Sorry, SEC fans, but at the quarter pole of this season, the league’s Heisman hopes aren’t looking great. To be fair, that’s true of everyone not named Lamar Jackson.
Still, no SEC player ranks in the top 10 nationally in rushing or receiving, and while Missouri’s Drew Lock is fourth in passing yardage, he’s 39th in QB rating — and playing for a sub-.500 team. Despite relative mediocrity from the league’s stars so far, our Heisman Watch must go on. So here goes:
RB Leonard Fournette, LSU: He’s healthy again and appears to have a capable quarterback finally, so maybe the Tigers’ wrecking ball in the backfield can surge forward over the next few weeks. He missed the Jacksonville State game, but Fournette has averaged 175 yards of total offense in the two he’s played, including an impressive bounce-back game last week against Mississippi State. He sparked another viral video by violently stiff-arming Mississippi State’s Brandon Bryant to the turf.
Leonard Fournette put him through the dirt! https://t.co/P4mWqGCpk7
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) September 18, 2016
RB Nick Chubb, Georgia: Since ripping off 222 yards and two touchdowns on 32 carries against North Carolina in the opener, Chubb has managed only 143 yards and one touchdown on 39 carries combined in the last two games. Might be time to consider the possibility that Chubb’s Week 1 explosion was more a product of the opponent. The Tar Heels allowed 1,272 yards rushing in their final three games of 2015.
FORGET ABOUT IT
QB Chad Kelly, Ole Miss: His numbers are still nice — 953 yards, 10 touchdowns, 4 interceptions in three games — but the Rebels are 1-2, in part because Kelly’s late turnovers helped erase big early leads against Florida State and Alabama. And Heisman voters like winners.
WR Calvin Ridley, Alabama: Freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts is fun to watch and makes the Crimson Tide a more dangerous offense, but he’s hurting Ridley’s numbers. You won’t become the first receiver to win the Heisman since 1991 with 219 yards and one touchdown in three weeks.
ONE TO WATCH
RB Rawleigh Williams III, Arkansas: The 5-foot-10, 223-pound sophomore is picking up steam, increasing his yards per carry each week so far. With 354 yards and three touchdowns in three games for the undefeated Razorbacks — who have a shot at No. 10 Texas A&M on Saturday — Williams could become a household name soon.
QB Lamar Jackson, Louisville: Mike Vick 2.0 has been nothing short of spectacular as a sophomore: 1,377 total yards, 18 touchdowns, two interceptions in three games. Didn’t like his level of competition in the first two? Well, 216 passing yards and 146 rushing in a 63-20 demolition of then-No. 2 Florida State on Saturday sure put that question to rest.
— The Fanatics View (@thefanaticsview) September 17, 2016
RB Christian McCaffrey, Stanford: Ho-hum, just another 200-plus all-purpose yards for the Cardinal star. It was 260 against Southern California, to be exact, and 470 for the season, along with 4 touchdowns.
QB J.T. Barrett, Ohio State: He had almost as many touchdown passes (4) as incompletions (6) in Saturday’s win at Oklahoma. For the season, Barrett has 650 yards passing, 159 rushing, 13 total touchdowns and just 1 interception.
LB Jabrill Peppers, Michigan: The last defensive player to win the Heisman was a do-everything Wolverine, too, and it’s time to give this guy serious consideration. Peppers leads the nation in tackles for loss (9 ½), has averaged 21.6 yards on eight punt returns (with a touchdown) and 40.5 yards on two kickoff returns. He’s rushed twice for 24 yards, recorded 2.5 sacks, 3 hurries and 1 forced fumble.
Video of Jabrill Peppers touchdown. pic.twitter.com/4RakL4XKJa
— Curtis (@Curtos07) September 17, 2016
QB Greg Ward Jr., Houston: He delivered 399 total yards in a heroic return from injury — and he was playing hurt — leading a come-from-behind win at Cincinnati to keep the Cougars’ College Football Playoff-crashing hopes alive. He has 721 total yards, 5 touchdowns and 2 interceptions in two games.
IF WE VOTED TODAY
1. Lamar Jackson
2. Christian McCaffrey
3. Jabrill Peppers