Heisman Trophy Race Heats Up

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Kirk Hachigian

Photo courtesy of fansided.com.

 

[dropcap]A[/dropcap]fter a crazy week of college football that saw Michigan lose to Michigan State on the final play of the game, and LSU take down Florida in a battle of unbeatens, the Heisman Trophy frontrunners are beginning to emerge.

Every year, 870 sports journalists, the 57 prior Heisman trophy winners, and fans (one vote) determine the most valuable college football player of that season. Last year, Marcus Mariota from Oregon won the award. He became the fifth straight quarterback to win the award following Jameis Winston and Johnny Manziel.

This season will most likely break this trend, as four of the top five candidates are running backs—but don’t discount quarterback Trevone Boykin from TCU from the conversation just yet. As of week seven, here are our projected standings for the Heisman Trophy:

 

  1. Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU

LSU’s second year running back has been by far the most dominant player in college football. Whether he is running over defenders or just grinding out out first downs, Fournette has been close to unstoppable. Against Florida, he ran the ball 31 times for 180 yards and two touchdowns. Fourette also leads the nation in running yards and is on pace to average 200 yards per game this season. If LSU can continue their success, Fournette should see plenty of carries and run his way to the Heisman Trophy.

 

  1. Trevone Boykin, QB, TCU

As the preseason favorite to win the Heisman, Boykin has lived up the high expectations that were set for him this season. He has led TCU’s explosive offense to a whopping 50.1 points per game, which ranks second in the country. He is coming off an exciting game against Iowa State in which he racked up 510 yards of offense with five total touchdowns. If he can sustain this success for the second half of the season, Trevone Boykin may become the sixth straight quarterback to win the trophy.

 

  1. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State

The Ohio State hero from the 2015 National Championship Game was another popular preseason pick to win the Heisman Trophy. While he has not disappointed, Elliott has been less consistent than voters would have liked. He has rushed for over 100 yards in every game this season. Against Indiana, Elliott ran for 274 yards and three touchdowns in his most impressive game of the year. If Ohio State keeps their current drive going, Elliott will be in the Heisman conversation for the rest of the season.

 

  1. Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama

​Alabama’s Derrick Henry rushed for 236 yards and two touchdowns in Alabama’s win against Texas A&M this weekend. This performance boosted him onto the Heisman watch, and he only trails Leonard Fournette among SEC rushers in touchdowns and rushing average. Not as flashy a runner as Fournette or Elliott, Henry is a bruising back who is surprisingly explosive with his large frame. If Alabama can persevere in the loaded SEC, then Henry may have a legitimate chance at the Heisman Trophy.

 

  1. Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis

While it is very difficult for a player to win the Heisman Trophy from a division outside the “Big Five,” if anyone could do it, then that player would be Paxton Lynch. Coming off a huge upset over No. 13 Ole Miss, Lynch is currently the American Athletic Conference leader in passing efficiency. He threw for 384 yards and three touchdowns in the 37-24 victory. If the Memphis Tigers can remain unbeaten, the 6-7 Lynch can make a strong case for the most valuable player in college football.

 

  1. Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State

Dalvin Cook has run for over 150 yards in four games this season including two with over 220 yards. Although he has fewer touchdowns than Leonard Fournette, Cook leads the LSU back in yards per carry at 8.7. This success has made Cook the leader of the Florida State offense and if he can stay on the field, Cook should remain in the Heisman conversation. A victory against No. 6 Clemson could be a defining factor in Cook’s candidacy.

 

Overall, this college football season has been very exciting and promises to be just as entertaining in the second half of the season. While Leonard Fournette has jumped out to a substantial lead in the Heisman Trophy standings, there is still plenty of time for him to be overtaken.