Heisman watch 2018: week 2
The much anticipated first week in college football has come and gone. This was the first week that any of this years’ crop of Heisman hopefuls were able to display their talents on the field against real competition.
Of course, there will be over reactions to the only statistics all of these players have recorded and the one week of film that fans can pour over. For Heisman hopefuls, every week is another audition, with every interception thrown, fumble lost or tackle missed acting as a blemish on their performance records. After week one, here are the players that project as the most likely to take home the 2018 Heisman Trophy.
1.) Will Grier, QB, West Virginia
Grier led the Mountaineers to a 40-14 victory over the Tennessee Volunteers in Knoxville, Tennesee on Satruday afternoon. The Charolette, North Carolina native totalted 429 passing yards and five passing touchdowns en route to a quarterback rating of 228. The Vols came into the competition ranked within the top 70 by SBNation, but the defense was absolutely shredded by Grier and his talented receiving corps, led by senior David Sills.
Time and time again Grier got the ball out of his hands and to an open man quickly and efficiently. He completed a pass to 10 different receivers throughout the game and really did a great job reading the Tennessee defense, picking them apart with ease with throws that displayed excellent touch, zip and accuracy.
Grier, despite being an excellent passer, also shows signs of elusiveness. One play in particular really stood out at the end of the first half. He was pursued by three Tennessee rushers while starting the play in the shotgun. The rushers chased Grier more than 20 yards behind the line of scrimmage before he escaped his pursuers, gaining around eight yards and getting out of bounds before halftime so his kicker could enter the game to nail a field goal.
It is the ability to show game awareness, leadership and poise alongside physical tools and big wins that really determine the winner of the Heisman. In week one, Will Grier displayed all of these qualities and deserves the lead in the Heisman race.
2.) Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin
Taylor has the privilege of running behind one of the best lines in college football year in and year out. When matched up against the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers, he followed blockers extremely well and displayed excellent vision while helping the Badgers win the game 34-3. He consistently found space to run through when exiting the backfield and hit his holes hard every time he found them.
Wisconsin’s sophomore lead back found pay dirt twice in the first contest of the year, leading the team with 145 yards on the ground. He only needed 18 carries to accrue his yardage, earning an 8.1 yards per carry average. His two touchdowns came on masterful runs that were both over 30 yards. His ability to take any rush to the house makes him a weapon that every opposing defense has to tailor a game plan around.
3.) Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma
Murray has major shoes to fill while he takes over the Oklahoma Sooners starting quarterback job after Baker Mayfield became the first overall pick in the NFL draft last year. The new quarterback is a human joystick and will absolutely break the ankles of any defenders coming his way. His speed and elusiveness were eye-popping to watch and the Florida Atlantic defense was terribly overmatched.
Murray led the way to an Oklahoma 63-14 win over an FAU squad that was receiving a lot of preseason hype, with returning head coach Lane Kiffin still at the helm. Murray enjoyed an incredibly efficient day in which he gathered 209 yards through the air, a completion percentage of 81.8, an outstanding 301.4 quarterback rating, and two passing touchdowns, one of which was a 65-yard dime that was thrown perfectly.
Many of Murray’s scrambles were awesome to watch and he consistently made throws that moved the chains or put points on the board. He could very well prove to be the offensive weapon that is the toughest to stop this year with all of the weapons that he possesses in his football arsenal.
Logan Dolby is a Junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him email email@example.com.