Updated College Football Heisman Watch
We’re three weeks into the college football season and we’ve already seen a whole bunch of surprises in the fight for the prized Heisman trophy. Some of the big preseason favorites like Dalvin Cook and Baker Mayfield aren’t really living up to expectations.
Meanwhile, previously-unknown players are coming out of nowhere to make their mark on the college scene. With certain patterns beginning to emerge, this is a great time to take a look at some of the top candidates currently in the running for one of college football’s hottest prizes.
10. Tommy Armstrong Jr, QB, Nebraska
The Huskers have had a fine season so far, going completely undefeated and enjoying a fine victory over Oregon last week. Many players on the roster have contributed to that success, but none of them have had the same level of impact as Tommy Armstrong Jr. The young signal caller has managed to create 8 TDs in his last two games and has demonstrated a remarkable commitment to his team.
9. Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
Dalvin Cook went into the season as one of the top-rated candidates for the Heisman trophy, but things aren’t looking too good after the first few weeks. His Seminole squad has been poor and Cook will be hoping for a big change in fortunes if he’s to have any chance of getting his Heisman charge back on track. The RB himself hasn’t played badly, but the Seminole offensive line has been far too weak and opportunities have been limited for the squad’s backs and receivers. Clearly, Dalvin Cook has some big games ahead of him.
8. DeShone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame
In a similar fashion to Cook, Kizer has played well and would have hoped to have won a few games by now, but his team’s current record sits at a mediocre 1-2. The team’s defense has been very poor and the race for a playoff place could already be lost. We can’t blame Kizer for any of this though. He managed to get four TDs in the game against Michigan State but still didn’t have enough quality around him to seal the victory.
7. Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
Fournette also missed a game and bounced back in style. Against Mississippi State, he got a pair of touchdowns and 147 yards from 28 carries, and he looked good doing it. Fournette is one of those backs that seems destined for a great career in the NFL. He darts and dodges through streams of defenders and always seems to choose the right option. He’s also got a chance to develop a strong connection with QB Danny Etling and could be set for an excellent season.
6. Greg Ward Jr., QB, Houston
Ward suffered a shoulder injury in Week 2 but showed courage to get back on the field and help out his team as quickly as possible. He played a fine game against Cincinnati with 3 TDs and 399 yards. However, he also showed off a few flaws in his game and will need to improve if he’s to become a real top contender for the individual award. Fans will be hoping that Ward can fully recover from that injury and start playing at maximum capacity.
5. Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
College football followers know what Deshaun Watson can do. He already showed off his skills last season and seems eager to keep on improving in 2016. So far, he’s been his usual self, hitting most of his targets and creating a good number of scores. With two big games against Louisville and Georgia Tech coming up, Watson will face his first real tests and it’ll be interesting to see how his stats are looking in a couple of weeks’ time.
4. Jabrill Peppers, LB, Michigan
It took him a little while, but Peppers has got his first score and is starting to gain a bit of momentum in his push for the Heisman trophy. His 54-yard punt in a win against Colorado was particularly impressive and he showed off his wide range of abilities with over 200 yards and 9 tackles. He’s a versatile, all-round player who can bring a lot to this Michigan squad. Peppers has potential. The only question is whether or not he can fulfill it.
3. J.T. Barrett, QB, Ohio State
Barrett is quite simply an excellent young quarterback. He’s the leader of his team and he controls games well. Fans expected the Ohio State squad to struggle against Oklahoma, but Barrett made sure that his team came out on top. He threw for four scores and has, very impressively, only thrown for a single interception so far this season. As the young players around him start to develop, things will only get better for Barrett.
2. Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
McCaffrey sure likes playing against the Trojans. Yet again, he completely dominated this matchup and finished up with 200 yards, with a rushing touchdown and a passing score to boot. He hasn’t been the best QB in the college leagues so far this season (that title goes to Lamar Jackson), but he has outperformed many of the other Heisman trophy favorites like Dalvin Cook and Deshaun Watson.
1. Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
It would almost be an understatement to say that Lamar Jackson is on fire right now. Some critics had their doubts about his ability and potential of winning the Heisman trophy before the season began, but at the moment he looks to be the clear frontrunner. In his latest game against Florida State, Jackson managed to rush for four TDs and throw for another. He obliterated the opposition and looked like a true star of the future. People may have had their doubts about this young man, but right now he needs to be classed as a true contender.