Who are the signature players so far this college football season? Who belongs front and center in the Heisman chase? It’s the weekly Race to the Heisman, ranking the current five top candidates.
The race is over, barring a total collapse, and now the fight is for the No. 2 spot and who’ll fill out the rest of the dance card.
If the season ended right now, the Heisman top five would be …
Post-Week 9 Race For The Heisman Rankings
1. QB Lamar Jackson, Louisville, Soph.
It’s over. Not only are the statistics mind-boggling – throwing for 2,522 yards and 22 touchdowns with five scores, while running for 998 yards and 16 touchdowns – but now he’s coming through in the clutch. He’s had a flair for the dramatic all season long, but the Virginia game was something special, pulling the team out of the fire with touchdown pass in the final seconds.
2. RB Leonard Fournette, LSU, Jr.
Call this a market projection. Fournette could easily be No. 1A in the Heisman hunt with a blowup performance in a win over Alabama next week, or it all could hit a brick wall with the Crimson Tide getting two weeks to focus on stopping No. 7. The 284-yard, three score day against Ole Miss – averaging 17.75 yards per carry – set the tone. Now everyone will be watching.
3. LB/S/PR Jabrill Peppers, Michigan, Jr.
He’s the signature guy on the No. 2 team in college football. He might be the most dynamic defender on the field, but he’s a very good part of a bigger picture. He always brings the flash, making seven tackles with a sack, five carries for 24 yards and a score, and with a scoop-and-score two point play to seal the game after a late Michigan State touchdown.
4. QB Deshaun Watson, Clemson, Jr.
He continues to suffer from not being Lamar Jackson, but he’s got the better record, the better team, and the chance to take his team back to the College Football Playoff. The Tiger defensive line, and FSU RB Dalvin Cook, grabbed the spotlight on Saturday night, but Watson was special, throwing for 378 yards and two touchdowns for the second straight week.
5. QB Jalen Hurts, Alabama, Fr.
It’s all about the final month. He’s been just sensational enough and just cool and calm enough in key moments to be like an MVP of the season. Now he’ll get plenty of chances to shine on two big stages with LSU up next and with Auburn to close. He might not be able to do enough to win it, but he might be able to get to New York.
In the green room waiting for a call
QB Jake Browning, Washington, Soph.; RB Dalvin Cook, Florida State, Jr.; QB Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma, Sr.; RB Donnel Pumphrey, San Diego State