THE Heisman trophy isn’t given out in October, but we can definitely narrow the list down. Preseason favourite Sam Darnold is nowhere to be seen while reigning winner Lamar Jackson is slowly slipping out of calculations with his team’s poor record. That has opened the door for Penn State Nittany Lions running back Saquon Barkley to cement himself as the favourite for college football’s highest honour. After Barkley and the now #2 Penn State had last week off, the rest of the field had a chance to gain ground on the popular pick.
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The Top Candidates
Bryce Love, Stanford, RB
LOVE’S season so far has been hard to believe so far. His mind-boggling 1387 rushing yards pace the entire FBS and he has brought up those lofty totals with just 135 attempts (good for 10.3 yards per carry). To put that into persepctive, Barkley has 649 yards on the ground from 102 carries (6.4 yards per carry). The Stanford back isn’t anywhere near as big of a factor in the passing game as Barkley is, but if he can keep rushing this way, breaking off big, long gains with regularity, he may walk away with the trophy at seasons end.
J.T. Barrett, Ohio State, QB
AFTER a Week 2 loss to Oklahoma in which Barrett threw zero touchdowns and his lone interception of the season, it would have been hard to see him emerge as a Heisman chance. What followed though was a five-game winning streak with Barrett helping the Buckeyes click into another gear offensively. Throughout those games, the senior quarterback has thrown over 1,300 passing yards and 18 TD’s while rushing for 232 yards (at 5.94 yards per attempt) and four scores. With Ohio State averaging over 50 points a game in those matches a clash against Barkley’s Lions in the near future looms as a mouth-watering (and Heisman defining) contest.
Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma, QB
THE leader of one of college football’s best teams, Baker Mayfield has been a consistent source of performance for the Sooners in 2017. It took him until the 7th game of the year to throw his first interception and he hasn’t thrown for less than 280 yards in any of his games so far this season. Looking ahead Oklahoma has some cushy matchups that could see them boost their playoff chances and as a result, see Mayfield pump up his numbers to bring him firmly in the mix for the trophy.
Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama, DB
PROBABLY the best defender on college’s best defense, Minkah Fitzpatrick has been doing it all for Nick Saban’s squad. The junior defensive back has an interception, a sack, 4.5 tackles for loss, a blocked kick, a forced fumble, four pass breakups and 32 tackles through seven matches. If he can continue to maintain production like this across the board and the Crimson Tide can continue to suffocate teams offensively, then the best defender in college may see his chances continue to soar.
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THERE is still plenty of time for someone not listed on this page to make a run at the trophy including Darnold or Jackson. However, what the above mentioned players have done can’t be taken away and another hot few stretch of games from players and their teams could help move each individual up the food chain. At this stage though it seems like Bryce Love and Saquon Barkley are going to be fighting it out come seasons end for the trophy and it will be interesting to see how both star halfbacks perform int he second half of the season/
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