Photo Credit: Sports Illustrated (featured image), CBS Sports (team logos)
5. 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. However, it will be tough for him to edge out all four of the other finalists and pull it off.
4. 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, but he likely will not be the recipient of it.
3. Baker Mayfield, Quarterback, #7 Oklahoma Sooners (10-2)
- Statistics: 235/330 (71.2% completion percentage), 3,669 passing yards, 38 passing touchdowns, 8 interceptions, 74 rush attempts, 143 rushing yards, 6 rushing touchdowns
- Analysis: Baker Mayfield has shown that he belongs in the discussion for the Heisman Trophy award. He was among the preseason favorites to win the award, but a somewhat slow start held him back until recently. With the best completion percentage in the nation at 71.2% and the best passing yards per attempt statistic at 11.1, he really showed the world the quarterback that he is capable of being, and that quarterback is one that can blow the top off of any defense he faces. Now that Oklahoma is back up among the top teams in the nation in all of the polls and rankings and will play in the Sugar Bowl, Mayfield’s recent play is not going unnoticed nor underappreciated, and it has been enough to put him in among the finalists for the Heisman Trophy award. His odds of winning the award are not great, but he should finish pretty high up in the voting.
2. DeShaun Watson, Quarterback, #2 Clemson Tigers (12-1)
- Statistics: 328/486 (67.5% completion percentage), 3,914 passing yards, 37 passing touchdowns, 15 interceptions, 129 rush attempts, 529 rushing yards, 6 rushing touchdowns
- Analysis: Deshaun Watson started the season off slowly, but he picked it up very nicely down the stretch. Led by Watson, the Clemson Tigers have staved off some tough opponents this season, and Watson’s poise and passing numbers, especially in the clutch situations against the many tough teams he has faced, make him a contender to win this season’s Heisman Trophy award, much like he was last season. His rushing numbers are not extraordinary, but they still make him a solid dual threat quarterback. He deserves to be among the finalists to win the award, especially since he has led the Tigers to be in the College Football Playoff for the second consecutive season, but he may have to settle for another top 3 finish in the voting that does not deliver him the Heisman Trophy award.
1. Lamar Jackson, Quarterback, #13 Louisville Cardinals (9-3)
- Statistics: 220/382 (57.6% pass completion percentage), 3,390 passing yards, 30 passing touchdowns, 9 interceptions, 234 rush attempts, 1,538 rushing yards, 21 rushing touchdowns, 1 solo tackle, 1 total tackle
- Analysis: Lamar Jackson is the clear frontrunner to win the Heisman Trophy award this season. He totaled a 51 touchdowns through 12 games this season, and he did not even play all four quarters in each of those 12 games. His elite and electrifying passing and running skill set combination makes him the best overall quarterback in college football. This award is his to lose. He is one of the nation’s top passing quarterbacks, and he is the nation’s best running quarterback, as he is 8th among all players in the nation in rushing yards with 1,538 and is tied for 4th in the nation in rushing touchdowns with 21. Despite a rough game here and there, his weekly numbers back up his status as the Heisman frontrunner, and it is likely that he will walk away with the Heisman Trophy award this season.