ATLANTA — Derrick Henry’s Heisman Trophy candidacy has been so strong in the past month that some of us in the South have needed to step back and ask, “Is there some SEC bias at work here?”
The answer, according to Heisman expert Joe Tessitore, is absolutely not.
Speaking with the media Friday afternoon, Tessitore claimed Henry is more of a surefire No. 1 than recent winners Cam Newton and Jameis Winston.
“Derrick Henry is as much of a runaway winner right now as we’ve had in the modern era of the Heisman,” Tessitore said. “That doesn’t mean he’s gonna win by that margin, but going into this final weekend, Derrick Henry is out in front in all of the projections.”
Back in September, when Henry and Georgia’s Nick Chubb were atop the Heisman projections, Tessitore told SEC Country he “wouldn’t want to be” either of those players, based on historical projections.
“If you start too early, and you get all the attention early — Geno Smith, Denard Robinson, the list goes on and on and on — you won’t even arrive in New York,” Tessitore said three months ago. “You won’t even be sitting in the front row.”
Thankfully for Henry, LSU running back Leonard Fournette stole the nation’s attention for a couple months.
Alabama and LSU’s meeting on Nov. 7 was the turning point in the race, and now Henry (1,797 yards and 22 touchdowns) is a heavy favorite to become the Crimson Tide’s second Heisman winner.
All he needs to do is come up with an average performance in Saturdays’ SEC championship game vs. Florida.
“If Alabama wins,” Tessitore said, “and Derrick Henry has a standard game — 100 yards and a rushing touchdown — it would be a stunning development if he does not win the Heisman Trophy.”