Leonard Fournette sat out, Nick Chubb cooled off and Chad Kelly faced Wofford. All of that to say the SEC didn’t make many Week 2 waves in the Heisman Trophy race. So far, it’s Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson’s world, and we’re hoping he doesn’t jump over our heads on the way to the end zone.
The SEC’s contenders, hopefuls, dark horses and stiffest competition for the stiff-arm trophy as we see it so far:
RB Nick Chubb, Georgia: Following up 222 yards against North Carolina with just 80 yards on 20 carries against Nicholls State was a bit of a letdown. But Chubb scored a touchdown and, most importantly, fought for the clinching conversion on a late third down to help the Bulldogs avoid an epic upset. Still less than a year removed from a major knee injury, it’s hard to be unhappy about 302 yards (5.8 per carry) and three touchdowns in two games back. Next up: Missouri, which has been unusually bad against the run so far this season.
RB Leonard Fournette, LSU: He produced 176 total yards in an opening loss to Wisconsin but sat out a stat-padding opportunity against Jacksonville State with an ankle injury. He could only watch as backup Derrius Guice went for 155 yards on 19 carries. Fournette also lost a game last season (to weather) and was still in the Heisman mix, but he needs to get it going again ASAP. Coach Les Miles expects him to play Saturday night against Mississippi State, which is the good news, but the Bulldogs have allowed just 2.1 yards per carry (No. 13 in country) through two games.
QB Chad Kelly, Ole Miss: Him throwing darts against Wofford didn’t do much for you? Just wait. We’ll know by the end of this weekend whether Kelly is a legitimate Heisman candidate, because Alabama’s heat-seeking defense is coming to town. Western Kentucky’s high-powered offense produced 239 total yards against the Crimson Tide after racking up 649 yards in Week 1. Kelly will need to channel his first-half performance against Florida State in this one.
Touchdown catch by Quincy Adeboyejo from Chad Kelly. Rebels up 24-3! https://t.co/wng3Y9KIf5
— Evie Van Pelt (@OleMissEvie) September 10, 2016
WR Calvin Ridley, Alabama: He’s so far been outshined by teammate ArDarius Stewart (nine catches for 203 yards), but Ridley did get going against WKU after a dud in Week 1. To be fair, Alabama threw it only 18 times in the opener. Ridley responded with nine catches for 129 yards, including a 51-yarder, and a score in Week 2. He could feast Saturday on an Ole Miss secondary that got lit up by Florida State freshman quarterback Deondre Francois and has yet to pick off a pass.
RB Ralph Webb, Vanderbilt: The Commodores aren’t going to be good enough for him to be a serious contender, but the 5-foot-10, 202-pound junior just ripped off 211 rushing yards against Middle Tennessee, most by a Vandy back since 1969. Webb leads the league and ranks fourth nationally with 308 yards (6.3 per carry) in two games. He ran for more than 2,000 total yards his first two seasons and is on pace to break Zac Stacy’s single-season and career school records.
CB Tre’Davious White, LSU: Again, probably not going to happen, considering a defensive player hasn’t won the award since Michigan’s Charles Woodson in 1997. But White does have the necessary “it” factor. He returned an interception for a touchdown in the opener against Wisconsin and then unleashed a jaw-dropping, 60-yard punt return for a touchdown last Saturday against Jacksonville State. He’s broken up 21 passes and scored four non-offensive touchdowns in his LSU career.
This was returned for a touchdown.
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) September 11, 2016
QB Lamar Jackson, Louisville: The sophomore has 697 yards passing, 318 yards rushing and 13 total touchdowns (one interception) in just a game and a half. Jackson’s staggering 610 yards against Syracuse last week included an early Heisman moment: He hurdled a defender en route to a touchdown. He’ll be the hands-down Heisman favorite if he shines against Florida State this week.
Lamar Jackson is good at football.
— ACC Digital Network (@theACCDN) September 12, 2016
QB Deshaun Watson, Clemson: Just OK so far: 52.9 percent completion rate for 540 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions; 76 yards and no touchdowns rushing against Auburn and Troy. Watson is way off last year’s pace, when he rolled up 4,104 yards passing, 1,105 yards rushing and 47 total touchdowns.
QB J.T. Barrett, Ohio State: He followed a huge, seven-touchdown opener with a pedestrian Week 2: 14 of 22 for 149 yards passing, no touchdowns and no interceptions. He did rush for 55 yards and a pair of scores against Tulsa. Maybe he was just sandbagging for this week’s game against Oklahoma, which could impact both the Heisman and College Football Playoff race.
RB Christian McCaffrey, Stanford: Southern California better tie its shoes tight. McCaffrey had last weekend off after 210 all-purpose yards (and a negated 96-yard return) in the Cardinal’s opener. Now the Trojans’ worst nightmare is well-rested. He rolled up 710 all-purpose yards in two games against USC last season.
IF WE VOTED TODAY
1. Lamar Jackson
2. Christian McCaffrey
3. Nick Chubb