As the NCAA season begins, so does the race for its most coveted award


Flyer Heisman 8

  1. Nick Chubb, Running Back, Georgia

The world was introduced to 5’8 freshman Nick Chubb, when a video of his vertical jump went viral. They were reassured that he wasn’t going anywhere as he filled in for now, NFL star Todd Gurley, when he was carried off the field after a gruesome ACL tear. Chubb gave Bulldog nation a safe feeling when he continuously ripped SEC defenses for the rest of his freshman season. Now the world is familiar with the name, and links it back to an elite, 5’10 junior who assertively came back from a horrid knee injury himself in week one. Chubb began the season with a 222 yard, two TD performance including the 55 yard game clinching touchdown run in final minutes. He followed week one with two mediocre outings, one in a near upset where #9 ranked Georgia almost fell to FCS opponent Nicholls, Chubb racked up only 80 yards, and a touchdown. If you look at past years’ game logs, you’d recognize that’s a bad game for him.The reason he’s in this list despite a rough start is I have no doubt in my mind that if he played in every game in either of his first two seasons, he’d be top three, if not the actually owner of the trophy. If Chubb stays healthy, we could be in for history ladies and gentlemen.

  1. Leonard Fournette, Running Back, LSU

One of the biggest college prospects of all-time, Fournette has been under the microscope since his senior year in high school and it has only continued to prosper throughout his college career. Compared to greats like Adrian Peterson, Marshall Faulk, his expectations were shattered as last season he was merely unstoppable going for 1,953 yards and 22 touchdowns. He was steamrolling every defense (all but Bama of course) with incredible force. Along with fellow juniors Deshaun Watson, and Christian McCaffrey, they are heisman favorites this year after all three fell short to Alabama’s Derrick Henry last year. Fournette is as always hungry, and so far only playing three of four games due to a sore ankle, he wasn’t spectacular but really solid putting up 386 rushing yards on 51 rushes and 69 receiving yards on nine catches. Undoubtedly, I know two things for sure. One, he’s hands down the best running back in the country but for the heisman, it’s all about team success, schedule strength, combined with statistical glamour, and that’s the reason he’s number seven. Two, he’ll most definitely be a top 10 pick in the NFL Draft, depending on what team gets in there possibly a top five.

  1. Greg Ward Jr., Quarterback, Houston

There’s way too much momentum here to deny the most underrated QB in the nation, especially after last season going into to the first game this year. The Cougars finished 13-1 out of the American Athletic Conference last year, and upset one of the top teams in the nation, Florida St., in the Peach Bowl, and then went on to beat third ranked, reigning College Football Playoff berth-holders, Oklahoma Sooners in the first week. Houston is a perfect example of “having the ball rolling.” There’s one man behind center composing the sweet symphony, Ward Jr. finished with over 2,800 passing yards and over 1,100 rushing yards, so obviously there’s going to be some attention. But there’s some question about a weak conference, and frankly I don’t think it matters when you consider all of his performances against big teams the past two years, and especially the second half burst he led against Oklahoma on opening Saturday finishing with 23/40, 321 yards, 2 touchdowns and no picks. A stifled rushing attack didn’t matter. Week two however was plagued by a minor shoulder injury and week three was yet again impressive throwing for 326 yards, one touchdown, and two picks along with 73 rushing yards and two rushing TD’s. He currently has 1,325 yards, eight touchdowns, and two picks through the air. Running the ball he’s been very productive as well, with 178 yards and five touchdowns. I thought week one was a foreshadowing of things to come from former Ohio State offensive coordinator, Tom Herman and young, upcoming Ward, and I was correct.

  1. Deshaun Watson, Quarterback, Clemson

Bouncing off an incredible sophomore season, in where the number one NFL prospect had 4,104 passing yards, 1,105 rushing yards, and 47 total touchdowns, and a CFP Championship Game loss to Alabama; Watson hasn’t impressed at all in his first two games. As the logical heisman front runner in the preseason, Watson has sunk down the board in four games. He’s won two games by six points, one by 59, and the most recent by 19. He has thrown for 996 passing yards, nine touchdowns, and four picks. In a recent interview, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney has established that it isn’t Watson’s fault. Claiming his surrounding talent has not succeeded in helping last year’s Davey O’Brien Award out, saying that they’re not making plays, making errors, and drops on key plays. The always humble Watson keeps his chin up through adversity and will march through this tough start. Regardless, he’s still a Heisman trophy favorite due to and the expected number one pick come April due to his potential and raw talent.

  1. Jabrill Peppers, Weapon, Michigan

Hands down, the most versatile player the NCAA has seen in possibly decades, Peppers has almost done it all in a literal sense. Coming out of high school three years ago as the top corner in the class, Peppers soon shifted to safety and now his position is listed as linebacker, but you can just call him, “weapon.” He strives in literally every aspect of the game. On defense his impact is tremendous as through three games, he has a total of 32 tackles and 2.5 sacks. On offense, where he gets limited snaps due to his defense and special teams activity, he has 24 rushing yards on 2 carries, all last game. On special teams where he really gets to display his explosiveness, he has 227 yards and one touchdown on ten punts, and 81 yards on 2 kick returns. He’s going to be one of the most exciting people in football to watch for years to come. Peppers could very well be holding the hardware as well this year.

  1. J.T Barrett, Quarterback, Ohio State

Barrett ushered in a new era of methodical ball movement, and precision when he stepped in the spotlight filling in for, at the time, Heisman contender and dynamic playmaker Braxton Miller when he went down for the season. The pressure was on. It seemed like just yesterday he was a deer in the headlights, merely just a redshirt freshman thrown into one of the most prestigious and heritage filled college sports program in the nation, as the ring leader. He grew up quick and tore it up as a freshman. Caught up in the continuous Ohio State quarterback saga of the last two years, Barrett is finally the undisputed starter. And boy is he savoring it. Already breaking individual and team records, the first three games, Barrett has totaled 650 yards passing, along with ten passing touchdowns and one pick, while also totaling 159 rushing yards with three TD’s on the ground. I believe Barrett is a strong contender and could easily be hoisting the coveted Heisman if he mimics his first game. We’ll see how he performs once in the mix with some competition.

  1. Christian McCaffrey, Running Back, Stanford

Unarguably the most lethal weapon in college football, McCaffrey was one of the top stories of last year. He took over the NCAA and became a jack-of-all-trades skill player that offensive coordinators salivate over. His dazzling season surprised since his freshman year he wasn’t much of a factor. His sophomore season, he totaled 2,019 yards and eight touchdowns running the ball, 645 yards and five touchdowns on 45 receptions, and returning he had 130 punt return yards, 1,070 kick return yards with a TD for both. As if that’s not unbelievable enough, he threw the ball three times for two completions, 39 yards and both were touchdowns. Still that wasn’t enough to overcome the, at the time, Crimson Tide’s Derrick Henry as McCaffrey was the runner-up for the trophy and he plans to pursue the annals he could almost taste last year. He’s done nothing but wow more spectators in three games. If he comes out this year, the junior is almost guaranteed a first round pick.

  1. Lamar Jackson, Quarterback, Louisville

The sophomore sensation, has come out of a rather impressive 2015 campaign and killed it this year. The exhilarating Lamar Jackson has completely taken college football by storm within the first four games, and the eyes of the world is fancying what they are seeing. After capping off Louisville’s season beating Texas A&M in the Music City Bowl, going for 227 passing yards, two passing TD’s, and 226 rushing yards with 2 touchdowns there too, Jackson has put together an amazing four games to start the season. Completely dominating Charlotte, Syracuse, ACC powerhouse Florida St., and Marshall. He’s racked up 1,330 yards through the air, along with 13 passing touchdowns, and has only thrown two picks. On the ground is perhaps when he’s the most dangerous though. Ranking fifth in the NCAA, Jackson has 62 rushing yards, and first in touchdowns with 12. That’s extraordinary. No doubt if Jackson continues the tear of dominance, he’ll go on to break many records and and hold that Heisman high.

This is the first installment on what will be a monthly column. Stay tuned to the site for more.