Heisman watch 11/5/17

Now that the college football season is through ten weeks, the Hiesman Trophy race is becoming a lot more clear. Here are the top players that should be on the “Heisman Watch” after the weekend’s good slate of games:

6. Khalil Tate, QB, Arizona

Heisman Watch

Khalil Tate (Photo by yahoo.com)

The electric quarterback has come on strong for the Wildcats. He only made his fourth start of the season against USC and once again showed how valuable he is, even in a loss. He threw for 132 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions, but was able to do some more damage on the ground. Tate rushed for 161 yards and another score.

He has now rushed for over 1,000 and passed for just under 1,000 yards on the season. Tate is the man that  has sparked a good season for Arizona. It would be a stretch to see him win the award, but if he keeps up at the current pace he is on track to be in contention to at least be a finalist.

Season stats: 930 passing yards, 8 passing TDs, 61.2% completion, 5 interceptions, 1087 rushing yards, 9 rushing TDs

5. Josh Adams, RB, Notre Dame

It is unfortunate that Adams got injured and had to leave the game against Wake Forest and as a result loses a chance for another big game. That’s how it goes in college football though. He managed to rush for 22 yards on five carries. His team was able to win without him, which is always good for a Heisman campaign.

Adams has been the master of long runs this season as he has had several runs of at least 50 yards for touchdowns. He benefits from a great offensive line, but he does a lot of damage after contact. Ultimately if he wants to win the award, he needs to play in the last three games of the regular season and put up a lot of good numbers.

Season stats: 1,191 rushing yards, 82 receiving yards, 9 total TDs

4. Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin

Heisman Watch

Jonathan Taylor (Photo by dailyherald.com)

Taylor is having an amazing freshman season for the Badgers and that continued on Saturday against the Indiana Hoosiers. He finished with 29 carries for 183 yards and one rushing touchdown. The Badgers remain undefeated, but Taylor lacks a “Heisman Moment”, as they haven’t played in any big games thus far.

On the season, Taylor has rushed for 1,368 yards already. He is gaining yards as a freshman at the same pace and even faster than some of the all time greats. Taylor needs to continue racking up the yards and have Wisconsin win most if not all of their remaining games to have a shot to win it.

Season stats: 1,368 rushing yards, 41 yards receiving, 12 total TDs

3. Bryce Love, RB, Stanford

Love sat out the game against Oregon State, which hindered his chance to break some serious records, like the all-purpose yards in one season record. He did play this weekend against Washington State and had his worst game of the season totaling 69 rushing yards and one touchdown. His team also lost, which sets him a little further behind.

The thing that keeps Love his high in the rankings is his gaudy stat line. He already is approaching 1,500 yards, even with sitting out the Oregon State game. He very well could have 2,000 yards rushing at season’s end. Love needs to get to 2,000 yards rushing to win the award, but should be able to get invited with his current stat line.

Season stats: 1,456 rushing yards, 19 receiving yards, 12 total TDs

2. Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State

Yes, Barkley and Penn State have really slowed down, while number one on this list is picking it up. The Nittany Lions lost to Michigan State for their second straight loss, which damages Barkley’s campaign a little bit. More importantly though, he only had 63 yards rushing and 33 yards receiving in this game with no touchdowns.

Barkley has fewer than 1,000 rushing yards, which is alarming considering one of the quarterbacks on this list, Tate, has 1,000 yards rushing in four starts. One thing Barkley brings to the table is versatility, as he has over 500 receiving yards on the season and also has two kickoff returns for touchdowns. He also has some highlight plays that make him look like he is a created player in a video game. He needs to pick it up down the stretch and see Baker Mayfield stumble to win the award.

Season stats: 864 rushing yards, 502 receiving yards, 14 total TDs

1. Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma

The Sooners got another big win, defeating Oklahoma State in Stillwater. It was a high-scoring game which afforded Mayfield the opportunity to let the ball fly. The win helps the Heisman case, but the stats are just downright crazy. He threw for 598 yards and five touchdowns to help lead his team to victory.

Mayfield still has a few games left, including a possible Big 12 Championship Game, but already has 3,226 passing yards. He is lighting up defenses and has the Sooners in place to make a run at the College Football Playoff. His “Heisman Moments” at Ohio State and at Oklahoma State also help improve his case for the Heisman. The crazy thing is, he still has a few big games coming up to further his case for the Heisman.

Season stats: 3,226 passing yards, 28 passing TDs, 71.7% completion, 5 interceptions, 181 rushing yards, 5 rushing TDs

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Heisman Watch 10/23/17

A lot has changed in college football in the last few weeks, so it is time for another Heisman Watch. Here are the players who are leading the way in the Heisman race:

1. Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State

Michigan’s offense may not be very good, but there defense is. Saquon Barkley had another big game in prime time to enhance his case for the Heisman. Barkley totaled 108 rushing yards and two touchdowns on the ground with 53 receiving yards and one receiving touchdown. He made highlight plays with a long touchdown catch that he bobbled then caught and a lot of good runs.

This was the performance that Barkley was missing last year to be in the Heisman race. He had a big game against a decent team that has a great defense. Now he has created an even bigger gap between him and the rest of the pack. Barkley could get to over 1,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards with a strong finish.

Barkley has two more tough games in a row to help his case even more. If Barkley can play well against Ohio State and Michigan State, he will virtually have the Heisman locked up.

Stats: 757 rushing yards, 448 receiving yards, 13 total touchdowns

2. Bryce Love, RB, Stanford

Heisman Watch

Bryce Love (Photo by: zimbio.com)

Love is still being overlooked, but one look at his stat line will make people see how historic his season has been so far. His last game came in week seven against Oregon, which was his worst performance of the season. He still managed to rush for 147 yards and two touchdowns. With some bad Pac-12 defenses still left to play, Love’s stats can get even better over the back stretch of the season.

Stanford losing two early games has hurt Love’s case, but they are coming on now. He needs to have some big games in prime time to close the gap on Barkley. Love will have a few big games to help his case, but is hard for any non-USC player to win the award from the west coast. Love has a chance to break the NCAA single season rushing record if he can have some big games down the stretch. Barry Sanders has the record at 2,628 rushing yards, so Love has to pick up the pace a little bit and have a few postseason games to reach the mark.

Washington State, Washington and Notre Dame should all be big games for Love to make his mark the rest of the way.

Stats: 1,387 rushing yards, 19 receiving yards, 11 total touchdowns

3. Josh Adams, RB, Notre Dame

Adams was highlighted as a result of the Fighting Irish’s big win over the USC Trojans. He was able to put on a show with his 191 rushing yards and three touchdowns. A lot of credit needs to be given to the Notre Dame offensive line, which is one of the best in college football, but Adams is the guy benefiting from their great play.

This season Adams has averaged 9.2 yards per carry, which ranks second nationally behind Bryce Love. While many claim that Notre Dame gets too much publicity, Adams seems to still be flying under the radar. Adams does have a sub par performance already against Georgia, but will have plenty of opportunities to have big games against good teams.

Three of the last five games for the Fighting Irish are against ranked teams and Adams will need to continue running well to get Notre Dame some key wins.

Stats: 967 rushing yards, 84 receiving yards, 8 total touchdowns

4. Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma

Baker Mayfield (Photo by: usatoday.com)

Mayfield had another great game against Kansas State. He had his first game of the season of over 400 passing yards, finishing with 410. Mayfield added 69 rushing yards and two touchdowns to go along with two passing touchdowns. He has had a lot of big games, but has needed to in order to win a lot of close games.

His touchdown to interception ration is almost 10 to one, so Mayfield has found a way to be productive, while protecting the football. The game against Ohio State is still one of the biggest moments of the season, but he needs to continue to produce and have big games.

In the next few weeks Mayfield has chances to improve his case. Oklahoma still has to play Oklahoma State, TCU and West Virginia, which will give Mayfield plenty of opportunities to make his way up the list.

Stats: 2,347 passing yards, 170 rushing yards, 22 total touchdowns, 2 interceptions

5. Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State

Mason Rudolph had a mundane game against Texas and the Cowboys were lucky to get out of Austin for a win. He threw for 282 yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions. Rudolph was able to complete 65.8% of his passes this game and he protected the football enough for the defense to hang on for the win.

Rudolph is throwing the ball further down the field this year and putting up huge numbers. He lacks a big win and a “Heisman moment” right now, so he will have to do better to garner more support from Heisman voters.

In the game against Oklahoma, Rudolph has to out-duel Mayfield to have any chance at the award.

Stats: 2,650 passing yards, 60 rushing yards, 25 total touchdowns

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Dark Horse Candidates for the 2017 Heisman Trophy

The Heisman Trophy is an award that has a lot of favorites every year, but usually the winner of the award is someone that is unexpected. Last year Lamar Jackson won the Heisman with 50/1 odds. For the 2017 season there a lot of players who can win the award that don’t have any listed odds (Baker Mayfield not listed for off the field issues). This year the race is wide open and these are the guys to look at that are under the radar:

 

Jarrett Stidham, QB, Auburn

Stidham has experience playing at Baylor two seasons ago. He filled in for the injured Seth Russell and played 10 games. In those 10 games Stidham completed 68.8% of his passes for 1,256 passing yards. He had 12 touchdowns and just two interceptions. With Russell coming back and a lot of allegations going around the Baylor program, Stidham decided to transfer to Auburn.

Jarrett Stidham (Photo by: Gridironnow.com)

The past few seasons Auburn has had a talented team, but has been missing a quarterback. Enter Stidham. In Auburn’s offense, he has a chance to have a real impact. The running game, led by Kamryn Pettway, should open up the passing game for Stidham. Pettway rushed for 1,220 yards at 5.9 yards per carry last season. If teams try to stack the box, Stidham will hit the open receivers as a result.

Part of winning the Heisman is being on a good team. Auburn has a chance to compete for the SEC West and if they win some of their big games, can get Stidham in the Heisman talk.

Jacob Eason, QB, Georgia

Eason flashed his potential during his freshman season and now has room to improve on that. He threw for 2,430 yards, 16 touchdowns and eight interceptions, which will need to be increased.

Nick Chubb is listed highly on Heisman lists, but Eason could be the one getting all the attention if Georgia wins some big games. Chubb and the running game will help set up Eason. Eason will stretch the field with his great arm strength and make plays.

The Bulldogs had a bit of a down year by their standards, but in a weak SEC East, Georgia can pick up some easy wins. They do have big games for Eason to make his mark, including: Notre Dame, Auburn and Florida.

Brandon Wimbush/Josh Adams, Notre Dame

One of two players from Notre Dame could win the Heisman in 2017, depending on how the offense will run. Wimbush is the new quarterback, who was a good recruit, but struggled in the spring game. Adams has been sharing time in the Notre Dame backfield for two years and now will get his chance to shine. He has accounted for 2,006 total yards in two seasons and will have the rushing stats to pair with some decent receiving stats this year.

The key to both of these players winning the Heisman is an experienced and good offensive line. With Mike McGlinchey and Quenton Nelson electing to return to school, despite being projected to get drafted highly, will make Notre Dame great in the trenches. Put them with a bunch of good recruits and the Fighting Irish will have a physical offensive line.

Notre Dame players will surely get the benefit of the doubt when entering the Heisman discussion, but there are some big games where these playmakers can make their mark. The Fighting Irish play USC, Stanford, Georgia, Miami and North Carolina, all games that should garner a lot of attention.

Royce Freeman, RB, Oregon

Freeman was limited by injuries last season, but still almost ran for 1,000 yards. He is an accomplished college running back with 4,148 rushing yards in his career. Had he not gotten injured he would have been in range to be the NCAA all time leading rusher.

Royce Freeman Heisman

Royce Freeman (Photo by: fishduck.com)

With a new coaching staff and a young quarterback, Freeman will have to carry the offense for Oregon to do well. If he is healthy he should expect a heavy work load. If he plays like he did in 2015, when he rushed for 1,838 yards on 6.5 yards per carry, he will likely be a Heisman Finalist.

Oregon has the chance to have a successful season, with an easier schedule, but they still leave a few games for Freeman to make his mark. Their biggest out of conference games are Nebraska and Wyoming, which are OK, but not a marquee games. The games against Washington and Stanford will be huge for Freeman’s Heisman campaign.

Mike Weber, RB, Ohio State

J.T. Barrett will likely get all the publicity if Ohio State is winning, but Weber has a solid freshman season to build off of. If Barrett throws too many interceptions or has some bad performances in wins, the public favor will be shown to Weber. Weber averaged 6.0 yards per carry and ran for over 1,000 yards in his freshman season.

Ohio State will likely want to have Weber carry the ball more to prevent Barrett from carrying it too many times and getting injured. The problem is that running with Barrett works. Weber will have to raise his production to make this happen and find the end zone often.

The Buckeyes are favorites to end up in the College Football Playoff once again, but they do have some tests that should give Weber a chance to see the national spotlight. Ohio State plays Oklahoma, Penn State and Michigan. If he can have big games in those match ups, Weber can find himself in the Heisman talks.

Myles Gaskin, RB, Washington

Gaskin is another running back that might be overshadowed by his quarterback, but with a good season can also find himself in contention for the Heisman. He has two straight seasons of 1,300 rushing yards and will just need to improve his production a little bit to be in consideration.

Myles Gaskin Heisman

Myles Gaskin (Photo by: zimbio.com)

The Huskies’ lost their deep threat in John Ross, which may change the offense for this season. Gaskin will be required to do more because Washington won’t have so many drives ending in big plays by John Ross for touchdowns. Gaskin will be asked to score more than 10 touchdowns on the ground, improving his Heisman chances.

Washington’s schedule is ridiculously easy, meaning Gaskin has to put up a lot of stats. He will get his chance at a big game and Heisman moment against Stanford.

 

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