Who are the current leaders in the race for the 2017 Heisman Trophy, and who should be in the hunt, but aren’t?
Top Heisman Contenders After Week 12 Are …
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Crotch grab aside – and outside of those few voters who want to make it all about themselves and pick someone other than Baker Mayfield – this things is done. Mayfield will win, then Bryce Love, Saquon Barkley, Lamar Jackson, Jalen Hurts and Jonathan Taylor will get votes in some way, shape or form depending on what happen over the final few games.
So here are five college football players who, in an alternative universe, would be front-and-center in the chase.
5. DE Sutton Smith, Northern Illinois
The 6-0, 225-pound hybrid linebacker/defensive end is hardly the NFL prototype edge rusher, but he’s been a dominant force in a resurgent season for the Huskies.
The nation’s leader in sacks and tackles for loss, he’s come up with 53 tackles with 13 sacks and 27.5 tackles for loss. Only four players in college football have more than 19 TFLs.
Steady throughout the season, he dominated against Western Michigan last week with 2.5 sacks and 5.5 tackles for loss in the win. But it’s not just his play against the MAC, cranking up five tackles for loss with a. sack against Boston College.
4. QB John Wolford, Wake Forest
It’s Wake Forest. It might have lost to Georgia Tech and Florida State, but it’s going bowling, and the Yellow Jackets and Noles aren’t.
Wolford has a lot to do with that.
The 6-1, 200-pounder missed the Clemson game hurt, but on the year he’s hitting 65% of his passes with 23 touchdown passes and just four picks, hitting Notre Dame for 331 yards and Syracuse for 363. Throw in the 567 rushing yards and ten scores – three against the Orange – and a great case could be made that he’s the Second-Team All-ACC quarterback behind Mr. Jackson.
3. RB Devin Singletary, Florida Atlantic
Ohio QB Nathan Rourke has 19 rushing touchdowns. No one else has more than 17, except for Florida Atlantic’s star.
Singletary is carrying the Lane Kiffin attack to a likely Conference USA championship, running for 100 yards or more in every game since starting out slowly against Navy and Wisconsin, running for a nation-high 24 touchdowns with 1,542 yards.
2. QB McKenzie Milton, UCF
Baker Mayfield without being Baker Mayfield, Milton is hitting almost 70% of his passes for a ridiculous 10.6 yards per throw – only Mayfield and Toledo’s Logan Woodside are averaging more than ten yards per pop – with 26 touchdown passes and just five interceptions.
Throw in the 373 yards and five rushing scores – with one in each of the last five games – and he’s the leader and the star of the perfect start.
His team is unbeaten. Baker’s isn’t.
1. RB Rashaad Penny, San Diego State
The nation’s leader in all-purpose yards isn’t just destroying Saquon Barkley and Bryce Love, he’s doing it at a historic level.
Barkley is averaging 188 total yards per game. Love is averaging 176. Penny? 223.8 yards per game.
And he led San Diego State to a win over Love’s Stanford team, too.
He cranked up the rushing production with 222 yards or more with seven scores in each of his last three games. At 1,824 yards, he’s a mortal lock to finish hitting the 2,000-mark.
While he’s okay as a receiver with 18 catches for 142 yards and two scores, he’s an elite kickoff returner averaging 30.4 yards per try with two scores including one against Nevada last week.
Against the Wolf Pack he returned a punt for the first time all year – and took it for a touchdown.