And here we are again! College football is upon us, bringing the annual question: who is going to win the prestigious Heisman Trophy? Here are the top candidates for 2016:
Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA, Soph.
It isn’t clear that Rosen can reproduce last year’s stellar freshman performance (3,669 yards/23 touchdowns) given the loss of several offensive weapons. But another year of experience ought to help.
Seth Russell, QB, Baylor
The Senior star returns to a shaken program, and he’s recovering from a broken bone in his neck. But the talent (29 touchdowns in 7 games) is undeniable.
Nick Chubb, RB, Georgia
On sheer talent, Chubb has to be considered if he stays healthy. 1,547 yards and an 8.1 yards per carry as a freshman season, the only issue is whether the junior can fully recover from a severe knee injury.
Royce Freeman, RB, Oregon
Freeman doesn’t get Fournette-level press, but 1,838 rushing yards (a Ducks record) and 17 rushing TDs might change that if the junior can replicate it.
J.T. Barrett, QB, Ohio State
The Buckeyes don’t look to be starting this year with a QB controversy. Before he got hurt against Michigan, Barrett was the definition of an impact player, accounting for 45 TDs. A return to form could mean a Heisman nod.
Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
Cook missed two games after pulling a hamstring, but still wound up with 1691 yards rushing. If he can just say healthy, who knows?
Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU, Jr.
Fournette’s 1931 rushing belies the fact he actually had a couple of genuinely bad days. It’s a pity one of them of them came in the biggest game of the season, against Alabama.
Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
Mayfield has all the physical skills, such as the cannon arm he displayed while lighting teams up to the tune of 3,700 yards passing. He’s also tough and mobile, rushing for 405 yards and 7 TDs.
Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
After setting the NCAA total yards last year, McCaffrey finally stepped out of his more famous father’s shadow. Can he step all the way up to the NY Athletic Club to collect a Heisman?
Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson, Jr.
The consensus preseason favorite to pick up the hardware at the end of 2016, Watson torched college football last year: 4,109 yards, 35 touchdown passes against 13 interceptions. Can he run? 1,105 rushing yards and 12 ground scores last season.