As the college football season reaches the halfway point for most teams, it’s time to get serious about the Heisman Trophy race.
Starting today, The Game Haus will provide weekly rankings of the top five candidates for college football’s most prestigious award. So, let’s kick off our Heisman watch with the current contenders as we see it.
All times eastern.
1. Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama
This week: at Arkansas, Noon, Saturday
The Breakdown: The best player on the country’s best team. At the moment, the Heisman race doesn’t seem all that close. However, the Crimson Tide still have to go to LSU and play Auburn. Then there is always the SEC title game lurking. Tagovailoa was obviously the right choice over Jalen Hurts, and it seemed fairly obvious. Through the first five games of the season, the sophomore enters the weekend ranked first in passer rating (238.3), second nationally in completion percentage (75.0), tied for eighth in touchdown passes (14). In 13 collegiate games as a quarterback, Tagovailoa has thrown 25 touchdowns with two interceptions and been sacked just five times.
2. Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma
This week: vs. No. 19 Texas (at Dallas), Noon, Saturday
The Breakdown: Could the Sooners become the first school since USC’s Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush (now vacated) in 2004 and ’05 to produce back-to-back Heisman winners? Perhaps, considering the versatile junior, who appears to have a career on the diamond and not the gridiron, has Oklahoma in good shape. He’s right behind Tagovailoa in passer rating (231.0) and 10th in completion percentage (70.6). He’s also second on the team in rushing. The Longhorns could present any interesting challenge for Murray, who gets his first real taste of the Red River Showdown.
3. Will Grier, QB, West Virginia
This week: vs. Kansas, Noon, Saturday
The Breakdown: We’re only four games into the Mountaineers’ season and Grier has already thrown for 1,487 yards (seventh in the FBS) and 17 touchdowns (tied for fourth with Murray). It helps that Grier has a talented group of receivers who rarely let him down. There’s a good chance he goes off for big numbers against Kansas, which has allowed seven touchdown passes in the last two weeks. The school is doing all it can to push Grier’s Heisman candidacy, but there is still some work to be done.
4. Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State
This week: vs. Indiana, 4 p.m., Saturday
The Breakdown: Many can argue that Haskins should have been the Buckeyes’ starter a year ago. Well, the team is his now, and Ohio State is undefeated. Haskins didn’t have the preseason Heisman hype like Grier and may not have the intriguing back story like Murray or won perhaps the most-talked about quarterback battle in college football history. But what Haskins does have is 19 touchdowns passes (second in the nation) to two interceptions and has already shined for Ohio State in impressive victories over then-ranked TCU and a Penn State squad ranked in the top 10.
5. Trace McSorley, QB, Penn State
This week: Idle
The Breakdown: McSorley is a Heisman long shot at the moment, but his dual-threat ability can’t be denied. Miles Sanders could end up being a solid running back for the Nittany Lions, but as McSorley goes so does the school’s offense – and really the team in general. He’s thrown 10 touchdowns and rushed for six. He was sacked four times by the Buckeyes last week, but also rushed for 175 yards on 25 carries.