Here’s what we know after Week 8: The SEC’s most Heisman-worthy player is on Alabama’s roster. Thing is, it might not be the guy you’re thinking of. Probably is, but a case can be made for more than one player from the Crimson Tide.
Here’s what else we know: Alabama all but stiff-armed another league hopeful’s chances with a suffocating performance Saturday. But enough with the vague teasers. Here’s our latest SEC Heisman Watch:
QB Jalen Hurts, Alabama: This kid just keeps delivering. With 164 yards passing, 93 yards rushing and three total touchdowns against previously undefeated Texas A&M, Hurts helped the Crimson Tide stay perfect and atop the polls. In three straight games against ranked opponents – Arkansas, Tennessee and the Aggies – he produced 560 yards passing, 245 yards rushing, 10 total touchdowns and four interceptions.
Among quarterbacks nationally, only Heisman favorite Lamar Jackson has more rushing touchdowns this season than Hurts’ nine. No freshman in the country – and most of the others are redshirt freshmen, unlike Hurts – has more total offense than his 2,070 yards. No player in the SEC is responsible for more total touchdowns than his 20.
Oh, and Hurts had another Heisman-worthy highlight against A&M: Up 26-14 early in the fourth quarter, he put the game away when he dropped back, zoomed right, froze a defender by cutting back left, raced up the middle, bounced still wider left to avoid another defender and polished off an electric, 37-yard touchdown run.
— SEConCBS (@SEConCBS) October 22, 2016
QB Trevor Knight, Texas A&M: Spotty passing accuracy finally caught up to him against the heat-seeking Alabama defense. Knight’s 45.2 percent completion rate was his worst in an Aggies uniform, but it was the fifth time in seven games he connected on fewer than 55 percent of his throws. With 1,664 yards passing, 526 rushing and 20 total touchdowns, he might still be able to earn an invitation to New York if he and one-loss A&M get on a roll again.
THE DARK HORSES
DE Jonathan Allen, Alabama: Somebody from this Crimson Tide juggernaut deserves to go to New York. If not Hurts, and if we’re seriously considering Michigan linebacker Jabrill Peppers a Heisman candidate (this voter is), why not Allen? He had a Heisman moment – his crazy Superman sack against Texas A&M – and has 10 quarterback hurries, six sacks, two fumble-return touchdowns, two pass break-ups and a blocked kick this season. He’s the nuclear warhead on a defense full of weapons.
Because this Jonathan Allen sack deserves every angle possible. https://t.co/QobE4liWdv
— Cole Cubelic (@colecubelic) October 23, 2016
DE Derek Barnett, Tennessee: He was off last week, but Barnett did all he could (sack, forced fumble, interception) for the Volunteers against Alabama the week before. His 35 ½ tackles for loss and 23 sacks in 20 career SEC games are mind boggling.
QB Lamar Jackson, Louisville: Jackson kept his Heisman hype train rolling with 431 total yards and four touchdowns in a rout of N.C. State. He’s up to 2,161 yards passing, 908 yards rushing and a staggering 34 total touchdowns (with four interceptions) in seven games.
We asked. You voted.
— ACC Digital Network (@theACCDN) October 24, 2016
QB J.T. Barrett, Ohio State: His Heisman hopes – as well as the Buckeyes’ playoff dreams – took a hit with a poor performance in an upset loss to Penn State. Barrett’s 270 total yards and one touchdown were not nearly enough.
RB Dalvin Cook, Florida State: Three straight games of 200-plus yards from scrimmage revived Cook’s candidacy. He has 900 yards rushing and 356 yards receiving. After a bye week, he can crank up the hype with a big day against rival Clemson.
QB Deshaun Watson, Clemson: After a slow start, Watson got back into the Heisman conversation by outdueling U of L’s Jackson on Oct. 1 – and with 21 total touchdowns, his numbers merit consideration – but he needs to deliver Saturday at Florida State to be a real threat.
RB Donnel Pumphrey, San Diego State: He’s still leading the nation in rushing (1,246 yards) and on pace for 2,000-plus yards and 20-plus touchdowns in the regular season. With nearly 200 all-purpose yards per game, we should probably appreciate this guy a little more.
— GoAztecs (@GoAztecs) October 22, 2016
LB Jabrill Peppers, Michigan: He caught his first pass of the season Saturday against Illinois (for 5 yards), rushed five times (for 9 yards) and returned two kickoffs (for 58 yards). He’s up to 514 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns to go with 41 tackles, 10 for loss.
IF WE VOTED TODAY
- Lamar Jackson, Louisville
- Donnel Pumphrey, San Diego State
- Jalen Hurts, Alabama