Photo Credit: buckeyeextradispatch.com (featured image), CBS Sports (team logos)
10. D’Onta Foreman, Running Back, Texas Longhorns (5-7)
- Statistics: 323 rush attempts, 2,028 rushing yards, 15 rushing touchdowns, 7 receptions, 75 receiving yards
- Analysis: D’Onta Foreman did not have a game this season during which he totaled under 124 rushing yards or 131 scrimmage yards, and he consistently ran all over opposing defenses. He is one of the most consistently dominant running backs in the nation, and he is 2nd in the nation in rush attempts and 1st in rushing yards despite missing a game early in the season. He may not be a great pass catching running back, but he has still totaled the 3rd highest scrimmage yard total in the nation with 2,103 because of his outstanding production in the running game, which boosts his stock as a Heisman Trophy award candidate.
9. Donnel Pumphrey, Running Back, San Diego State Aztecs (10-3)
- Statistics: 330 rush attempts, 2,018 rushing yards, 16 rushing touchdowns, 26 receptions, 205 receiving yards, 0/1 (0% completion percentage), 1 kickoff return, 6 kickoff return yards
- Analysis: This season, Donnel Pumphrey was one of the best running backs in college football. He led all running backs in rush attempts with 330, he was 2nd in the nation in rushing yards with 2,018, and he led the nation in scrimmage yards with 2,223. He was also tied for 7th in the nation among running backs in rushing touchdowns with 16. He is also a very efficient running back, as he averaged 6.1 yards per rushing attempt. Pumphrey has put his team on his back and performed well above average each week in the running game. He is certainly deserving of a second look as Heisman Trophy award candidate.
8. Dalvin Cook, Running Back, #11 Florida State Seminoles (9-3)
- Statistics: 268 rush attempts, 1,620 rushing yards, 18 rushing touchdowns, 30 receptions, 426 receiving yards, 1 receiving touchdown, 1 solo tackle, 1 assisted tackle, 2 total tackles
- Analysis: Dalvin Cook has emerged as a really good pass catching back in addition to one of the best runners in the nation. He is 6th in the nation in rushing yards with 1,620, 5th in the nation in scrimmage yards with 2,046, and 4th in the nation among running backs in rushing touchdowns with 18. The combination of his extremely effecting running ability with his effective receiving ability make him one of the most well-rounded running backs and toughest running backs to stop in college football, and that has been the case all season long, which is why he sits on this list of Heisman Trophy award candidates.
7. Christian McCaffrey, Running Back, #18 Stanford Cardinal (9-3)
- Statistics: 253 rush attempts, 1,603 rushing yards, 13 rushing touchdowns, 37 receptions, 310 receiving yards, 3 receiving touchdowns, 10 punt returns, 96 punt return yards, 14 kickoff returns, 318 kickoff return yards
- Analysis: Based on his super high expectations coming off of an impressive 2015 season during which he broke the all-purpose yards record or a single season record, McCaffrey’s season thus far has been an underachievement. Nonetheless, despite missing a game with an injury, he has still put up rushing, receiving, and returning numbers that are well above average for any running back and total the highest amount of all-purpose yards with 2,327 and 7th highest amount of scrimmage yards out of any player in the country with 1,913, which is enough to put him in the Heisman Trophy award discussion for the 2nd consecutive season.
6. JT Barrett, Quarterback, #3 Ohio State Buckeyes (11-1)
- Statistics: 214/346 (61.8% pass completion percentage), 2,428 passing yards, 24 passing touchdowns, 5 interceptions, 194 rush attempts, 847 rushing yards, 9 rushing touchdowns
- Analysis: JT Barrett is as athletic of a quarterback as they come, and he led another Ohio State Buckeyes team to the College Football Playoff. Barrett is not a great passing quarterback, but his rushing numbers help to make up for it, despite them not being too spectacular either. Combined, his passing and rushing numbers make him one of the best quarterbacks in college football, which helps his case of being on this list. He is a big-time playmaker who posts statistics that are well above average and leads his team to quality victories, which is exactly what you would want from a serious Heisman Trophy award candidate.