Week Two Heisman Watch

Story posted September 14, 2015 in CommRadio, Sports by George Stockburger

When it comes to college football, there is no greater individual award than the Heisman Trophy. Given to the best college football player annually since 1935, the award illuminates the elite college players and places them among the best to have ever graced the college field.

As we dive into the 2015 college football season, the focus sets in on college football’s best and brightest; the few who have the skill and overall potential to hoist that coveted trophy.

Ezekiel Elliott: Running Back, Ohio State

There’s so much to love about Elliott’s overall game as a running back. First off, you have to highlight his vision of the field. The ability to read how the blockers are setting and where the linebackers are running can make or break a game, heck, an entire season for teams with this new playoff format. Along with that vision comes toughness and excellent breakaway speed.

When it came to his week two matchup against Hawaii, Elliott tore up the field once again. The star running back ran for over 100 yards and scored three touchdowns. Two of his touchdowns came in short yardage, which is surprising based on Elliott’s immense talent. 

While a running back hasn’t won the Heisman since Alabama’s Mark Ingram in 2009, and only four have done so in the past 20 years (not including Reggie Bush’s vacated award), Elliott has an excellent shot at the Heisman this season. If he can break the 2,000-yard mark this season, he’ll at least be a candidate.

Jared Goff: Quarterback, Cal

Most likely one of the lesser-known names in this race is Jared Goff. Entering his junior season at Cal, Goff currently sits as Todd McShay’s number one quarterback prospect heading into the 2016 draft. An accurate passer with the prototypical pocket-passer look, Goff could possibly sneak into this race by the end of the season.

In Cal’s season opener, Goff threw for 309 yards, with three touchdowns and one interception. He displayed the excellent arm strength NFL coaches will want to see while also stepping up when the pocket collapses around him. In week two, Goff outdid himself, throwing for 321 yards and three touchdowns. Two of those touchdowns came in a 21 second span after the Cal defense produced a big San Diego State turnover.

Cody Kessler, Quarterback, USC

Kessler had the best performance out of all the contending quarterbacks this week, throwing for over 400 yards. While he lost his best receiver in Nelson Agholor to the NFL, Kessler’s accuracy and decision-making will take him a long way. USC will be taking on Stanford, whose defense only allows an average of 128 passing yards per game, giving Kessler a strong challenge heading into week three.

Trevone Boykin: Quarterback, TCU

Clearly, the hottest name in the preseason Heisman predictions is TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin. The redshirt senior isn’t your typical stand in the pocket, NFL molded quarterback. He plays with the same elusiveness and electricity as Johnny Manziel, while not having the added baggage off the field. While his mobility is the highlight reel stuff everyone wants to see, it’s not necessarily his primary weapon. Boykin can stand in the pocket surprisingly well when called upon, and has an excellent, quick release of the ball. His patience is also a key to his game, but that’s not highlighted as much as it should be.

Starting against the Big Ten’s Minnesota Golden Gophers, Boykin led the Horned Frogs to a 23-17 nail-biter, highlighted by a third quarter, 23-yd touchdown run by Boykin. The following week, the Horned Frogs won convincingly by a ridiculous score of 70-7 over Stephen F. Austin. Boykin threw four touchdowns in the rout of the Lumberjacks and once again showed why he’s the front-runner for the Heisman trophy.

Nick Chubb: Running back, Georgia

I know what I said about running backs not winning the Heisman, but Nick Chubb is not your typical running back. When Todd Gurley went out against Vanderbilt in 2014, Chubb stepped in and had eight straight 100-yard rushing games. He rushed for 1,500 yards and 14 touchdowns that year, putting him in a great spot for this season.

This week Chubb kept on chugging, racking up 189 rushing yards and averaging nearly ten yards per attempt. While he didn’t score a touchdown, that doesn’t take away from another “beast mode” performance by Chubb. He’s slowly becoming a strong favorite amongst both fans and analysts.

Other Names to Watch
Deshaun Walker: Quarterback, Clemson
Dalvin Cook: Running back, Florida State
Scooby Wright: Linebacker, Arizona
Laquon Treadwell: Wide Receiver, Ole Miss

George Stockburger is a freshman broadcast journalism major. He can be reached at gos5187@psu.edu.

Photo Credit: USA Today