The Heisman Trophy is still the most prestigious individual award in college football. Last year’s win by Lamar Jackson broke a streak of the trophy being given to the “best player on one of the best teams.” Will the trophy go back to being awarded to the player with the best season or will voters default to giving it to the top player on a Top 5 team?
Here’s a look at the top contenders for the trophy so far this season:
1. Baker Mayfield – QB, Oklahoma
Mayfield and Oklahoma have the best win of the young season at Ohio State by a margin of 31-16. Mayfield is completing an incredible 75% of his passes and has thrown 13 touchdown passes against zero interceptions. Mayfield’s QB rating is currently 40 points higher than his closest competitor.
Next high-profile game: Oct. 14 vs Texas
2. Bryce Love – RB, Stanford
Love leads the nation in rushing with 1,088 yards (217 per game) and is averaging an eye-popping 11.1 yards per carry (ypc). He also has eight rushing TDs. The major negative for Love right now is that his team already has two losses.
Next high-profile game: Oct. 7 at Utah
3. Saquon Barkley – RB, Penn State
Barkley is the nation’s leader in all-purpose yards with 1,218. He has 574 yards rushing and four rushing TDs, but where he’s really making a case is in the other areas of his game. He has 27 receptions (including 12 against Iowa) with two receiving TDs, he’s thrown a pass for a TD and he also has a 98-yard kickoff return for a TD.
Next high-profile game: Oct. 21 vs Michigan
4. Luke Falk – QB, Washington State
Contenders will ebb and flow during the season based on their teams performance and wins and losses. Falk leaps up the list this week due to a big win over USC. Falk is currently fifth in the nation in passing yards (1718) and fourth in completion percentage (74.5). He also has a fantastic 8:1 TD to INT ratio.
Next high-profile game: Oct. 7 at Oregon
5. Rashaad Penny – RB, San Diego State
The Aztecs are typically a team that stays out of the limelight, but they have had some big-time wins this year over Stanford and Arizona State, and have also won big games against Air Force and Northern Illinois. Penny ranks second in the nation with 823 yards rushing. He’s also scored seven rushing touchdowns and has a 7.09 ypc. In addition to his rushing prowess, Penny has 14 receptions with two receiving TDs. Like Barkley, Penny also has a kickoff return for a TD.
Next high-profile game: Oct. 14 vs Boise State
6. Lamar Jackson – QB, Louisville
Don’t count out the defending champ. Jackson currently leads the ACC with 1636 yards passing and has 13 TDs against three INTs. Jackson has also added 437 rushing yards and five rushing TDs.
Next high-profile game: Oct. 5 at North Carolina State
7. Jalen Hurts, Alabama
The numbers won’t jump off the page, but Hurts deserves to be in the discussion as long as he keeps producing and keeps Alabama’s offense humming along. The Tide currently rank 14th in total offense. Hurts currently has 747 yards passing and is completing 64% of his passes with 6 TDs versus 0 INTs. He also has 461 yards rushing with four rushing touchdowns.
Next high-profile game: Nov. 25 at Auburn
8. Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State
The early-season loss to TCU hurts Rudolph, but it doesn’t knock him out of contention. Rudolph is currently second in the nation with 1909 yards passing, he’s completing 67.6% of his passes and he has 16 TDs against four INTs. He’s also scored five rushing TDs.
Next high-profile game: Oct. 21 at Texas
9. Josh Rosen, UCLA
Two early losses have just about eliminated Rosen. However, Rosen leads the nation in passing yards with 2135. He also has an amazing first week comeback against Texas A&M on his resume. Rosen and UCLA will have to pull off a streak of wins down the stretch but don’t count him out quite yet.
Next high-profile game: Oct. 21 vs Oregon