Sure, it’s only been one week – well, technically, two if you count “week zero”…okay, one and a half because there are still games to be played today and tomorrow…okay, you know what I mean. Point is, it’s never too early to break down who has the best shot at winning the Heisman Trophy three and a half months from now.
1. Tua Tagovailoa – QB, Alabama Crimson Tide
One of the top two favorites to win the award going into the season, the Alabama QB got a head start on the race for the Heisman in the opening week, putting up near-perfect numbers on the Duke Blue Devils. His 26-for-31, 336-yard performance included four touchdown passes in the Tide’s 42-3 demolition of Duke.
2. Justin Fields – QB, Ohio State Buckeyes
In fairness, while his competition in Florida Atlantic wasn’t the toughest in the world, Fields looked mighty impressive during Ohio State’s “Big Noon” game. In one six-minute span, Fields was perfect on four passes for 71 yards and two touchdowns, and also rushed for a 51-yard touchdown. Ohio State cruised the rest of the way to a 45-21 win.
3. Sam Ehlinger – QB, Texas Longhorns
Texas needed a strong start to convince the nation they were worthy of playoff contention, and boy, did they get it from Ehlinger. The junior QB tied a career high with four touchdown passes while throwing for 276 yards and rushing for 34 – an impressive feat considering that Ehlinger left the game after the third quarter when the game was already beyond reach.
4. Travis Etienne – RB, Clemson Tigers
After a breakthrough sophomore season with the Tigers, Etienne has already made progress toward breaking his own single season rushing record with his 205-yard, three touchdown game against Georgia Tech. Scarily, those yards came on only 12 carries, bringing his yards per carry to a whopping 17.1, meaning this may be far from Etienne’s finest work. 90 of those yards came on one gallop, the longest of his career to this point.
5. Jerry Jeudy – WR, Alabama Crimson Tide
While Alabama’s quarterback is a surefire Heisman contender, there’s no reason to overlook his main wide receiver, who was as dependable as ever against Duke. Jeudy hauled in 10 of Tagovailoa’s 26 completions for 137 yards, including one touchdown. Suffice it to say, there’s a reason that Mel Kiper has Jeudy ranked #1 on his big board.
6. Joe Burrow – QB, LSU Tigers
No one expected a close game when LSU met Georgia Southern. (Then again, no one expected Georgia State to beat Tennessee, and look what happened there.) That said, Joe Burrow put on a clinic against the GSU Eagles, throwing for 278 yards and five touchdowns – all of which came in the first half. The numbers could have been even gaudier had Burrow not headed to the bench midway through the third quarter.
7. Jonathan Taylor – RB, Wisconsin Badgers
Taylor is one of those distinctly Big Ten athletes who you could swear has been playing for his school since 2005. He had four total touchdowns on 183 yards combined rushing and receiving; the fact that he is now a threat in the passing game adds a whole new element to his arsenal. Wisconsin is a run-first team, but with him as a dual threat it will open up the team’s options