The final week of the regular season has come and gone. The top candidates have all put in their best claims to reach college football nirvana and all should be content with their performances. We have all bore witness to some Heisman-worthy moments across the last 13 weeks. Impossible runs, throws, catches made to look easy by some of the most talented athletes on this planet.
We are all truly spoiled.
If I had my way, all five of these players should be able to punch a ticket to New York for the December 9th presentation. Unfortunately, that isn’t up to me. I’ll have to let destiny take the wheel on this one. I just hope those who have proved themselves are done the justice they deserve.
Here are my top-5 (pre-conference championship weekend) Heisman Hopefuls:
1 – Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma, QB
You might as well crown Mayfield right now because I don’t see anyone being able to overtake him prior to the Heisman Presentation. After dishing out the sauce all over the Jayhawks in retaliation to their “non-handshake”, Mayfield put the cherry on top of his Heisman campaign by beating the West Virginia while only accumulating three incompletions in a 59-31 beatdown.
Effieciency has been the theme for Mayfield’s final season in Norman and it’s only right that he finished things off in the same fashion. Against WVU, he completed 14-of-17 passes for 281 yards and three scores.
Whenever incompletions = touchdown throws, you’re doing something right.
Just another day for Baker Swagfield.
2 – Lamar Jackson, Louisville, QB
If you’ve been keeping track, his most recent game makes it SEVEN games this season where Jackson has thrown for 200+ yards and rushed for 100+ yards.
Against inner-state rival Kentucky, Jackson put together a productive and clean performance as he completed 15-of-21 passes for 216 yards and a pair of scores while toting the rock 18 times for an additional 156 yards.
On the season, Jackson and Mayfield both have 42 total touchdowns and 4,300+ total yards of offense. Although this season may not have matched his production from his award-winning season in ’16, it’s kept him in the conversation, nonetheless.
If Louisville was able to come away with a few more wins this season, it could have been Jackson looking down at the rest of the hopefuls at this point.
3 – Rashaad Penny, San Diego State, RB
If you guys want my completely unbiased opinion, I think it’s pretty messed up that Penny was snubbed of a finalist nomination for the Doak Walker award. He has been the picture of consistency and is the lone running back to reach 2,000 yards during the regular season.
I realize people will knock him for level of competition (blah, blah, blah) but if you’ve put on the film, this guy can play. To me, if you play in a non-Power 5 conference, you’ve got to play out of your mind and dominate the competition all season long, and I believe Penny did just that.
He isn’t just a one-trick pony, either. He isn’t too bad in the return game as he returned two kicks against Nevada just last week in a game where he accumulated 400+ total yards from scrimmage.
It’s a bummer to see. However, if he won’t be up for the Doak Walker, I truly believe he needs to make a trip to New York in December.
4 – Bryce Love, Stanford, RB
Injuries have unfortunately derailed what could have been a historic year for Love. He missed one full game due to an injury and has played the last couple outings with a lingering lower-body ailment. Regardless, he has managed to consistent put up 100+ yards, recently notching his 10th game of that sort against Notre Dame.
Still, the man stands as the second-leading rusher in the country with 1,848 yards to go along with 16 touchdowns and an 8.6 YPC on the year.
A trip to the Heisman Presentation is still in question but Love may as well be the frontrunner for the Doak Walker Award for the nation’s top running back.
I would be content with either trophy, to be quite honest.
5 – Saquon Barkley, Penn State, RB
It’s been an absolute roller coaster of a year for Saquon Barkley. Once the unanimous favorite for the Heisman during the first-half of the season, he has been terribly up and down during the final stretch. Finding himself failing to reach 100 rushing yards against lesser competition repeatedly, combined with sometimes not even being the leading rusher on your team every other game is not a good look.
In his final regular season game against Maryland, Barkley rushed 16 times for 77 yards and two touchdowns. He added one catch for four yards, as well.
For me, Barkley is on the edge of even receiving an invite to New York.