Week One: Heisman Watch

Story posted September 1, 2016 in Sports, CommRadio by Sports Staff

The college football season is upon us and that means it’s time to look out for the next Heisman Trophy winner. Our experts break down their top picks for college football’s best player.

Nancy’s Pick - Dalvin Cook

With last season’s 1,691 rushing yards, 7.4 yards per carry and 19 touchdowns, it’s hard to believe that Dalvin Cook is predicted to have an even more explosive year. Florida State’s running back has got it all; speed, elusiveness, agility, and power. His dominance on the field is unparalleled, and makes him a threat to any defensive formation.

Cook flies under the radar with much preseason hype on other backs, but he had eight 100-yard games last season, including two over 200 yards. Essentially, he is unstoppable. 

What could be the only missing puzzle piece? Injuries. Late last season he had a hamstring strain in addition to missing a game due to his ankle. At the end of spring practices, he underwent surgery on his right shoulder. But if he can stay healthy, he is a forceful threat who without a doubt could be hoisting the Heisman Trophy very soon.

Joe’s Pick - Davis Webb

The start of the 2016 College Football season began with a 51-31 Cal victory over Hawaii. The highlight of the game was the performance of Cal quarterback Davis Webb, who threw for over 400 yards and recorded five total touchdowns.

His lofty numbers are impressive and worthy of inclusion on early Heisman ballots, but two things stand in the way. The first is that his performance was against a poor Hawaii defense and second is the guys in front of him are just that much ahead of the field.

Joe’s Pick - Deshaun Watson

Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson is one of the favorites for the Heisman, after leading Clemson to the national championship game and becoming the first quarterback to throw for over 4,000 yards and run for over 1,000 yards. The Tigers might need Watson to exceed those numbers as Clemson lost defensive stalwarts like Shaq Lawson and Mackensie Alexander.

Watson starts his season in a Tiger duel as Clemson battles Auburn. A strong showing in the season opener against a respectable team in the SEC could gain Watson enough momentum to hold off all challengers. Clemson is one of the most talented teams in the country, but they will go as far as their star quarterback can take them.

George’s Pick - Leonard Fournette

The one player I’ll have my eye on this weekend will be LSU running back Leonard Fournette against the Wisconsin Badgers. After running away with the preseason Heisman predictions, Fournette stumbled towards the end of LSU’s season. Alabama’s front seven held Fournette to a season-low 31 yards, knocking Fournette down to sixth on the final balloting. Last season, Wisconsin had a sneaky-good defense, which finished the season fourth in yards allowed. They held opponents to just over 3,200 rushing yards for the entire season, second best in college football.

Additionally, Wisconsin only lost one major starter on defense to the NFL, that being linebacker Joe Schobert. The Badgers are returning key members of their front seven such as Chikwe Obasih, Vince Biegel, and Chris Orr. T.J. Watt, younger brother of J.J. Watt, will be filling in for the departed Schobert.

The one bright light for Fournette is inside linebacker T.J. Edwards is expected to miss the game with a foot injury. Edwards had 84 tackles last season for Wisconsin.

Fournette will also be missing two offensive lineman this season, those being draft picks Vadal Alexander and Jerald Hawkins.

Leonard Fournette needs to have a big game if he wishes to bring his name back into the Heisman discussion this season. He will need to show he can play against anyone, whether that be Wisconsin or Alabama.

 

Nancy Berman is a sophomore majoring in Public Relations. To contact her, email nancyhberman@gmail.com.

Joe Esquivel-Murphy is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism and Spanish. To contact him, email him at jje5139@psu.edu.

George Stockburger is a senior majoring in journalism with a focus in broadcasting. He can be reached at gos5187@psu.edu