HOUSTON (CBS HOUSTON) – Heisman trophy voters John Lopez and Cody Stoots of “In the Loop” take a look at 8 players who could win the Heisman trophy this season.
Every year, pundits and publications across the country come up with a list of “Heisman favorites” and just about every year, few of those names even come close to winning the award.
Among the past 15 Heisman Trophy winners, not much more than Reggie Bush, Tim Tebow, and Marcus Mariota would rate as heavy preseason favorites who actually went on to win the award. The surprises ranged from Eric Crouch to Johnny Manziel.
Thus, as much as this season looks like a stone-cold lock that one in this preseason three-horse race for the Heisman, don’t be so sure. Among the most extreme favorites in recent college football history are Clemson’s DeShaun Watson, LSU’s Leonard Fournette, and Stanford’s Christian McCaffery.
Still, history says someone else will walk off New York’s Downtown Athletic Club stage with the stiff-armed trophy. But who?
The Favorite: Leonard Fournette, LSU.
Dude is a stud. Not only that, he plays for one of the most recognizable teams in the country, which might also contend for the National Championship. Plus, his numbers should be staggering.
The Other Favorite: DeShaun Watson, Clemson
Quarterbacks have a huge advantage built-in when it comes to the Heisman. Any slip-ups by Fournette or the LSU Tigers, and Watson – already one of the game’s biggest stars – may not have any competition for the award.
The Longshot: Lamar Jackson, Louisville
Want to impress your friends? Tell them right now that Lamar Jackson will be listed among Heisman contenders by November. He’s THAT good. And that unknown. A sophomore who made a lot of noise late last season, Jackson may well put up staggering numbers under Bobby Petrino – and games against Florida State and Clemson just might thrust him onto the national stage.
(Author’s Note: John wrote this earlier in the week for Friday publication. Jackson scored 8 TDs against Charlotte to open his season Thursday night.)
The Damn It Sure Would Be Fun If This Guy Won It: Myles Garrett, Texas A&M
Defensive players rarely get serious Heisman consideration, but Garrett appears to be poised for a spectacular season. A well-known name already, and with the Aggies playing numerous big-time opponents (and QBs) on national TV, this renaissance man with an endearing personality and freakish abilities could impress.
This is one of the most interesting years in college football for this award. There is perhaps more running back talent than ever and we know it is sometimes easier to win the award if you happen to be a signal caller as well. Factor in that recent winners sometimes aren’t even preseason contenders, and you have what is shaping up to be one heck of a race.
The Favorite: Christian McCaffery, Stanford
The runner-up from last year will have a tall task replicating one of the most magical seasons we have seen from a player in recent memory. The all-purpose yardage record will need to be in sight for him to be in the conversation again and he could use some big highlight reel plays on the primetime stage to supplement the hype. Will probably be the only candidate to score a touchdown five different ways.
The Other Favorite: Dalvin Cook, Florida State
Being the best player on one of the best teams naturally earns you the buzz and in Cook’s case, he didn’t even need to be on the best team to earn buzz last year. He was getting plenty of love when Florida State was just ok. Now with the Seminoles pounding on the door for a national championship eyes will flock to Cook. He will naturally be compared week-to-week to other star running backs. That won’t be a bad thing for him.
The Longshot: Luke Falk, Washington State and Pat Mahomes, Texas Tech
I am cheating here picking two guys but the reason they are both here is there is a chance we see each account for over 5,000 yards of offense. Falk through the air for Mike Leach’s Cougars and Mahomes with an air and rushing attack for Kliff Kingsbury’s Red Raiders. Falk could be the first non-Red Raider to account for a 5,000 yard passing season in a Power 5 conference and Mahomes doesn’t give you any reason to doubt he could post one of the five highest total yards numbers of all-time.
The Damn It Sure Would Be Fun If This Guy Won It: Jabril Peppers, Michigan
The man with no position because he can play every position. That is stretching the truth a bit, but Peppers seriously is one of the most gifted players in football. He can play everything but traditional defensive end and tackle on defense. He can play running back. Wildcat quarterback. Wide receiver. How will Michigan actually use him? Your guess is as good as mine, but if they start using this Swiss-army man different ways, and win doing so, there is no reason he couldn’t creep into the conversation. Imagine a contender that has sacks, interceptions, pass breakups, rushing touchdowns, receiving touchdowns, and return touchdowns. That could be Jabril Peppers.
Follow Stoots on Twitter – @Cody_Stoots
Follow Lopez on Twitter – @Lopezonsports