Top 5 Heisman Candidates
The Heisman trophy is one of the most coveted awards in college football. Awarded to the player with the most impressive season, the winner is voted on by a committee of 870 voters. The three or four finalists attend a ceremony broadcasted by ESPN. In the past, most Heisman winners have gone on to have impressive NFL careers, unless your last name is Manziel.
For the 2017–2018 Football season, there are many athletes that I feel could win, but there are also some I feel were left off of the list. I am going to give you my top 5 and a few players I feel deserve to be in the conversation.
1. Saquon Barkley, Running Back, Penn State
We’ve all heard his name. The stud running back from Penn State is the front runner in the Heisman race going into week 9. On the season, he has racked up 757 rushing yards and 8 touchdowns. He is built like a tank, but can pick up speed and out run you when in space. Currently, he’s the biggest backfield threat in college football. There’s a reason Barkley was the front runner before the season even started.
2. Bryce Love, Running Back, Stanford
Love has come into the Heisman picture after having a very impressive past few games. It is crazy to see the talent this guy has. Stanford went from one superstar running back (McCaffrey) to another, a seamlessly easy transition. Love has 1,387 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns on the season so far. This is pretty insane considering last season he backed up McCaffrey. Clearly he was putting in work in the off season to ensure he was ready for the starting role.
3. Baker Mayfield, Quarterback, Oklahoma
Mayfield has been in the Heisman conversation before, as he was one of the finalists last year along with Dede Westbrook, Deshaun Watson, and Lamar Jackson. If Baker was in any other line up, he would have won. It is hard to compete with all that talent and still expect to win. Baker was favored highly for the award this year, with stats as impressive as 2,347 total yards and 19 touchdowns so far. However, his team under-performing has hurt him in the rankings. Mayfield lead Oklahoma to a win over Ohio State, where he planted the Oklahoma flag into the Ohio State logo. Badass move if you ask me. The season progressed and Baker got a little too cocky. After telling a Baylor player to call him daddy, Oklahoma barely won. The following week Iowa State beats them and a Iowa State player yelled, “Who’s your daddy now!” The team then planted THEIR flag into the Oklahoma logo. Karma definitely caught up to Mayfield. Now I personally am a fan of Mayfield, but he had his own insult flipped on him and that definitely hurt his confidence. He’s going to need to ball out these next few games in order to re-establish who daddy really is.
4. Josh Adams, Running Back, Notre Dame
Notre Dame, tied with the most Heisman trophy winners with Ohio State, has produced yet another contender. After a strong start by the Fighting Irish, Adams has slowly climbed into the Heisman conversation. He has had a stretch of very impressive games and has shown his potential to contend for the trophy. With 967 yards and 8 touchdowns, Adams has had an impressive season thus far and will be a top contender for this award.
5. Lamar Jackson, Quarterback, Louisville
Lamar Jackson. A household name by this point. Winner of the 2016 Heisman trophy, Jackson has had an impressive season thus far, passing for 2,478 yards and 17 touchdowns. Despite those numbers, Louisville still continued to struggle and fell out of the rankings slowly but surely. After being blown out by Clemson, it was hard for them to come back with that same spark and energy they had the season before. On top of his impressive passing stats, he has rushed for 868 yards and 11 touchdowns. He is easily one of the top dual threat quarterbacks in the nation. Now whether you love or hate him, you have to respect his talent and his qualifications for the trophy.
So there is my top 5. You may have a different feeling about each candidate, but that is my two cents on them. Now, here are two athletes I feel were left out of the list and deserve some spotlight. Not top 5 for sure, but they should at least be on the list somewhere.
1. Kenny Hill, Quarterback, TCU
Kenny Hill has been a stud for TCU. He lead them to the number 4 ranking in the country with impressive wins over West Virginia and Oklahoma State. He has thrown for 1,728 yards and 15 touchdowns. He reminds me of Jabril Peppers with how insanely athletic he is. So far, he has played quarterback, receiver, defense, and even punted a football for 32 yards in a game. I don’t know how Hill hasn’t been in the conversation before, but Will Grier has. Yes, Grier is a good quarterback, but shouldn’t the quarterback who beat him this season be ahead of him? Maybe I’m just crazy for thinking that.
2. Riley Ferguson, Quarterback, Memphis
This pick might shock a lot of people. Ferguson has lead the Memphis Tigers to a 6–1 record and a top 25 ranking. He has lead them to impressive wins over UCLA and Navy, both ranked at the time while Memphis was unranked. He has passed for 2,285 yards and 20 touchdowns. Should he be in the top 5? No, not yet at least. Should he be on the list? Yes, he is far more consistent than the Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate, who is at the bottom of the list. Yes, he had a few breakout games, but other than beating unranked UCLA, he has not had any impressive wins. Ferguson should at least be in the conversation at his point.
And those are my top 5 candidates and people who I feel got shafted by the committee. Only time will tell who stayed in the top 5 and who is going to drop as the season progresses.