Now that Alabama running back Derrick Henry has won the Heisman trophy for 2015,it’s about time to investigate some names from the SEC that might be able to bring the award back to the conference for 2016. After all, it’s never too early, right?
This list doesn’t feature any rising seniors because a senior hasn’t won the Heisman since 2006 and it can be reasonably assumed that many potential Heisman candidates in the SEC will skip their senior seasons to move onto the NFL — including this year’s winner, Henry.
With that said, here are the names to know for next season:
Antonio Callaway – WR Florida
It might be surprising to see a Florida player on this list given the Gators struggles on offense this year. However, Callaway shouldn’t be blamed for Florida’s inability to move the football. He’s posted 603 yards with four touchdowns so far in 2015. The true freshman has been the lone bright spot for first year coach Jim McElwain’s offense, and Callaway will likely be a household name by this time next year.
Nick Chubb – RB Georgia
Chubb would’ve no doubt been a Heisman candidate this season if not for the knee injury he suffered in October. His road to recovery is a long one, but when he’s back on the field Chubb will be aided by new offensive coordinator Jim Chaney and new offensive line coach Sam Pittman, which should make the Bulldogs offense featuring Chubb a lot more formidable.
Leonard Fournette, RB LSU
It wasn’t that long ago that Fournette was the overwhelming favorite to win this year’s Heisman. Fournette’s candidacy took a tumble when he failed to live up to expectations late in the season in his team’s game at Alabama. Well, the Crimson Tide has to travel to Death Valley in 2016 and Fournette will be ready for his revenge.
Jalen Hurd, RB Tennessee
This year Hurd has helped the Vols achieve at least an eight win season for the first time since 2007. Tennessee hopes to build off that success in 2016, and Hurd should post even more impressive statistics than the 1,158 yards and 11 rushing touchdowns he has so far this season.
Christian Kirk, WR Texas A&M
The Texas A&M offense has played out a little like a soap opera recently. Both Kyle Allen and Kyler Murray joined Kenny Hill as high-profile quarterbacks to transfer out of the program since the end of the 2014 season. While next season’s quarterback may be an unknown, one thing is for sure: Kirk is one of the most dynamic players in the SEC. Expect big things from him in College Station,Texas next season.