It’s easy to award the Heisman Trophy in September, but past years have shown that we shouldn’t get ahead of ourselves. Take last year for example. LSU running back Leonard Fournette seemed to have run away with the trophy in the opening months, before he faced the brick wall known as Alabama and lost all his momentum, not even getting an invite to New York for the Heisman ceremony. Week 3 saw the usual suspects continue to build their Heisman resumes, with pre-season favourites Deshaun Watson and Leonard Fournette starting to get on the right track, but not enough to crack my Top 5. The top two players from my Heisman rankings last week went head-to-head this past Saturday. Which player came out on top? How did it affect this week’s ranking? Found out below:
James Washington (WR, Oklahoma State)
It’s extremely rare for a wide receiver to win the Heisman Trophy, with the last player to win in the receiver role being Desmond Howard in 1991. I don’t see any wideout coming anywhere close to the Heisman Trophy this year, but this is why we have the Honourable Mentions section. Washington caught for 296 yards, including a 91-yarder on the first play of the game against Pittsburgh. He was 4 yards shy of the OSU school record, set by Adarius Bowman in 2006.
Jacob Eason (QB, Georgia)
There’s an impressive group of true freshman quarterbacks this year including Jalen Hurts from Alabama and Shane Beuchele out of Texas. But this week, Eason impressed with his composure down the stretch. Down by 6 to Missouri on the road late in the 4th quarter, the true freshman lobbed a pass to wideout Isaiah McKenzie on 4th and 10 for the game-winning touchdown. It’s an effort that should be recognised and may be Eason’s Heisman moment as of this point.
5) Jake Browning (QB, Washington) – WEEK 2: H/M
As mentioned last week, Browning and the Washington Huskies have quietly been under the radar so far this season. Browning added to his strong start by throwing for 163 yards and 4 TDs. The Huskies have a string of Pac 12 rivalry games over the next few weeks, which could not only affect Browning’s Heisman hopes, but Washington’s bid for a playoff spot.
4) Greg Ward Jr (QB, Houston) – WEEK 2: N/R
Ward was left out of last week’s Top 5 due to an injury which caused him to not play in Week 2. He returned back to action this week against Cincinnati and despite at times struggling with his niggling shoulder issue, Ward fought through and finished with 399 total yards of offense and 3 total TDs. As mentioned in previous weeks, Houston’s schedule is weaker than most of the Top 25 teams, which means less opportunities for Ward Jr to have his Heisman moment. But as long as Houston finish undefeated and make the playoffs, you can be assured Ward will be getting an invitation to New York.
3) Christian McCaffrey (RB, Stanford) – WEEK 2: #4
McCaffrey dropped in the rankings last week due to Stanford having a bye in Week 2, but picked up where he left off in a victory over USC. McCaffrey finished with 263 total yards, including rushing for 165 yards on the ground. The star tailback’s best moment was a 56-yard touchdown, where he ran down the sideine untouched. If McCaffrey can continue the form that saw him beat Barry Sanders’ long time total yardage record last season, he will make a return to the Heisman Trophy ceremony.
2) JT Barrett (QB, Ohio State) – WEEK 2: #3
Facing his toughest opponent so far this season, Barrett and the Buckeyes showed no slowing down. The Ohio State quarterback passed for 152 yards and 4 TDs, all four to wideout Noah Brown, while also adding 74 yards on the ground. Barrett has stayed consistent so far this season, with his only blemish being a pick six on the first play of the game in Week 1. This young Buckeyes squad will be a favourite to make the playoffs and it’s all thanks to the play of the redshirt junior.
1) Lamar Jackson (QB, Louisville) – WEEK 2: #1
Was there ever any doubt after his Cardinals demolished the former #2 ranked team in the nation? The dual-threat added 5 touchdowns to his season tally, finishing with 216 passing yards and 146 rushing yards. His opposing quarterback, last week’s #2 ranked player Deondre Francois, struggled and was left out of this week’s rankings. Jackson has had one of the hottest starts to a college football season, scoring 18 total touchdowns within the first 3 games, which is more than 114 FBS teams! He’s stretched his Heisman lead over the rest of his rivals, but as mentioned earlier, the Heisman Trophy isn’t awarded in September. Jackson’s next time to shine will be in two weeks against #5 Clemson at Death Valley, but for now, he’s become the poster boy of college football as well as this week’s #1 player in the Heisman rankings.