As we come to the final stages of the season, the Heisman race has remained close and will now come down to the final games of the season. While last season the conference games did not seem to factor into the Heisman decision, otherwise McCaffrey would have won the trophy. However, in a world that has a team in the playoff without going to a conference championship game, I hesitate to keep anything off the table. So this is the final Heisman look. It will be as extensive as possible so that anyone who has a shot will be represented here.
While Lamar Jackson seems to have a choke hold on this trophy behind his 51 total touchdowns, Deshaun Watson has over 3,000 passing yards with 38 total touchdowns and Patrick Mahomes II has thrown for a nation leading 5,052 yards along with 41 touchdowns. All these quarterbacks have been impressive and Jackson’s dip in performance to close out the season has left the door open for another contender.
Running Backs -
The problem for all these really good running backs is that none will play in the playoffs or in a conference championship, or might not even play in a significant bowl game. While they are all studs they are on teams that, for the most part, have been off the radar for most of the season. There are three Heisman worthy contenders coming out of the backfield: D’Onta Foreman, Dalvin Cook, Donnel Pumphrey and Christian McCaffrey. Foreman leads the country in rushing with 2,028 yards. Pumphrey is hot on his heels with 1,908 yards. Cook leads the group with 19 total touchdowns. McCaffrey has 2,327 total yards. All these players are keys on their respective teams and have had great seasons despite the rosters around them not always coming through in big moments. These guys are long shots but still deserve to be mentioned.
This group usually has as good of a shot as defensive players and there is really only one name to put here - Dede Westbrook. Let us be honest, none of you know who leads the country in receiving yards and receptions. It is Zay Jones out of Eastern Carolina with 1,746 yards and 158 receptions. But that is not the only reason Westbrook should be in the running. While he is back at the 7th spot in yards (1,354) he has 15 touchdowns and averages 19.8 yards a catch. He is one of the most explosive deep threats in college and even though he is a major dark horse, he still makes the list.
Defensive Players -
This list has only two players after Myles Garrett unfortunately spent a lot of time sidelined with injury. That leaves the top two contenders as Jabrill Peppers and Jonathan Allen. Jabrill has a mountain of stats, so I will give you the highlight stats that will make the difference in his chances of winning the trophy. He has scored four total touchdowns, forced two turnovers, 15 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks. While he has so many more stats, like 71 total tackles, the point is this guy plays everywhere on both sides on the ball and makes a difference when he is doing it. He has been my favorite Heisman pick since choosing him as a dark horse in August. Allen has a chance because he is the best player on the best defense, on the best team: Alabama. He has scored two touchdowns, 11.5 tackles for loss, seven sacks and 13 quarterback hurries. When watching film the stats are more impressive because he is double teamed most of the downs he is on the field. While Peppers has the better shot, Allen needed to be mentioned.
Final prediction on who is invited - Lamar Jackson, Jabrill Peppers and Patrick Mahomes II.