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Louisville’s Jackson, Oklahoma’s Mayfield Among Heisman Finalists

NEW YORK, Dec. 5 (UPI) — As expected, Louisville’s Lamar Jackson and Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield were among the finalists announced Monday in the running to win the coveted Heisman Trophy this weekend.

Five student-athletes were named Monday by the Heisman Trust as finalists for the award, which honors the nation’s best college football player:

Lamar Jackson – QB – Louisville
3,390 passing yds / 1,538 rush yds / 51 TDs

Jackson, a sophomore quarterback at the University of Louisville, has been touted as the award’s frontrunner all season by most sports pundits — even though his performances have tailed off a bit in recent weeks in losses to underdogs Houston and Kentucky.

Jackson is Louisville’s first Heisman finalist and was named the Atlantic Coast Conference’s Player of the Year for 2016.

Baker Mayfield – QB – Oklahoma
3,669 pass yds / 38 TDs

A redshirt junior, Mayfield has also been on the Heisman radar all season. He becomes one of eight Oklahoma players to be named as a Heisman finalist and the first since quarterback Sam Bradford won the award in 2008.

Mayfield, who transferred to Oklahoma from Texas Tech in 2014, finished fourth in Heisman voting last year.

Jabrill Peppers – DB – Michigan
71 tackles / 3.5 sacks / 310 punt return yds

Peppers is the first defensive player named as a Heisman finalist since Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o in 2012. The junior is Michigan’s first finalist since 2003.

Peppers has also played on the offensive side of the ball, tallying 167 rushing yards as a tailback. No defensive back has won the award since Michigan’s Charles Woodson in 1997.

Deshaun Watson – QB – Clemson
3,914 pass yds / 529 rush yds / 43 TDs

A repeat finalist, like Mayfield, Watson finished third in Heisman voting last year and led Clemson to the national championship game against Alabama. Watson’s Tigers are back in the College Football Playoff again this season, where they will play Ohio State on Dec. 31.

The junior quarterback also led his team to its second consecutive ACC title last weekend.

Dede Westbrook – WR – Oklahoma
1,465 receiving yds / 16 TDs / 19.81 yds per catch

Like Mayfield, Westbrook is the first Oklahoma player named a Heisman finalist since 2008. His 16 touchdown receptions this season set a new school record.

Also one of three finalists for the Biletnikoff Award, which honors the nation’s top receiver, the senior athlete is the first wide receiver named as a Heisman finalist since Alabama’s Amari Cooper in 2014. No receiver has won the award since Michigan’s Desmond Howard in 1991.

All five finalists were invited to the award ceremony in New York City on Saturday (8 p.m., ESPN). The finalists were announced Monday by Woodson and Howard.

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