We’ve been talking about Louisville’s Lamar Jackson as the front-runner and Alabama’s Jalen Hurts as the SEC’s best hope in the Heisman Trophy race for weeks. But maybe there’s a new name to consider.
Where would surging Auburn be right now if not for its 6-foot, 240-pound battering ram in the backfield? Almost certainly not winners of six straight with a chance to reach the Iron Bowl with College Football Playoff hopes intact.
Tigers running back Kamryn Pettway has rumbled for an average of 192.5 yards per game over the last four and is up to 1,106 yards in just seven games. He didn’t get a single carry in Auburn’s opening loss to Clemson and sat out a stat-padding opportunity against Louisiana-Monroe.
Adjust his average accordingly and Pettway is at 158 rushing yards per game, good for third nationally and significantly better than Heisman winner Derrick Henry’s average (148 per game) last season. He’s failed to surpass 100 yards in a game only once so far.
— Andy Palys (@AndyPalys) October 30, 2016
If the Tigers ride him to an unexpected SEC title, and Pettway puts up a decent day against that historically good Alabama defense on Nov. 26, the man will have earned an invitation to New York — and maybe more. He’ll play opposite the Crimson Tide’s own contenders that day, though.
QB Jalen Hurts, Alabama: The electric true freshman remains the most likely of all SEC players to actually be a Heisman finalist. He scored the game’s only touchdown, a show-stopping, 21-yard scramble in the fourth quarter of a knock-down, drag-out win over LSU on Saturday.
He’s rushed for 339 yards and 5 touchdowns combined the last three weeks against ranked opponents and is up to 2,320 total yards and 22 touchdowns for top-ranked, undefeated Alabama. He’s not yet in the same class as Jackson — meaning he has almost no shot to win the award — but no one is.
Jalen Hurts is fast….very fast pic.twitter.com/oYcWdiNn5A
— Jack McGuire (@TailgateHeisman) November 6, 2016
DE Jonathan Allen, Alabama: He’s recorded a tackle for loss in five consecutive games, including that Superman sack against Texas A&M that we should never, ever stop talking about. Allen has 11 QB hurries, 7 sacks, 2 fumble-return touchdowns, 2 pass breakups and a blocked kick this season. And those numbers don’t begin to tell the tale of just how utterly disruptive he is. Were Nick Saban like Jim Harbaugh — in addition to the world imploding — and got cute with using Allen in other roles, he’d be a household name like Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers. He should be anyway.
QB Lamar Jackson, Louisville: OK, at this point it would take something catastrophic (a season-ending injury or total meltdown in the final few games) to keep Jackson from hoisting that heavy Heisman Trophy. Another 416 total yards and 7 touchdowns in a rout of Boston College put him at 2,753 yards passing, 1,181 yards rushing and a national-best 45 total touchdowns in just nine games.
— ESPN CollegeFootball (@ESPNCFB) November 5, 2016
QB Jake Browning, Washington: He’s the QB of an undefeated team. He’s coming off his best statistical game (378 yards, 6 TD, 0 INT against California). He leads the nation in touchdown passes (34) and QB rating — and he’s thrown just 3 interceptions. His yards per game (252.6) won’t wow anyone, but his yards per attempt (10.3) are second-most in the country.
LB Jabrill Peppers, Michigan: Mr. Do Everything did in a blowout win over Maryland, lining up at corner, safety, linebacker, wildcat QB, running back, receiver and kick returner. He’s up to 150 yards rushing, 439 yards in the return game, 4 touchdowns, 53 tackles, 13.5 for loss and 7 QB hurries.
— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) November 5, 2016
RB Dalvin Cook, Florida State: Rough day for Cook in a narrow escape of N.C. State. He produced just 82 total yards from scrimmage. He has 1,522 for the season, though, and 13 touchdowns. Cook needs to dazzle in the final three regular-season games to secure his invitation to New York.
QB Deshaun Watson, Clemson: He was sharp in a 54-0 thumping of Syracuse — 13 of 16 passing, 208 total yards, 3 touchdowns, no interceptions — before exiting late in the first half with an injury to his throwing shoulder. It doesn’t look serious, but his Heisman hopes and the Tigers’ undefeated season ride on that right arm. He’s accounted for nearly 3,000 yards and 26 touchdowns so far.
RB Donnel Pumphrey, San Diego State: He increased his national-best rushing total to 1,581 yards (with 13 touchdowns) in nine games for the 8-1 Atzecs. But his 112 yards on 21 carries against Hawaii were Pumphrey’s fewest since the season opener.
IF WE VOTED TODAY
- Lamar Jackson
- Jabrill Peppers
- Jake Browning