Photo Credit: matiastanea.gr (featured image), CBS Sports (team logos)
15. Joe Mixon, Running Back, #7 Oklahoma Sooners (10-2)
- Statistics: 168 rush attempts, 1,183 rushing yards, 8 rushing touchdowns, 32 receptions, 449 receiving yards, 5 receiving touchdowns, 1/1 (100% completion percentage), 26 passing yards, 1 passing touchdown, 4 punt returns, 25 punt return yards, 21 kickoff returns, 494 kickoff return yards, 1 kickoff return touchdown
- Analysis: Joe Mixon is one of the most “do-it-all” offensive players in the country, and his scrimmage yardage total of 1,632, which ranks 15th in the country, and his all-purpose yardage total of 2,151, which ranks 5th in the country, show exactly why he has earned a spot on this list of players who will at least get a second glance when the play whom the Heisman Trophy award will be award to is decided on.
14. Jonathan Allen, Defensive End, #1 Alabama Crimson Tide (13-0)
- Statistics: 27 solo tackles, 29 assisted tackles, 56 total tackles, 13 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks, 1 interception, 2 fumble recoveries, 2 touchdowns, 2 passes defensed
- Analysis: Jonathan Allen is the best defensive lineman in the country. His ability to get to the quarterback and make a difference in the play of opposing offenses on pretty much every snap is what sets him apart from the average defensive lineman and it is what makes him the undisputed leader of the Alabama defense, a defense that has allowed over two touchdowns in a game just twice this season in 13 games. The impact he has on opposing teams puts him in the Heisman Trophy award discussion.
13. Jabrill Peppers, Linebacker, #6 Michigan Wolverines (10-2)
- Statistics: 46 solo tackles, 21 assisted tackles, 67 total tackles, 13 tackles for loss, 4 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 1 interception, 1 pass defensed, 21 punt returns, 310 punt return yards, 1 punt return touchdown, 10 kickoff returns, 260 kickoff return yards, 27 rush attempts, 167 rushing yards, 3 rushing touchdowns, 2 receptions, 3 receiving yards
- Analysis: Jabrill Peppers is always one of the best players on the field, especially when he is out there on defense and special teams. He can also catch and run the ball effectively on offense, which shows that he can basically play every position on the football field and play it well. Averaging 6.2 yards per carry rushing the ball this season, he has rushed for three touchdowns to prove his offensive prowess in addition to how explosive he is on defense. He would not be your typical Heisman Trophy award winner, but he has a chance to win the award this season based solely on how well he plays.
12. Dede Westbrook, Wide Receiver, #7 Oklahoma Sooners (10-2)
- Statistics: 74 receptions, 1,465 receiving yards, 16 receiving touchdowns, 7 rush attempts, 84 rushing yards, 0/2 (0% completion percentage), 4 punt returns, 79 punt return yards, 1 punt return touchdown, 8 kickoff returns, 227 kickoff return yards, 1 solo tackle, 1 total tackle
- Analysis: Dede Westbrook was the go-to wide receiver for Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield, and for all the right reasons. Westbrook may very well be the most explosive wide receiver in the nation, and his recent play gives us no reason to believe otherwise. He is 5th in the nation in receiving yards with 1,465 and leads the nation in yards per reception among players with over 59 catches with a 19.8 yards per reception average. He is also tied for 4th in the nation in receiving touchdowns with 16. Westbrook is the real deal at the wide receiver position. As such, he is a candidate for the Heisman Trophy award.
11. Sam Darnold, Quarterback, #9 Southern California Trojans (9-3)
- Statistics: 213/313 (68.1% completion percentage), 2,633 passing yards, 26 passing touchdowns, 8 interceptions, 57 rush attempts, 230 rushing yards, 2 rushing touchdowns, 2 solo tackles, 2 total tackles
- Analysis: Ever since not getting a lot of playing time and taking over quarterback Max Browne’s role as the USC starting quarterback in week 4, Darnold has played lights out and has led the Trojans on a 8-game winning streak. Had he played the whole season, he may be higher on this list, and the Trojans may very have had a chance at a Pac-12 Conference championship and even a berth in the College Football Playoff. In the time he has played, he has been one of the best quarterbacks in the country, and that is why he deserves a spot on this list.