The race for college football’s most prestigious individual trophy starts a lot earlier in the minds of the media than it doesn’t in the actual student-athletes competing in the most popular team sport in college athletics. Most athletes don’t make winning the Heisman a goal, as much as they do the winning their conference or a National Championship. Furthermore, many athletes acknowledge that the driving force behind the Heisman winner is predominantly based on statistics, while crediting their own personal accumulated stats to the efforts of their teammates as much as they credit their own ability. QBs and RBs need a good line, and good WRs to take the pressure off. None of this will stop us from speculating, however, and that’s really the fun of it. Even though some players are sure to shift in and out of the conversation with every passing week, right now it’s pretty clear it’s a four-man race.
DeShaun Watson – QB Clemon Tigers
The 6’2 210 lb Junior from Georgia is primed for another record breaking season which will undoubtedly include a playoff run. In terms of the Heisman race, the schedule plays out nicely for Watson, who gets a chance to feast on the bottom feeders of the ACC while also being surrounded by playmakers at every level of the offense. Watson looks to improve on an incredible 47 TDs which includes 12 rushing as well as over 5200 total yards. Watson is a playmaker in the truest sense and wants the ball in big spots. Watson’s presence was felt in every game, and he didn’t shrink in a single game last season. If healthy Watson should be in it until the end.
Baker Mayfield – QB Oklahoma Sooners
Mayfield is right there with Watson statistically accounting for 43 TDs while totalling 4100 total yards. Mayfield is a pure pocket passer that makes decisions better than any QB in the country. He has a great cast of playmakers around him and his seven interceptions show that he can protect the ball, putting his team in the best position to win every week. Oklahoma doesn’t have the defense, or the schedule Clemson has so Mayfield’s stats will likely be graded on a curve by the voters. Either way, you can bet that if Mayfield gets his team to the playoff, that he’ll be getting a trip to New York City.
Leonard Fournette – RB LSU
The Louisiana home state hero looks to build on the momentum from last season, with the hopes of producing an output that will have both NFL scouts and Heisman voters on alert. Fournette rushed for almost 2000 yards last season with 23 total touchdowns averaging 6.5 yards per carry. Fournette needs to get better in the passing game, and he’ll need to show up in big games as well. Failure to do so may result in the Nation’s top RB not even getting an invite. Fournette still has a perfect RB body, so even a slight improvement on last year’s video game numbers should put him in the top three.
Christian McCaffery – RB Stanford
It will be interesting to see if the coaching upon realizing that Stanford has no shot at winning their conference will just start feeding McCaffery the ball. McCaffery had over 2000 yards on the ground last season as a freshmen, and also led all Cardinal receivers in yardage and receptions while catching 5 TDs. His 8 TDs on the ground leave a little more to be desired this season, but don’t forget Remound Wright had a whopping 13 TDs and only 240 yards rushing – that is the epitome of being a touchdown vulture. McCaffery is great in the return game as well, and should have an interesting year, to say the least. It was quite an impressive season for a first year player on an average team, any improvement on last year’s numbers should result in a trip to NYC.