When it comes to the 2015 Heisman race, Week 9 presented an upsurge for the quarterback, as two signal-callers had statement games to considerably improve their candidacies for this award. With bye weeks sidelining four other candidates, the nation got to see two tremendous performances change the landscape in this chase for the Heisman, and college football fans abound witnessed the season debut of the College Football Playoff rankings, which shakes things up even more. Here’s my list of five candidates for the Heisman, entering Week 10, and with consideration towards the College Football Playoff rankings:
5. Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor.
Coleman’s bye week did nothing to hurt or help his Heisman stock. His huge season can’t be discredited due to Seth Russell’s unfortunate season-ending neck injury; he still remains one of the country’s elite receivers, needing ten touchdown catches to break Troy Edwards’ season mark of 27 from 1998. If he can put on an impressive display at Kansas State Thursday night post-Russell, he could sway me into moving him up a slot.
4. Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson.
Watson is the lone addition to this list, as Alabama’s Derrick Henry was removed completely from the list after placing at No. 4. Watson had arguably his best game of the season, throwing for five touchdowns and no interceptions, while completing 76 percent of his passes and rushing for 54 yards and a score in a 56-41 shootout win at North Carolina State on Halloween. Watson doesn’t have overall daunting numbers (1,936 pass yards, 20 touchdowns, seven interceptions), but he’s the focal point of a championship-level offense and the leader of the current No. 1 seed in this year’s College Football Playoff.
3. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State.
Unlike Coleman, this bye week did no favors for Elliott, who moved down a spot due to a certain quarterback’s dominant game last week. However, the 225-pound stud has the opportunity to give Buckeye fans a reason not to worry about the quarterback controversy between J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones by handling visiting Minnesota this Saturday. Elliott rushed for 91 yards with no touchdowns at Minnesota last year, so more’s expected of him to gain traction in the Heisman race.
2. Trevone Boykin, QB, TCU.
Currently rated as a 6th or 7th-round pick in next year’s draft, Boykin continues to throw shade on analysts who believe he’s a preseason roster cut, recording his sixth straight 300-plus-yard passing game, throwing for 388 and three touchdowns, while scrambling for 84 more yards and a touchdown in a 40-10 rout of West Virginia. While his TCU team has been slighted in the College Football Playoff ranks with a No. 8 spot, Boykin has kept on ascending to greater heights behind center, throwing for at least three touchdowns and no interceptions in four games this year—and he has more time to pad his Heisman resume Saturday at Oklahoma State. With the preemptive favorite playing a tough top-10 team Saturday, a good Boykin performance could close the gap for No. 1.
1. Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU.
No game, no foul. Fournette is the college game’s premier player and has the closest reach to that Heisman trophy. He still leads the nation in rushing yards, and can do more damage against the Heisman competition with a good game against fellow National College Football playoff contender and SEC rival Alabama.