Lamar Jackson returned to action following Louisville’s Week 6 bye, but Deshaun Watson is gaining momentum at exactly the right time. With two Heisman contenders gaining a bye in Week 7, it was up to the other candidates to take advantage of their absence with big games. However, there was a struggle to make the most out of these opportunities. Would there be any change to the Top 5? Here’s my Heisman rankings after Week 7:
Jalen Hurts (QB, Alabama)
Alabama’s true freshman sensation continues to excite with both his arms and legs but he does not crack the Top 5 this week. Hurts led the Crimson Tide to a 49-10 thrashing of Tennessee, throwing for 143 yards, while also running for 132 yards and 3 TDs. His main highlight was a 45-yard TD run which showcased his pace to outrun defenders. This output from the freshman was more yards than the entire Tennessee offense, which may be an example of how good the Bama defence is.
5) Jabrill Peppers (S/LB, Michigan) – WEEK 6: #5
After finally cracking my Top 5 last week, Peppers stays in the same position this week due to the fact he and his Michigan Wolverines had a bye this week. It would be unfair to this versatile superstar if he was knocked out of the rankings for not playing. Peppers resumes his Heisman campaign when his side takes on Illinois in Week 8.
4) Jake Browning (QB, Washington) – WEEK 6: #3
Browning is in the same situation as Peppers, as his Washington side had a bye. However, the one difference is that Browning moves down one spot due to the man behind him possibly gaining his Heisman moment so far this year in Week 7. The Huskies quarterback can still make ground up when Washington faces Oregon State this week.
3) J.T. Barrett (QB, Ohio State) – WEEK 6: #4
The Ohio State faced his toughest challenge of the year, taking on #8 Wisconsin in Madison. The game was tight throughout and eventually went to overtime, where Barrett may have gained his Heisman moment by throwing a go-ahead touchdown to receiver Noah Brown. That touchdown pass took Barrett past former Buckeye star Braxton Miller on the Ohio State all-time touchdown list. The Heisman candidate finished with 226 yard and 1 TD in the air, while adding 92 yards and 2 scores on the ground. After a sloppy performance in Week 6, Barrett has bounced back and is right in contention for the Heisman Trophy once again.
2) Deshaun Watson (QB, Clemson) – WEEK 6: #2
Watson was slowly making his way up the Heisman rankings, but seemed to hit a road bump this week in NC State. The fact that he couldn’t put away an unranked side at home is concerning, but as always, his composure down the stretch got Clemson home and kept his spot in the rankings. A go-ahead score to Mike Williams in overtime led Clemson to a 30-23 win. Watson finished with 378 passing yards and 2 touchdowns, adding 35 yards and 1 TD on the ground. The Clemson star has a bye this week, before getting a chance to continue his Heisman race against rivals Florida State the week after.
1) Lamar Jackson (QB, Louisville) – WEEK 6: #1
The gap is slowly closing, but Jackson continues to impress, even on his off nights. Week 7 saw him lead Louisville to a 24-14 win over Duke. On what many thought was a quiet night for Jackson, he finished with 325 total yards (144 passing, 181 rushing) and 2 touchdowns. A quiet night for Jackson is the equivalent of a top game for his fellow Heisman candidates. That’s how dominant he’s been this season. His total tally for the season is now at 30 touchdowns and he’ll be looking to build on that this week against NC State.