FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, Sporting Alert – The Associated Press named its top four players – all quarterbacks – currently leading the way in the race for this season’s Heisman Trophy.
As expected, Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson is the front-runner, but he is up against a difficult task of keeping that status with the schedule that is ahead of him.
After their bye week, Jackson and the Cardinals return to action on Friday night against Duke.
With only one current AP Top 25 team left on its list of games to be played this season, Jackson and Louisville, who own the No. 1 offense in the nation at 58 points per game, have a great opportunity to pad up their stats with some one-sided victories, starting with the game a Blue Devils at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.
So far this season from five games, Jackson has passed for 1,625 yards and rushed for 688 yards and has a combined total of 28 touchdowns – with 14 on each side.
Meanwhile, hot on his trails are three other players who are capable of surpassing the Louisville QB in the Heisman Trophy race at any given time.
Given that the games left on Jackson’s list will hardly draw any national attention, the likes of Deshaun Watson, Jake Browning and Greg Ward Jr., are all poised to overtake the Cardinals’ QB, should he slip up at any point in time during the season.
Sitting at No. 2 at the moment in the race for the college football most decorated individual honour is Clemson’s Watson, who has thrown for 1,572 yards and 18 touchdowns and has 244 rushing yards so far.
Watson and the Tigers (6-0) started the campaign slowly but has picked thinks up the last two games, with him passing for nine of his total 18 touchdowns this season in those two outings only.
Next up for Watson and Clemson is a collision with North Carolina State, which ranks fifth in the ACC in defense at 4.47 yards per play.
The 6-3 junior from Gainesville, GA, threw for 383 yards and five touchdowns and ran for another score in the 56-41 win against the Wolfpack last term.
The Associated Press has also named Jake Browning at No. 3 in the race for the Heisman Trophy after some impressive performances for the fifth-ranked Washington this season.
Browning has quietly been going about doing his business this season, but confidently put his signature on the list of solid front-runners for the honour when accounting for eight touchdowns, including six in the air, in a 70-21 rout of Oregon at the weekend.
Browning, who leads the country in touchdown passes, with 23 and efficiency rating, of 204.90, has also thrown for 1,418 yards.
The fourth man on the list is Houston’s Greg Ward Jr., despite him failing to lead his team past an unranked Navy side last weekend.
Ward Jr. threw for 359 yards and three touchdowns and ran for another score and 94 yards against Navy, but also threw two interceptions, including a pick-six, in the Cougars’ first loss with him as a starting quarterback since 2014.
He and Houston get the chance of turning that result around against Tulsa this coming weekend.
In the meantime, the watchlist outside the front four also includes two more quarterbacks and two runners.
Ohio State’s J.T. Barrett, Patrick Mahomes of Texas Tech, Jabrill Peppers of Michigan, Dalvin Cook from Florida State and San Diego State and Donnel Pumphrey, are the five others to watch for the Heisman Trophy.
AP HEISMAN TROPHY LIST
1. Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville (21 points)
2. Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson (11 points)
3. Jake Browning, QB, Washington (8 points)
4. Greg Ward Jr., QB, Houston (2 points)
FIVE OTHERS TO WATCH
Jabrill Peppers, LB/RB/PR, Michigan
J.T. Barrett, QB, Ohio State
Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
Donnel Pumphrey, RB, San Diego State
Patrick Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech.