Week Two: Heisman Watch
With week one in the rear-view mirror it’s time to take a look at this year’s Heisman hopefuls and where there stocks are. Our expert analysts break down their top picks.
Joe’s Pick - J.T. Barrett
The opening weekend of college football provided the nation with some fantastic games and incredible performances. Ohio State junior quarterback J.T. Barrett was one of the players with a great showing on Saturday as he accounted for 379 yards of total offense and seven total touchdowns in a 77-10 rout of Bowling Green.
While Bowling Green does not possess a great defense, Barrett’s numbers should not be taken lightly. He is capable of putting up great numbers on any given day as his 2014 numbers can attest.
Ohio State take on Tulsa next week in what should be another blowout, so expect Barrett to put up great numbers in a lopsided affair.
Joe’s Pick - Christian McCaffrey
Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey had a solid game to start the season gaining 204 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns in a victory against Kansas State. McCaffrey showed the top speed he possesses with both of his touchdowns coming on runs at least 35 yards.
The Cardinal have a bye week this coming week, so McCaffrey will be unable to add numbers to his good start. The bye week will give McCaffrey the rest he needs to take on USC, a team that got embarrassed by Alabama.
George’s Pick - Leonard Fournette
LSU running back Leonard Fournette is due for a monster game this weekend when LSU plays host to the Jacksonville State Gamecocks. The opposing level of competition Fournette is expected to face Saturday night in Baton Rouge is significantly lower than he typically faces.
This is just the second time in his collegiate career Fournette will face an FCS team. His only other game against this level of competition came in his freshman season, scoring a touchdown and averaged more than seven yards per carry.
Fournette and the Tigers enter this game with a chip on their shoulder after a shocking loss to Wisconsin at Lambeau Field. An ankle injury forced Fournette to miss time during LSU’s loss, but the Heisman hopeful is expected to play.
If fully healthy, it would not be shocking to see a classic Leonard Fournette game with three touchdowns and 200 rushing yards. This type of game can push Fournette back to the forefront of the Heisman trophy discussion before LSU begins their SEC schedule.
George’s Pick - Deshaun Watson
Deshaun Watson continues to amaze the college football world after finishing third in last years Heisman voting. In Clemson’s season opener against Auburn, Watson threw for 248 yards and tacked on an additional 21 yards on the ground.
This week, Watson and the Clemson offense are expected to roll over Troy. ESPN’s Football Power Index gave Troy a measly 1.9% chance of beating Clemson this weekend. Troy will struggle to contain Watson, who flashes traits similar to those of Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.
I’m looking for Deshaun Watson to have a performance similar to last week’s win over Auburn. He’ll throw for somewhere in the vicinity of 250 yards, while tacking on another 50 on the ground. Finding his star receiver Mike Williams will be key, and I expect the two to connect at least one time against Troy.
Stephen’s Pick - Lamar Jackson
Louisville’s elusive sophomore signal-caller opened the 2016 campaign by setting fire to FBS newbie Charlotte’s defense with 405 all purpose yards, leading the Cardinals to a 70-14 dispatching of the 49’ers Thursday night.
Last year’s ACC Offensive Rookie of the Year runner-up showed he’s ready to lead the Cards back into relevancy, recording an astonishing eight touchdowns accounted for in, remarkably, only one half of football. Jackson dazzled the home crowd with the pace of any side’s finest return specialist, and the arm strength and discipline of a fifth-year senior.
Stephen’s Pick - Dalvin Cook
Along with Watson and McCaffrey, Florida State’s junior running back entered this season as a Heisman front runner -- following a 2015 season (1,691 yards rushing, 19 TD’s) in which he showed an uncanny ability to evade, or evaporate, prospective tacklers.
In a gritty 45-34 comeback win in Monday’s opener against SEC power Ole Miss, Cook accounted for 198 all-purpose yards (career high 107 receiving yards on seven catches), proving his reliability and versatility. As long as the third-ranked Seminoles stay in the spotlight, Cook will continue to stir the college football nation with his unique skill set.
Joe Esquivel-Murphy is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism and Spanish. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
George Stockburger is a senior majoring in journalism with a focus in broadcasting. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Stephen Clouse is a Freshman majoring in broadcast journalism at Penn State, formerly a beat reporter at the Ridgefield Press. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Contributors
Senior / Broadcast Journalism