two seasons, and has been an early Heisman candidate after big wins versus Notre Dame in both 2010 and 2011.
However, Robinson has seen his Heisman chances dwindle in those two seasons despite throwing for at least 2,000 yards and rushing for 1,000 yards.
The 2012 season should be a different story. The Wolverines will be improved from their Sugar Bowl winning team from 2011 and are one of the favorites to win the Big Ten.
Robinson is one of the most exciting players in the game, and as long as the Wolverines stay nationally relevant, he will get invited to New York in December for the Heisman ceremony.
1. Matt Barkley
After passing up the chance at being a top ten pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, Matt Barkley returns to Los Angeles to lead the USC Trojans for one more season.
Barkley had a stellar year in 2011, throwing for 3,528 yards with 39 touchdowns and only 7 interceptions. Also, the Trojans should be one of the best teams in the nation next season, which will only help Barkley's Heisman candidacy.
Barkley should improve upon his 2011 numbers and has to be considered the favorite to win the Heisman heading into the 2012 season.
Joey Hnath is a student at the University of Georgia and a diehard Bulldogs fan. He has been covering college football since 2011.