There was a lot less quality matchups in the slate of games in Week 2, but that did not stop a number of players building on their strong starts in the opening week. However, some players continued to disappoint (I’m looking at you Deshaun Watson, again), while others had their momentum halted against lower level competition (Nick Chubb). Here’s this week’s Heisman rankings, with their Week 1 ranking listed next to them:
Jake Browning (QB, Washington)
Washington has been under the radar so far this season, currently ranked #8 in the AP Top 25. A main reason for this is the play of play-caller Jake Browning, who is forming a quiet Heisman campaign away from the bright lights of other candidates. Browning threw for 294 yards and 5 TDs in a thrashing of Idaho. Washington face Portland State in Week 3, before taking on Pac 12 rivals Arizona, Stanford and Oregon in the coming weeks, giving Browning a chance to put his name in the Heisman ballot.
Kalen Ballage (RB, Arizona State)
Anyone who scores 8 TDs on 15 touches (yes, only 15!) deserves to be in my Honourable Mentions. Ballage finished with 185 total yards, scoring 7 times on the ground and 1 receiving touchdown for good measure. He tied an FBS record for most touchdowns in a game in the 68-55 victory over Texas Tech. The Sun Devils’ tailback has a chance to build a Heisman campaign from here onwards.
5) Royce Freeman (RB, Oregon) – WEEK 1: N/R
Oregon’s star tailback makes his first appearance in the Top 5 rankings, following a 2 TD, 207 yard performance against Virginia. Freeman is regarded as one of the most underrated running backs in the country, with people talking more about Dalvin Cook, Leonard Fournette and Christian McCaffrey. Fournette and McCaffrey didn’t play this week and Cook had another underwhelming performance, which allowed the Ducks’ running back to enter into the Heisman conversation. Freeman faces the challenge of playing on the west coast, which could lose him some voters on the east who’ve already fallen asleep and he also has another potential candidate in Dakota Prukop on his offence, which could hinder his hopes come the end of the year.
4) Christian McCaffrey (RB, Stanford) – WEEK 1: #4
The Stanford Cardinal had a bye in Week 2, which didn’t help or hinder McCaffrey’s Heisman hopes. McCaffrey doesn’t decide the Stanford schedule, so he can’t be punished for having a bye. We know the talent McCaffrey possesses and over the next few weeks he can add to his highlight reel with tough games against USC, UCLA and Washington.
3) JT Barrett (QB, Ohio State) – WEEK 1: #2
The Ohio State signal-caller finished with 204 total yards, finishing with 147 passing yards, while scoring 2 TDs on the ground in a 48-3 win against Tulsa in tough, wet conditions. Barrett had the fortune of having other Heisman candidates either struggling or not playing in Week 2, which allows him to only drop only 1 spot this week. The #3 ranked Buckeyes have a strong chance to make the College Football Playoff as long as Barrett keeps up his solid start to the year.
2) Deondre Francois (QB, Florida State) – WEEK 1: #1
Francois continued to build on his momentum from a week 1 comeback victory over Ole Miss by leading the Seminoles to a 52-8 win over Charleston Southern. The true freshman completed 25 of 32 passes for 262 yards, 3 TDs and 1 interception. However, Francois’ campaign has been overshadowed by another ACC quarterback, someone he and the Noles should be very familiar with in Week 3…
1) Lamar Jackson (QB, Louisville) – WEEK 1: H/M
After starting out Week 1 in my Honourable Mentions, Jackson has leapfrogged the entire competition following a phenomenal performance against Syracuse. He finished with 610 total offensive yards, an ACC record, scoring 5 times in the end zone. He was 1 rushing yard shy of completing the 400 passing/200 rushing yard tandem. Jackson has 13 total TDs after 2 weeks, which is more than some FBS teams! But he and the Louisville Cardinals face their first big test of the year in Week 3, with fellow Heisman candidate Deondre Francois and Florida State in town. This College Gameday matchup of the week could not only shake up the top 25, but my Heisman rankings come next week.