I don’t think I can remember anyone commanding such a strong early position in Heisman Trophy consideration as Lamar Jackson does right now.
If the vote were held today, it is hard to imagine anyone else garnering any first place votes. That said, there are nine more games to play and anything can happen. Just look at this week, one game resulted in top contender QB Deondre Francois (Florida State) falling off the map completely.
Others to Watch: QB Kenny Hill (TCU), RB Curtis Samuel (Ohio State), RB Mike Weber (Ohio State), QB Seth Russell (Baylor) QB Jalen Hurts (Alabama), QB Trevor Knight (TAMU), QB Jake Browning (Washington), QB Brad Kaaya (Miami).
10. RB Damien Harris (Alabama)—In two games against Power 5 competition, Harris has averaged 15.3 and 9.0 yard per carry. It is a crowded backfield, but he has emerged as the lead man, which, by default, makes him a Heisman contender.
9. ATH Jabrill Peppers (Michigan)—Coming out of high school, I thought Peppers, Fournette, and Myles Garrett formed the best trio at the top of the recruiting rankings I could remember. Each has delivered, and Peppers is a rare gem that dominates all facets of the game.
8. QB Davis Webb (Cal)—Here, there begins a significant dropoff in candidacies, but Webb boasts huge numbers (1349 passing yards) and earned a big win against Texas. If he beats Arizona State, buzz could spread.
7. RB Leonard Fournette (LSU)—Fournette remains an absolute beast, and he carried the team against Mississippi State. It was against Auburn that Fournette became an early frontrunner last season, and we will see if he can duplicate the success.
6. QB Deshaun Watson (Clemson)—The signal caller and preseason frontrunner coasted against South Carolina State, but conference play could allow him to begin to look like his 2015 self. With a strong team and chances to showcase, he can make a run.
5. RB Donnell Pumphrey (San Diego State)—Another 200+ rushing yard performance helps the Aztec rise up the list. Playing on the West Coast and for a non-Power 5 team makes him a major underdog, however, it is possible his team could run the table. His stats could also demand an invite, and, if others stumble, he could become an appealing candidate.
4. QB Greg Ward (Houston)—Ward has more interceptions (3) than games played (2), which hurts him. Still, no one questions his importance to his team, and he has thrown for 300+ yards in both contests. The coming stretch will allow him to accumulate stats, but, as of now, it looks like he needs to guide his team to a playoff berth to become truly relevant.
3. QB JT Barrett (Ohio State)—At this early point, the realistic conversation starts here. The Buckeye has put up strong touchdown numbers while his yardage lags a bit. If the ceremony were today, he’d be invited, but he’d be along for the ride. Still, he will have more opportunities to make his case.
2. RB Christian McCaffrey (Stanford)—If anyone were to steal a first place vote from Jackson, it would be the dynamic Cardinal. He now has eight games with 200+ all-purpose yards, and he will have the chance to shine with a visit to UCLA this week.
1. QB Lamar Jackson (Louisville)—He has the stats, he has the signature (dominant) win, and he is arguably the most important player in college football to his team’s success. Yes, Lamar Jackson has built up a massive lead early in this race.