Heisman Hopefuls: The Top 10 Early Contenders

  • By TBelcher
  • September 6, 2017
  • 0

College Football is here and in full effect. We have seen a bit of everything this last week. From slow starts all through the top 25 to historical comebacks and upsets. With all the great team action, came some unbelievable individual performances.

Players from all over are trying to gain Heisman buzz early. And while it’s way too early to start crowning the best player to step in between the lines on Saturday, it doesn’t hurt to start taking a peek. This is my list of the Top 10 Heisman trophy candidates.

Lamar Jackson: Junior, Quarterback, Louisville: The reigning Heisman Trophy winner got off to another hot start to the season. With a lot of people questioning if he can follow up last season, he electrified the country. I know he just beat Purdue but keep in mind Jackson is working with different skill players this year. Despite adjusting to new toys, Jackson managed to carry his team to a 35-28 victory over Purdue at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Jackson completed 65% of his passes for 378 yards and two touchdowns. He also showed he is still the top dual threat quarterback in the country by running the ball 21 times for 107 yards. It doesn’t look like he’s slowing down either. Despite the great rushing performance, it was the plays he made with his arm. Jackson and the offense will have another opportunity to find their rhythm as they take on North Carolina in Chapel Hill before hosting Clemson at home the week after.

Week 1: 35-28 win vs Purdue Boilermaker

Stat Line: (30-46, 378 YDS, 2 TD, 21 CAR, 107 YDS)

Week 2: @University Of North Of Carolina


Photo courtesy of USA Today

Baker Mayfield: Senior, Quarterback, Oklahoma SoonersThe senior quarterback had the best game of the day as a signal caller, leading his team to a 56-7 win over the UTEP Miners. Mayfield stat line consist of 95% completion percentage (completing 19 out of 20 passes), 329 passing yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. Mayfield also did a good job of eluding the Miners’ pass rush, only getting sacked one time. Every time Mayfield completed a pass, it was for 16 yards or better. While he couldn’t get it going with his legs, he didn’t need to. Mayfield is clearly on a mission to win the Heisman. After coming so close before, he doesn’t want to let it slip away this year. He will have a big test in his revenge game against Ohio State. A win in Columbus with a great performance will have him at the top of the list for the award.

Week 1: 52-7 win vs UTEP Miners

Stat Line: (19-20, 329 YDS, 3 TD)

Week 2:@Ohio State



Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph (2) changes a play next to Larry Williams (56) during a college football game between the Oklahoma State Cowboys (OSU) and the Tulsa Golden Hurricane (TU) at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Okla., Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman

Mason Rudolph: Senior, Quarterback, Oklahoma State Cowboys: Rudolph made quick work of Tulsa in their August 31 match up, winning 59-24. Not only did he lead his team to a hot start, he looked good while doing it. He completed 83% of his passes for 303 yards and three touchdowns. Out of all the quarterbacks coming into this year, Rudolph is the sleeper to get invited to New York this winter. He showed great poise in the pocket avoiding the Tulsa pass rush and not taking any sacks. It was a great warm up game for the senior quarterback and this Cowboy offense. He will have another easy match up this coming Friday against South Alabama. With a relatively easy schedule this year, Mason will need to keep up the video game numbers if he wants to keep his spot.

Week 1:59-24 win vs Tulsa Golden Hurricanes

Stat Line (20-24, 303 YDS, 3 TD)

Week 2:@ University Of Southern Alabama




Saquon Barkley; Junior Running Back, Penn State Nittany Lions: The all-world running back from Penn State College is on a mission. He ran the ball 14 times for 172 yards and two trips to the end zone against Akron. He showed he can catch the ball as well with three receptions for 54 yards. Barkley has his eyes on the record books at Penn State. With the history of runners that Penn State has, Barkley will have the national media’s attention with a record setting year. Barkley is a three-down back that can take over a game. Akron was just a preview of what to expect. Quarterbacks have dominated the Heisman race the past couple years but Barkley is trying to change that. A matchup with rival Pittsburgh Panthers this week should be interesting. The Panthers had a hard time beating Youngstown University 28-21 giving up over 400 yards of total offense. Barkley will have a monster day and has to get it going early. Penn State’s head coach James Franklin will pull the starters early if they get on a roll.

Week 1: 52-0 vs Akron Zips

Stat Line: (14 CAR, 172 YDS, 2 TD, 3 REC, 54 YDS)

Week 2: vs Pittsburgh Panthers



Josh Rosen; Junior, Quarterback, UCLA Bruins: Rosen made me a believer with his second half heroics against Texas A&M. Coming back from a 44-10 deficit in the second half, Rosen put on a show. The UCLA signal caller finished the day passing for 491 yards and four touchdowns. That is Heisman worthy, especially looking at the weapons Rosen is surrounded with. This offense will go as far as Josh can take them. He has to remain healthy and avoid taking multiple big hits like he did against the Aggies. UCLA faces the University of Hawaii coming up. Rosen will have another big day through the air against the Rainbow Warrior defense. Rosen will use this game to get himself and this offense in rhythm. He will need to do so quickly before he takes on Memphis and starts conference play in two weeks.

Week 1: 45-44 vs Texas A&M Aggies

Stat Line: (35-59, 491 YDS, 4 TD)

Week 2: vs Hawaii Rainbow Warriors



Oklahoma State’s James Washington (28) makes a touchdown catch as Tulsa’s Kerwin Thomas (2) defends in the first quarter during a college football game between the Oklahoma State Cowboys (OSU) and the Tulsa Golden Hurricane (TU) at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Okla., Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman

James Washington; Senior, Wide Receiver, Oklahoma State Cowboys: Billed as one of the top play makers in the country coming into the season, James Washington was just that against Tulsa. The star receiver had a monster game catching six passes for 145 yards and two touchdowns. Washington has great speed and can break out for long gains at any moment. Washington’s longest reception went for 77 yards. That, my friends, is what you call a deep threat. Oklahoma State has had its share of star offensive players in the program’s history. Washington has the making to be one of them. Every time the combination of Rudolph and Washington connected, it was good for 24 yards a catch. Maybe this year, Oklahoma State can send two players to New York with Heisman invites. Washington should have no trouble carving up the Southern Alabama secondary this week. Expect another big day from the senior wide receiver.

Week 1: 59-24 vs Tulsa Golden Hurricanes

Stat Line: (6 receptions, 145 yards, 2 touchdowns)

Week 2: @ University Of Southern Alabama






EUGENE, OR – SEPTEMBER 02: Running back Royce Freeman #21 of the Oregon Ducks scores a touchdown in the third quarter of the game against the Southern Utah Thunderbirds at Autzen Stadium on September 2, 2017 in Eugene, Oregon. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)

Royce Freeman; Senior, Running back, Oregon Ducks: Freeman has been one of the better running backs in the country since he stepped on campus in 2014. Now entering his last year, he wants to finish as one of the best running backs in Oregon history. He got off to a really good start against Southern Utah running the ball 23 times for 150 yards and four touchdowns. Picking up 6.5 yards a carry isn’t bad either. Also, the senior caught four passes for 50 yards and his longest going for 19. Freeman accounted for 24 of Oregon’s 77 points against Southern Utah. Definitely worth some Heisman buzz this early in the season. The senior Duck will have a tougher opponent this week when Nebraska comes to Eugene. Knowing Freeman’s history in big games, expect him to show up.

Week 1: 77-21 Vs Southern Utah

Stat Line: (23 Rushes, 150 Yards, 4 Touchdowns) (4Receptionss, 50 Yards)

Week 2: Vs Nebraska Cornhuskers




A.J .Brown; Sophomore, Wide Receiver, Ole Miss Rebels: Everyone knows the troubles of the Ole Miss football team. However, the Rebels’ roster still features a ton of quality players, A.J. Brown being one of them. The sophomore receiver was nothing but electric against Southern Alabama, catching eight passes for 233 yards and two touchdowns. Yes it was against Southern Alabama but those guys are division 1 players too last time I checked. Brown will double his production from last year in no time if he keeps this up. He will have another warm up game as Ole Miss takes on the UT Martin Skyhawks this week. Brown and sophomore quarterback Shea Patterson look to have a great connection. Brown looks to be Patterson’s favorite target, and at 6-1 225, he isn’t hard to miss.

Week 1: 47-27 Vs Southern Alabama Jaguars

Stat Line: (8 REC, 233 YDS, 2 TD)

Week 2: vs UT Martin Skyhawks


Shea Patterson, Sophomore, Quarterback, Ole Miss Rebels: Patterson quietly made his bones last year coming in and finishing up the year for Ole Miss. Now he has been thrown into the fire as the starting quarterback for the Rebels amidst all the controversy. The Louisiana native looks ready to go. After completing 80% of his passes for 429 and 4 touchdowns with 0 interceptions, you can see why Ole Miss fans have something to cheer about. Patterson can quietly sneak into the Heisman race and win it. In the last seven years, three sophomore quarterbacks have won the Heisman. Patterson could be the 4th.

Week1: 47-27 Vs Southern Alabama Jaguars

Stat Line: (28-35, 429 YDS, 4 TD)

Week2: Vs UT Martin Skyhawks



Luke Falk, Senior, Quarterback, Washington State Cougars:  Falk has gotten better every year. After finally getting the recognition he deserved last year, the senior quarterback wants to pick up where he left off. Falk is doing just that as he leadlkl his team to a 31-0 win at home against Montana State. He threw for 311 yards and 3 touchdowns while completing 84% of his passes. Quarterbacks have always had success under Mike Leach. Falk is the latest, setting the school all time passing touchdown record with 92. That record won’t be broken for a while as Falk still has the rest of the season to keep piling it on. He had a really good warm up against Montana State. I am definitely looking forward to the match up he faces this week against Boise State. A season as the Pac-12 passing leader should lead to a Heisman Trophy ceremony Invite. Falk just has to continue having a great year.




Week1: 31-0 Vs Montana State Bobcats

Stat Line: (33-39, 311 YDS, 3 TD)

Week2: Vs Boise State Broncos

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