2016 Heisman Trophy Finalists: Who’ll Win? How Will They Finish?
The 2016 Heisman Trophy finalists are announced: Lamar Jackson, Baker Mayfield, Jabrill Peppers, Deshaun Watson and Dede Westbrook will all be up for the honor. Who’s going to win? How will they finish?
The Heisman Trophy Finalists
QB Lamar Jackson, Louisville, Soph.
Why He’ll Win: The most electrifying player in college football, he was the star at the start of the season and he never stopped producing. He set the tone in the blowout win over Florida State, and even in defeat against Clemson and Kentucky – save for a few turnovers – he was still brilliant. The stats are too eye-popping to ignore completing 58% of his passes for 3,390 yards and 30 touchdowns with nine picks, and cranking out 1,538 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns.
Why He Won’t Win: Is Louisville in the College Football Playoff? No. Did Louisville win the ACC Championship? No. Did Louisville win the Atlantic? Nope. A case could be made that while the stats are great, a quarterback’s proof is in the pudding – or the playoff. It wasn’t his fault, but he sputtered in the loss to Houston, and his giveaways proved costly in the loss to Kentucky.
And He’ll Finish … As your 2016 Heisman Trophy winner
QB Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma, Sr.
Why He’ll Win: Every bit as good as last year, if not better as a passer and a playmaker, he finished the regular season hitting 71% of his passes for 3,669 yards and 38 touchdowns with just eight picks. While he didn’t run as much, that’s a good thing – he got the ball to his playmakers and didn’t take as many shots. Even so, he ran for six scores after running for seven last season. Oh yeah, and he led the Sooners to a second straight Big 12 title.
Why He Won’t Win: He did what he could against Houston – he hit 73% of his throws for 323 yards and two scores – but the loss was a killer to the season. Against Ohio State, he was outplayed by J.T. Barrett in a Heisman elimination game.
And He’ll Finish … Second, in a landslide loss to Lamar Jackson
LB Jabrill Peppers, Michigan, Jr.
Why He’ll Win: He was the star player on a fantastic Michigan team, doing a little of everything on one of the nation’s top defenses. He finished with 71 tackles, averaged almost 15 yards per punt return with a score, and averaged 26 yards per kickoff return. He also came up with 15 tackles for loss and one pick, but …
Why He Won’t Win: He has one more career interception than you do. He’s more of a protest pick for those who want the defense to be involved in the Heisman, but there were plenty of other amazing players on the Wolverine D. There wasn’t a WOW moment for the Heisman – Charles Woodson had several back in 1997
And He’ll Finish … Fourth
WR Dede Westrbrook, Oklahoma, Sr.
Why He’ll Win: Unstoppable, he was the gamebreaking Oklahoma deep threat who made everything go averaging 19.8 yards per catch with 16 touchdowns on 74 catches – along with a punt return for a score. He was basically Ball Game Over whenever he made a big play, hitting the 100-yard mark against everyone in the Big 12 but Baylor – scoring twice, but …
Why He Won’t Win: He didn’t do all that much in non-conference play. He caught a fine 17 passes for 154 yards and no touchdowns in the first three games, and only blew up against the Big 12. That’ll be good enough for the Bilitnikoff, but not the Heisman.
And He’ll Finish … Fifth … by a lot
QB Deshaun Watson, Clemson, Jr.
Why He’ll Win: The Tigers won a second straight ACC championship and got back into the College Football Playoff, again. It might have been a rocky road, but Watson did what he had to do in game after game. While everyone gushed over Lamar Jackson, Watson beat him and the Cardinals, throwing for 306 yards and five scores in the key win. The stats were fantastic, hitting 68% of his passes for 3,914 yards and 37 touchdowns with 15 picks. While he might not have run as often, he preserved himself – he knew he couldn’t leave the field. Even in the loss to Pitt, he threw for 580 yards and three scores, but …
Why He Won’t Win: He threw way too many interceptions. He gave up 15 on the year, with three against Pitt and three more against Louisville. He won one, and lost the other. The consistency wasn’t quite there, and he suffered – at least in terms of national perception in terms of the Heisman – of being in the same division and same conference as Jackson.
And He’ll Finish … Third, behind Jackson and Mayfield