There will be five extremely talented young men who will be in New York City this weekend in hopes of earning college football’s highest honor. On Saturday December 11th on 8 P.M. on ESPN at the Playstation Theater in Times Square, someone’s life will be changed forever. They will be introduced as “Heiman Trophy winner” for the rest of their lives. Here are the 2016 Heisman Trophy Finalists:
Louisville Cardinals Quarterback Lamar Jackson
Season Stats: 3,390 passing yards, 30 touchdowns, nine interceptions, 1,538 rushing yards, 21 touchdowns
Jackson has been the leading candidate since September and it comes to no surprise that he is the favorite going into this weekend. If he won the trophy, his 51 total touchdowns make him tied with Tim Tebow for the third most all-time by a winner (Sam Bradford and Marcus Mariota are the all-time leaders with 53). His 4,928 total offense yards would come in second all-time only to Ty Detmer’s record of 5,022. Critics will point to Louisville’s three losses, especially the last two games of the season against Houston and Kentucky, as well as Jackson padding his stats against the likes of Charlotte, Marshall, and Boston College. Criticism aside, Jackson is a special player who had an all-time great regular season.
Clemson Quarterback Deshaun Watson
Season Stats: 3,914 passing yards, 37 touchdowns, 15 interceptions, 524 rushing yards, six touchdowns
This is Watson’s second year in a row visiting New York for a chance at the Heisman, as the Clemson junior has been one of the best players in the country for two consecutive seasons. Both his passing and rushing yardage dripped from last season, along with his rushing touchdowns being cut in half and his interceptions rising only by two. Clemson fans will say Watson led the Tigers to back-to-back ACC Championships and College Football Playoff appearances, along with beating Jackson head-to-head back in October. Watson has a case, but it may not be strong enough.
Oklahoma Quarterback Baker Mayfield and Wide Receiver Dede Westbrook
Mayfield’s Season Stats: 3,669 passing yards, 38 touchdowns, 8 interceptions
Westbrook’s Season Stats: 1,465 receiving yards, 16 touchdowns, 227 kick return yards, 79 punt return yards, one punt return touchdown
The heart of the Sooners’ offense will be represented in New York. Mayfield has said he will be returning for his senior season and is spearheading the Westbrook for Heisman campaign. It will nice for the Oklahoma football program to be highlighted on the national stage, but they both are big underdogs to win the award.
Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers
Season Stats: 66 total tackles, one interception, 167 rushing yards, three touchdowns. 310 punt return yards, one punt return touchdown, 260 kick return yards
Michigan’s Swiss army knife proved to be one of the most valuable players in all of college football. The safety/linebacker is a special player who earned his right to be in New York. Peppers doesn’t have the stats like Jackson or the championship background of Watson so it will be hard to see him pulling off the upset. It’s most likely that Peppers will be leaving for greener pastures in the NFL, but he is one of the main reasons why Michigan football tickets are back to being one of the most sought out tickets in the nation.
Current Heisman Odds:
Lamar Jackson: Opened at 100-1, Currently at 1-30
Deshaun Watson: Opened at 5-1, Currently at 12-1
Jabrill Peppers: Opened at 60-1 Odds, Currently at 12-1
Baker Mayfield: Opened at 10-1 Odds, Currently at 100-1