Much like the College Football Playoffs this year’s Heisman race has been like the Kentucky Derby, where the most consistent player would emerge as one of the finalists. Leonard Fournette and Trevon Boykin were clear favorites near midseason, but unproductive performances and injuries turned things around and opened up the door for others that were a bit more consistent.
In the last five seasons the Heisman Trophy has been handed to a quarterback. The Heisman candidates have mostly been quarterbacks, as they have a greater chance to accumulate stats. Mark Ingram was the last player who won the Heisman that wasn’t a signal caller.
Ingram was the hammer, heart and soul of the national championship run for the Crimson Tide in 2009. In spite of all the great success that Alabama has had in the storied program’s history Ingram was the first and only Heisman Trophy winner.
Leading the charge for this year’s Heiman race is junior running back Derrick Henry. Henry has been the epitome of durability and showmanship. In big games the Tide rolled on by leaning on the back of their big running back. Against LSU (his counterpart LSU running back Leonard Fournette), Henry rushed for 210 yards on 38 carries with three touchdowns, while Fournette was held to just 31 yards rushing. In the last two games against rival Auburn and in the conference championship game against Florida, Henry averaged 230 yards on 45 carries per contest. He’d go on to set the school season rushing record with 1,986 yards.
There isn’t a player in college football who has been more productive then Stanford’s sophomore running back Christian McCaffrey. McCaffrey has done everything asked of him on offense and special teams delivering an All-American season producing 3496 all-purpose yards in 410 plays on offense and special teams. Breaking the old mark held by Barry Sanders in 1988 of 3,250. Coincidently, that led to a Heisman win for the great running back. Could this be an omen for McCaffrey this Saturday in New York?
If you’re looking for consistency and a winner look no further than sophomore quarterback Deshaun Watson. Winner? Why? Because he has led the No. 1 ranked team in the country into the College Football Playoffs with the only undefeated record. Consistent? Well, let’s look at his stats. No they don’t jump off the page at you, but when you look at them you can see why he was so efficient, 69.5 percent passing over 3,500 yards in the air with 30 touchdowns and only 11 interceptions. That’s just under a 3:1 touchdown to turnover ratio in the passing game. Watson had 887 yards on the ground with 11 rushing touchdowns.
Each one of these players have a strong case to why they should be holding the Heisman Trophy and becoming part of an elite class in college football. so it will come down to the voters perception of what they think were the components to deciding what stood out with these finalists. How did they make a difference in the outcome of the games they played in this season? It’s closer than the experts may think. If you listen to talk then you probably have heard more talk about Derrick Henry running away with the trophy. Considering Christian McCaffrey plays out west and probably not a lot of the voters got to see him play. You hope they have gone pack and watched and give him a fair assessment and not overlook the mileage he has put on the field.