Week Twelve: Heisman Watch

Story posted November 22, 2016 in Sports, CommRadio by Sports Staff

As the college football season nears the end, the race for the Heisman is becoming more clear. Our experts break down their picks for the best player in all of college football.

Joe’s Pick - Saquon Barkley

Most star players on top teams do not fly under the radar of the Heisman watch, but that is what has happened for Penn State running back Saquon Barkley. He has consistently put up solid performances for the Nittany Lions and leads the Big Ten in yards from scrimmage with 1,402.

Barkley’s biggest problem is consistency as he accounted for 211 yards from scrimmage against Iowa and then followed up that performance with 92 yards from scrimmage against Indiana. His performance against Rutgers will prove if he is among those guys as the Scarlet Knights will provide Barkley a chance to produce big numbers.

Joe’s Pick - Jake Browning

Washington quarterback Jake Browning was the uncontroversial runner-up to Lamar Jackson for the Heisman trophy until he had the worst game of the season. In the Huskies’ first loss, Browning completed less than 50% of his passes and only threw one touchdown to his two interceptions.

With that game included, Browning has only thrown five interceptions this season to his Pac-12 leading 35 touchdowns. Washington is still in the hunt for the College Football Playoff and the Huskies need Browning to return to top form down the stretch if they want to make the playoff.                 

George’s Pick - Lamar Jackson                                                  

The presumptive Heisman winner Lamar Jackson did not light-up the stat sheet against Wake Forest last week. For the second time this season, Jackson did not have a rushing touchdown. He did, however, throw for 145 yards and a touchdown, while also running the ball 22 times for 153 yards. Fighting for a playoff spot, Jackson and the Cardinals will face the formerly-ranked Houston Cougars Thursday evening.                                                                 

George’s Pick - Jabrill Peppers                                                              

No player in college football is as versatile as Jabrill Peppers, who looks to establish himself as a top five pick in next spring’s NFL Draft. With Michigan fighting for a chance to play in the Big Ten Championship, Peppers will be relied on heavily across the field. Expect to see him play safety, linebacker, running back, receiver, and return specialist over the Wolverines’ final two regular season games.

Stephen’s Pick -  Donnel Pumphrey

San Diego State’s senior running back continues to rack up headline statistics, but only recieve backpage features. In the last three games, he has led the Aztecs to three straight wins, and has averaged 177 yards per game.

On the season, Pumphrey has accrued 1,779 rushing yards, and another 145 receiving. He still leads the nation in rushing yards, and is second in total rushing attempts.

The good news for Pumphrey is that the Aztecs have now clinched a berth in the Mountain West championship game by means of their impressive 9-1 overall, and 6-0 conference record. With an extended season, Pumphrey might be able to set records big enough to catapult himself to the front of the race.

Stephen’s Pick - Deshaun Watson

Deshaun Watson’s Heisman hopes took a major shot when he threw three interceptions during a heartbreaking, last-second 43-42 home loss to Pittsburgh.

The sophomore is still one of the best players in the nation, but now must reprove himself to the nation. Regardless of the interceptions, the talented signal-caller still completed 52 of 70 passes for 580 yards and three touchdowns.

With 29 touchdowns on the season, Watson has shown how important he is to the Tigers’ playoff chances. Now at a crucial point in the season, he must show himself as capable enough a leader to realize their national championship dreams.


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

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

Stephen Clouse is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism at Penn State. To contact him, email stephengclouse@gmail.com