After two weeks of the college football season it’s impossible to handicap the Heisman Trophy race. But it doesn’t stop any of us from trying in this edition of College Football America Heisman Watch.
In College Football America I put together what I felt was a comprehensive list of players that I felt had a shot at winning the Heisman. Some were legitimate. Some not so much. But it would appear that I completely missed one.
Florida State running back Dalvin Cook. Cook has to be part of the conversation now after rushing for 266 yards and three touchdowns against South Florida last weekend. In fact, with 422 yards in two games and five touchdowns, he’s the nation’s second-leading rusher behind Old Dominion’s Ray Lawry.
So Cook is on the list now. In fact, he’s crashing my Top 10, which means at least one player from my preseason Top 10 has to take a back seat, for now.
In this edition of Heisman Watch, we’ll start with our Top 10, followed by the legitimate dark horses. At this point no one is eliminated, but some are more involved in the race than others. Check out the College Football America 2015 Yearbook for the complete preseason list.
The Top 10
QB Trevone Boykin, TCU (remains in Top 10): Solid numbers through two games and they’re only going to get better as everything in that offense gels together.
QB Cody Kessler, USC (remains in Top 10): 650 passing yards and seven scores in two games. The Trojans are in the Top 10 nationally. Of course he’s in our Top 10.
QB Dak Prescott, Mississippi State (remains in Top 10): His passing numbers are solid, but he’s not in Top 50 nationally in rushing. He’s on shaky ground. We’ll have a better read by Week 4 when MSU faces Auburn.
QB Patrick Mahomes, Texas Tech (moves into the Top 10): Meet this year’s edition of Kenny Hill. Mahomes has put up huge numbers through two games. Let’s see how things go against Arkansas this weekend. This may be a quick trip to the Top 10.
RB Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio State (remains in Top 10): Seven straight games of 100 or more rushing yards. He has 223 yards and four touchdowns through two games. Bigger numbers are coming.
RB Nick Chubb, Georgia (remains in Top 10): Fourth in FBS in rushing with 309 yards and has a pair of touchdowns. A solid start.
RB Dalvin Cook, Florida State (moves into Top 10): As explained above.
RB Derrick Henry, Alabama (moves into Top 10): Top 20 in rushing yards and six touchdowns in two games.
RB Royce Freeman, Oregon (moves into Top 10 from Super Sophomores list): Vernon Adams Jr. isn’t lighting it up just yet, so Freeman has been the biggest part of Oregon’s offense with 288 rushing yards and four touchdowns.
WR Corey Coleman, Baylor (moves into Top 10): Coleman is the nation’s leading receiver on just 11 catches (360 yards, five touchdowns).
The Dark Horses
Cardale Jones and J.T. Barrett, QB, Ohio State (drops from Top 10): I wrote at the start of the season that first Ohio State had to make a decision as to who their starting quarterback would be, and it did. It’s Cardale Jones. But J.T. Barrett is playing enough to cannibalize any momentum Jones might have gathered toward the Heisman. So I also wrote this — if Urban Meyer chose to split reps early it would pave the way for running back Ezekiel Elliott to be a front-runner, and that’s where we are right now.
QB Connor Cook, Michigan State (drops from Top 10): I’m not sold on him being in the Top 10 anymore, even with the 2-0 record. His numbers are not huge, and his completion rate is below 60 percent. He moves to the dark horse list for now.
QB Jacoby Brissett, NC State (drops from Top 10): Brissett is off to a slow start (412 passing yards, three touchdowns), but like Cook it’s not nearly enough to drop him from the list yet. But, like Cook, he moves to dark horse.
RB Samaje Perine, Oklahoma (drops from Top 10): He’s not in the Top 50 among rushers in FBS. He needs to gain ground fast.
Keep an eye on: Cal quarterback Jared Goff. He is the dark horse that is closest to the Top 10, in my opinion, and he has a key contest with Texas this weekend where he can show he can put up big numbers on the road.
Top 10 preseason player that fall off our list
RB James Conner, Pittsburgh (drops from Top 10): He tore his MCL in the season opener. He’s making noise about coming back this season, but it won’t be enough to get back into this race.