There are hundreds of these written after the first week of college football, predicting who is going to take home the Heisman after only a week of play, then forgetting about some of the outrageous picks later. I won’t talk about Lamar Jackson’s eight touchdowns for Louisville after he played Charlotte. I’m also not going to rave about Kenny Hill’s five touchdowns for TCU while slipping past South Dakota. I’m looking for real contenders who are in positions to make a run at the trophy.
Leonard Fournette showed that he still has that amazing speed and shiftiness on his way to 138 yards rushing and 38 receiving yards. However, there was plenty of meat left on the bones as far as yards are concerned, unfortunately his line was not there for him. The problem with Fournette isn’t Fournette at all, but the offense around him. The offensive line did not give him a lot of opportunity to get out of the backfield and forced him on close to every carry to fight for the fewest of yards. Quarterback Brandon Harris is not helping his running back either, as his poor play has been a big factor in Fournette seeing a lot of loaded boxes with safeties cheating down.
Christian McCaffrey also shows up on this list for most of the reasons that Fournette does. Poor offensive line play plagued Stanford most of the night, and while Burns is a good quarterback uninspiring play calling after the first quarter saw McCaffrey catching hitches instead of wheel routes and screens designed to get him in space. Even with all these set backs he still had 210 all purpose yards with a pair of touchdowns.
The numbers these players had were not terrible, but there was so much more to be had. This was made apparent by what they did do when actually given help. This is not the end for either of these guys, just first game problems that can be fixed for them to continue to produce like last season.
In his first game since knee injury Nick Chubb came back with a vengeance, carrying the ball 32 times for 222 yards and two touchdowns against a stout North Carolina defense. Coming into the season he was an outside candidate, but his rolling over UNC showed that he will lead Georgia to be a contender.
Gerg Ward Jr. always had the legs under him to make plays, but in the game against Oklahoma he showed how much he has worked on his arm in the offseason. Ward diced up the Sooners defense for 321 passing yards and two touchdowns in the victory. Between actual competition like Cincinnati and Louisville there are a lot of weak teams to pad his stats. Look for him to have a monster season.
Joe Mixon is a bit of a dark horse candidate but hear me out. He was by far the most explosive player for the Sooners with a 32 yard touchdown run and a 60 yard reception. Any time he has the chance to get on the edge in space, he has big play potential. He ended the day with a combined 117 yards as the Sooners abandoned the run later in the game which did hurt his production. However, with his duel threat ability and speed there is no doubt he will be making plays all season. This team also lost its most eclectic player on the outside last season with the departure of Sterling Shepard which will only help give Mixon more touches throughout the season.