Week Eight: Heisman Watch

Story posted October 20, 2016 in Sports, CommRadio by Sports Staff

Through more than half of the college football season the true contenders for the Heisman trophy have emerged. Our analysts break down their top picks for the best player in all of college football.

Stephen’s Pick - Jake Browning

Precocious sophomore quarterback Jake Browning has asserted himself as both the Heisman dark horse, and party-crasher.

After thoroughly dismantling Pac-12 standard Oregon on the road, 70-21, the gunslinger has 1,418 yards through the air and 23 touchdowns. Most impressively, the accurate underclassmen has just two interceptions on 144 attempts.

The efficiency of Browning, having completed 72.2% of his passes thus far, is the main reason for the Huskies unforeseen surge into the AP top 5. A Pac-12 championship and potential playoff push could make Browning inseparable from the Heisman conversation.

Stephen’s Pick - JT Barrett

To no one’s surprise, Barrett has yet again shown himself as Heisman caliber quarterback, and has the Buckeyes rolling at No. 2 in the nation heading into an 8 pm Whiteout showdown against Penn State.

Barrett has accounted for 1,641 total yards and 22 touchdowns, with just four interceptions.

His undefeated Buckeyes, who had blown out all their opponents by an average differential of 42.4 over the first five games, faced their first real test against top-10 Wisconsin, in Madison. Just when his team needed him, he stepped up with three timely touchdowns, including an overtime winner on a pass to Noah Brown.

George’s Pick - Lamar Jackson

Louisville came off their bye week after their first loss of the season to Clemson, and beat Duke at home by 10 points. Jackson has not had a multi-passing touchdown game since September 24.

The sophomore does however have an equal number of rushing touchdowns (15) as he does passing. Jackson and the Cardinals will host N.C. State Saturday as they look to push themselves into the college football playoffs.

George’s Pick - Christian McCaffrey

Last years runner-up to the Heisman has been hampered by an undisclosed injury, and missed last weeks game against Notre Dame. McCaffrey has not scored a touchdown since the second game of the season, and has not had 100 all-purpose yards since September 24.

The running back’s status for Saturday’s game against Colorado is still questionable. If McCaffrey is unable to play, his chances of being at the Heisman ceremony in New York are greatly diminished.

Joe’s Pick - Jabrill Peppers

In the landscape of college football, it is extremely difficult for a defensive player to win the Heisman trophy. In fact, only one defensive player has won the Heisman in Michigan’s Charles Woodson and Manti Te’o is the only defensive player to finish within the top three in the past decade.

Jabrill Peppers from Michigan will look to change that as the dynamic playmaker has been making plays all over the field, recording 35 tackles and 2.5 sacks this season. He also impacts the game on offense and on returns with three touchdowns and will look to improve that total against Illinois.

Joe’s Pick - Greg Ward

Houston quarterback Greg Ward seems to have fallen off the Heisman radar due to his team losing against Navy, but to do so would be foolish. Ward is completing over 70% of his passes and has thrown for 11 touchdowns this season.

The one area that Ward has regressed from last season is the running game where he has only topped the century mark once in his game last week against Tulsa. Ward will look to continue his hot play when the Cougars take on the SMU Mustangs this week.


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

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

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