There has been little mystery in the race for the Heisman Trophy this season. One player got off to a fast start and has yet to look back. Entering the home stretch of the regular season, the Heisman favorite resides in the ACC. Though he stands above the rest, he isn’t the only man in the conference having a trophy-worthy season.
1) Lamar Jackson, Quarterback, Louisville
Jackson is the Heisman front-runner, and he has been for weeks now. Ever since he broke onto the scene with eight touchdowns in Week One, it has been his race to lose. Jackson has registered at least seven touchdowns in three different games and now has more yards and total touchdowns than most small island nations. This week, Wake Forest should put up little resistance. The trophy is his if he just remains consistent the rest of the way.
2) DeShaun Watson, Quarterback, Clemson
Watson is one of the preseason favorites for the Heisman who actually has not faded from the picture. Though his 2016 season has been good, his main issue is comparisons to himself. He isn’t nearly as good as he was a season ago, and thanks to a number of sketchy and close victories, neither is his team. Clemson doesn’t have an elite opponent remaining on its schedule, so Watson should do well, but it’s hard for him to make up ground at this point.
3) Mitch Trubisky, Quarterback, North Carolina
Alas, if not for that game in monsoon conditions against Virginia Tech! Trubisky has been amazing through nearly every game this season. The only week when he failed to reach the endzone, and the only game in which he has thrown an interception, came in the pouring rain and wind against the Hokies. It’s a shame that this one performance, coupled with a mediocre and unimpressive week one that slid him safely under the national radar, is enough to essentially remove him from realistic Heisman contention, but it’s the case. A stellar final three weeks could get him into the finalist discussion, though there is no reason to expect that he will be the winner.
4) Dalvin Cook, Running Back, Florida State
Cook has been good; he is always good. He hasn’t been great though. With the disappointing season his team is having around him, it won’t be enough to challenge for an award that he was one of the preseason favorites to receive.
5) Amba Etta-Tawo, Wide Receiver, Syracuse
Perhaps Etta-Tawo isn’t the best receiver in the ACC. That is Mike Williams. Maybe he isn’t the most valuable to a contender. That’s Isaiah Ford. But he is having the best season, and it’s not particularly close. After a very strong first month, Etta-Tawo needs to finish strong to get his name back out there. Realistically, the Heisman is out of reach. That said, the Georgia native has just been invited to the Senior Bowl and the publicity that surrounds an end-of-season Heisman push could greatly benefit Etta-Tawo.