Week Eleven: Heisman Watch
Joe’s Pick - Jake Browning
As the college football season drags on, quarterback play will decide how well the team will perform. That is true when it comes to the University of Washington and their star sophomore quarterback Jake Browning.
Throughout the season, Browning has carried the high-octane Husky offense with great efficiency as his six touchdown performance against Cal would suggest. On the season, he has thrown for 34 touchdowns and only three interceptions.
The Huskies most challenging test of the season looms this week against an improved USC team. Washington is without top pass rusher Joe Mathis, so Browning will need to put up big numbers for a Husky victory.
Joe’s Pick - Deshaun Watson
The Clemson Tigers are another team that is currently undefeated and rely heavily on their star quarterback. While his numbers are not as good as they were last year, Deshaun Watson has guided his team to a top three ranking and to another run for a national title.
His performance against Syracuse was not that memorable as he only completed 13 passes for 169 yards and two touchdowns, but it only took him 16 attempts and his team won 54-0. This week, Clemson has a home game against Pittsburgh, meaning Watson could put up some huge numbers.
George’s Pick - Lamar Jackson
Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson is the odds-on favorite to win the Heisman Trophy, and be the first from Louisville player to ever take home the hardware.
Jackson has thrown 26 touchdowns while rushing for an additional 19, and sits 18 behind Colt Brennan’s single-season record set in 2006 for Hawai’i.
With three regular season games on the schedule and at-least one bowl game, Jackson has an opportunity to break a record untouched by Tim Tebow, Johnny Manziel, or Marcus Mariota.
George’s Pick - Jabrill Peppers
Jabrill Peppers could start at virtually every position on the football field and have the athleticism to be an All-American. While the stats don’t scream Heisman, the tangible talent does. Stats only tell 20% of the story.
Peppers has an opportunity to be the first defensive player to win the Heisman since Charles Woodson, although beating Lamar Jackson will require a miracle.
Stephen’s Pick - Saquon Barkley
Penn State’s sophomore stallion continues to impress the nation with his hard-running style and breakaway speed. In the last three games Barkley has averaged 157.6 yards per game, and has accounted for four touchdowns in the last two.
Barkley may not be a favorite to win the award this season, but his remarkable campaign has Penn State (7-2) on the verge of a major bowl bid -- which could garner attention and votes. He passes both the eye test and the statistical test, but needs to prove he can be the figurehead of a championship team.
With only three games left in the regular season against meager opposition, Barkley’s best hope to be in the Heisman conversation in December is for Penn State to miraculously make a Big Ten title game.
Stephen’s Pick - Donnel Pumphrey
The leading rusher in the nation (1,581 yards) has poised himself to be the dark horse of the Heisman race.
Pumphrey, a senior, has already nearly eclipsed his rushing total from a season ago, and shows no signs of backing down. The tough-nosed back has hit the 200 yard rushing mark on three occasions this season -- more than anyone in the nation.
San Diego State’s successful season, if continued, could benefit Pumphrey with votes, but the team’s mid-major status still makes him a long shot.
Joe Esquivel-Murphy is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism and Spanish. To contact him, email email@example.com.
George Stockburger is a senior majoring in journalism with a focus in broadcasting. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stephen Clouse is a Freshman majoring in broadcast journalism at Penn State. To contact him, email email@example.com.
About the Contributors
Senior / Broadcast Journalism