This is by far the hardest top 5 I’ve had to put together so far this season. A combination of subpar games by most of our previous Heisman hopefuls and some impressive performances by several players on the cusp of this list have caused me to make some tough decisions.
Baker Mayfield of Oklahoma was the only member of the latest top 5 to have a Heisman-worthy performance, and boy was it a sight to see.
Top running backs Saquon Barkley, Bryce Love, and Josh Adams all combined to score a single touchdown on Saturday and none eclipsed 100 yards rushing on the day.
Our previous #5, J.T. Barrett, tossed four interceptions in a complete obliteration by the Iowa Hawkeyes.
It’s safe to say, there are a couple new faces amongst the hopefuls this week.
Let’s get started:
Craziest Baker Mayfield stat? He's thrown a touchdown pass in a school-record 35 straight games. That's every single game of his career.
— Eddie Radosevich (@Eddie_Rado) November 6, 2017
1 -Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma, QB
Mayfield gets to walk away from Bedlam with the last laugh as the Sooners were victorious in his final game against rival Oklahoma State.
Oklahoma outlasted Oklahoma State 62-52 in what was the Big 12 shootout of the year. Mayfield single-handedly propelled his team to victory as he completed 24-of-36 passes for a school record 598 yards, five touchdowns, and two interceptions. He also added a rushing touchdown, for good measure.
With everyone else on the list having turned in an underwhelming performance, this was Mayfield’s best shot to top this list, and he took full advantage of the moment.
Consider Mayfield a lock for New York City.
2 – Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
Saquon Barkley was almost nowhere to be found in his matchup against Michigan State. He barely put up over 100 yards of total offense, thanks in part to a 20 yard pass completion, in what may have been his worst game of the season. Usually when Barkley fails to deliver in one department, he steps it up in the other. Against MSU, he was flat in all three phases.
His final stat-line included:
- 14 rushes – 63 yards – zero TDs
- 3 catches – 33 yards – zero TDs
- 1-of- passing – 20 yards – zero TDs
Luckily, there is still time to make one last push for the Heisman Trophy. However, Barkley needs to get back on track ASAP.
Bryce Love had three rushing TDs tonight. Washington had allowed three rushing TDs the whole season coming in.
— Kyle Bonagura (@BonaguraESPN) November 11, 2017
3 – Bryce Love, Stanford, RB
If it feels like it’s been awhile since we witnessed a dominant performance from Bryce Love, it’s actually because it has been. After Stanford’s bye week, Love did not suit up against Oregon State. In his latest game against Washington State, Love put up a mediocre 69 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries. That comes out to a dismal 4.3 yards per carry for the game which happens to be less than half his YPC on the entire season (9.6).
Like Barkley, Love needs to find his groove again if he still plans on traveling to New York for the Heisman Trophy Presentation.
Editors Note: Bryce Love redeemed himself Friday night as he put up 166 rushing yards on 30 carries and a hat trick of TDs. As we enter Saturday, he has himself in the race.
4 – Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin, RB
Just a freshman and already leads the Big Ten in rushing and stands third nationally. Taylor has been as consistent on the ground as any running back in the conference and has been a big reason why Wisconsin stands undefeated with a top 10 ranking on the year.
In his latest game against Indiana, Taylor toted the rock 29 times for a hard-earned 183 yards and a touchdown. On the year, he as accrued 1,368 rushing yards on 190 carries, good for 7,2 yards per clip. He’s also tied for sixth in the country with 12 rushing touchdowns on the year.
— Arizona Football (@ArizonaFBall) November 5, 2017
5 – Khalil Tate, Arizona, QB
About the closest player you will find to vintage Michael Vick, other than reigning Heisman winner Lamar Jackson. Tate is absolutely electric as a runner. He sits with 1,087 rushing yards and nine touchdowns on the year…while not being the full-time starter until the fifth game of the season. He averages a VERY healthy 11.2 yards per carry as well.
As a passer, Tate isn’t quite as prolific, totaling 930 yards through the air with eight touchdowns and five interceptions. Luckily for Tate, it isn’t about being the best quarterback, it’s about being the best football player. Tate is a playmaker and the Heisman voters love them some playmakers. Watch for Tate to slide into one of the last invitations to NYC if he keeps his exhilarating play up.