The 2016 Heisman Trophy will be handed out Saturday night to one of five finalists – and we break down who has the best chance to bring it home.
Later this evening, one of the five top players in college football this season (well, four and a wide receiver from Oklahoma who took Dalvin Cook’s spot) will hear their name called as the 82nd winner of the Heisman Trophy as the top player in the sport this season.
While there has been one odds on favorite for much of the season (thanks in large part to his showing against the Seminoles), nothing is for sure until a name is called – just ask Peyton Manning in 1997 or Marshall Faulk in 1992 or even Larry Fitzgerald in 2003.
With that being said, lets take a look at what realistic chances each of the five finalists have of bringing home the most coveted individual trophy in all of college football.
Dec 3, 2016; Norman, OK, USA; Oklahoma Sooners wide receiver Dede Westbrook (11) eludes a tackle attempt by Oklahoma State Cowboys cornerback Darius Curry (2) during the second quarter at Gaylord Family – Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Dede Westbrook, WR, Oklahoma
This is going to be the one that has fans of the Seminoles fuming for the entire offseason. Cook had over 1,600 yards for the second straight season (and will likely break his own single season record in the bowl game) while Westbrook had just 1,400 receiving yards in the worst defensive conference in football (Cook also had 400 receiving yards and 19 total TD’s to Dede’s 16) .
Taking the personal thoughts out of it for a second, Westbrook likely got some Midwest and even Southwest votes from those who didn’t want to vote for one of the ACC quarterbacks and just needed a third name on their ballot. He’s nothing more than a seat filler.
Nov 26, 2016; Columbus, OH, USA; Michigan Wolverines linebacker Jabrill Peppers (5) runs as Ohio State Buckeyes defenders Terry McLaurin (83) and Eric Glover-Williams (19) pursue during the second quarter at Ohio Stadium. Michigan Wolverines lead at half 10-7. Mandatory Credit: Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports
Jabrill Peppers, LB/RB, Michigan and Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
Peppers is the sexy name for those who look at the fact he plays both sides of the ball – thus making him some kind of amazing player. Yes, he’s good and will be heading to the show next season…but let’s take a look at his stats:
Defense: 66 tackles, three sacks and one interception
Offense: 27 carries for 167 yards and three touchdowns (Dalvin did better vs. Clemson)
Special teams: 31 returns for 570 yards and a touchdown
He’s heading to New York City because of the Midwest voters who are drinking some rotten punch.
Dec 31, 2015; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) throws against the Clemson Tigers during the first half of the 2015 CFP semifinal at the Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Mayfield, meanwhile, has the same issue that his wide receiver finalist is also dealing with: he put up some great numbers playing in a God awful conference defensively that allowed for him to do so.
His numbers can’t be argued when it comes to his place as one of the best quarterbacks in college football this season. Unfortunately, there are two other quarterbacks joining him in the Big Apple who will be finishing ahead of him in the voting.
Jan 11, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; Clemson Tigers quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) walks off the field after loosing to the Alabama Crimson Tide in the 2016 CFP National Championship at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
At the start of the season, the Tigers’ starting signal caller was already booking his flight and getting a new suit for this ceremony – he was that much of a sure fire bet to be a finalists and likely the winner after being one of the final three last season.
Watson saw a slight did in yardage and threw a couple more interceptions this season after a 2015 campaign where he was so close to being a national champ. Still, No. 4 was without a doubt one of the best players in all of college football this season.
Despite beating one of the other finalists head to head, Watson is going to need a split in East and Southeast voters and some help from across the country if he is going to bring home the hardware.
Sep 17, 2016; Louisville, KY, USA; Louisville Cardinals quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) avoids the tackle of Florida State Seminoles linebacker Dontavious Jackson (5) during the second quarter at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports
Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
For much of the season, the man wearing No. 8 for the Cardinals has been a human highlight film that was in the driver’s seat for this award. It started with 25 total touchdown in the month of September – including five of them in a blowout win over Florida State that we want to act as if it didn’t happen.
Even with a late season slide that saw Louisville lose their final two games and Jackson go for five touchdowns and three interceptions of that span, many of the voters had already decided that he was going to be the anointed winner in 2016.
If Jackson does bring home the hardware, he will make history as the first non-FSU player to win the award while their school was in the ACC. He would also become just the fifth player in the last 30 seasons to win the award with three losses during the regular season (Tim Brown in 1987, Ricky Williams in 1998, Tim Tebow in 2007 and Robert Griffin III in 2011).
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