It’s never too early to speculate about the 2016 season, even though its start is more than six months away.
Coforepr takes a look at the Heisman Trophy race, ranking the top 15 candidates. (“Candidates” seems to be an appropriate word in this election year, right?)
15) Joshua Dobbs Tennessee QB
. He’s completed over 60% of his passes in his three years in Knoxville, but more impressive
. is the way he’s cut down on interceptions. Over his first two seasons Dobbs threw one pick in
. every 25 pass attempts. In 2015, his third season, it was one interception in every
. 69 attempts.
14) Calvin Ridley Alabama WR
. As a true freshman Ridley caught 89 passes for 1,045 yards and seven touchdowns for the
. national champions. He’s the only receiver on this list.
13) Josh Rosen U.C.L.A. QB
. Here’s another true freshman who put up impressive numbers. Rosen averaged 282
. passing yards per game.
12) Samaje Perine Oklahoma RB
. Despite sharing time with Joe Mixon, Perine ran for 1,349 yards and 16 touchdowns. He had
. over 130 yards rushing in each of the Sooners’ three big November games: Baylor, T.C.U. and
. Oklahoma State.
11) DeShone Kizer Notre Dame QB
. He plays the highest profile position at a high profile school. One question: Can he keep the
. starting job that Malik Zaire will try to win back?
10) Seth Russell Baylor QB
. In seven games before his season-ending neck injury: 29 touchdown passes and over 2,100
. yards. Russell also ran for 402 yards and another six scores. Like Kizer, he’ll get a challenge
. from within for the job. Think Jarrett Stidham.
9) Chad Kelly Mississippi QB
. His last four games came against tough competition – bowl teams Arkansas, Louisiana State,
. Mississippi State and Oklahoma State. In those contests Kelly threw 11 touchdown passes with
. only one interception.
8) Royce Freeman Oregon RB
. Impressive numbers: 1,836 yards rushing, 17 touchdowns, 6.5 yards per carry.
7) Nick Chubb Georgia RB
. In five games before injuring his knee early in the Tennessee game, Chubb accumulated 745
. yards on 91 carries for a scintillating average of 8.2 yards per carry. If he can stay healthy for
. the whole 2016 season…
6) J.T.Barrett Ohio State QB
. The offense will be his and his alone. Lest we forget, Barrett finished 5th in the 2014 Heisman
5) Dalvin Cook Florida State RB
. He racked up almost 1,700 yards on the ground despite limiting injuries. Cook had 13 carries
. of 30 yards or more.
4) Baker Mayfield Oklahoma QB
. A second Sooner on this list? Absolutely! Mayfield threw 35 touchdown passes in 2015 against
. only 5 interceptions.
3) Christian McCaffrey Stanford RB
. He broke the FBS single-season record for all-purpose yards with 3,864 in 14 games. That’s an
. average of 276 yards per game! McCaffrey finished second in the 2015 Heisman voting.
2) Leonard Fournette Louisiana State RB
. He led the nation in rushing with 162.8 yards per game, almost 15 yards per game more than
. Derrick Henry, who was second.
1) DeShaun Watson Clemson QB
. Big time players step up in the big games. In the two College Football Playoff games in which
. Clemson participated, Watson averaged 296 yards passing and 109 yards rushing! He threw
. four touchdown passes against national champion Alabama’s stingy defense.
. Watson’s the favorite, and there’s no doubt he’ll lead a prolific offense in 2016. The only thing
. that could derail his candidacy is three or more losses by the Tigers, who will field a rebuilt
For those who like dark horses and long shots, coforepr will offer three.
In alphabetical order…
* Myles Garrett Texas A&M DE
. If we knew a strictly defensive player was going to win a Heisman for the first time ever, this
. sack machine would be the best bet.
* Brad Kaaya Miami (Fla.) QB
. He’ll fit perfectly with new coach Mark Richt’s pro-style offense. Kaaya: “I couldn’t have asked
. for a better scenario to finish my last two years of college.”
* Greg Ward Jr. Houston QB
. He completed over 68% of his passes in 2015.
. A grand performance in a season-opener at NRG Stadium in Houston against Oklahoma would
. be a fantastic kick-start to his candidacy.