Theismann Never Won the Heisman but These Guys Could

By  USDR

The 2017 NCAA Division I FBS football season is almost upon us and amongst the many preseason questions is who will win the Heisman trophy? In a way, though, it is an easier task to say who is not going to win. the last non-quarterback, non-running back player to earn the award was cornerback Charles Woodson 20 years ago, so it’s safe to say that it will come down once again to either one of those two. Additionally, running back Archie Griffin is the man who can lay claim to winning the trophy twice, so history is not on Lamar Jackson’s side. That leaves us with the following  candidates.

Sam  Darnold

  • Team: USC Trojans
  • Position: Quarterback
  • Class: Redshirt Sophomore

Darnold was the recipient of the Touchdown Club of Columbus’ 2016 Archie Griffin Award to college football’s most valuable player for the entire college football betting season – becoming the first freshman to earn that accolade. Four Archie Griffin Award have gone on to win the Heisman trophy; Matt Leinart, Troy Smith, Johnny Manziel, and Jameis Winston. The Trojans are 9-1 with Darnold as starting QB, including winning the 2017 Rose Bowl. On August 2nd NFL.com ranked Darnold as the top signal caller in college football, citing “an outstanding combination of athleticism, arm talent, poise and confidence” as well as “exceptional timing, anticipation and accuracy as a rhythm  passer.”

Baker Mayfield

  • Team: Oklahoma Sooners
  • Position Quarterback
  • Class: Redshirt Senior

NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah compared Mayfield to both Johnny Manziel and Colt McCoy. One would take McCoy – or almost anyone else really – over Manziel any day except for the fact that Johnny Football actually won the Heisman McCoy didn’t (sadly Mayfield has already displayed Manziel-like traits in his personal life). Per NFL.com, “Mayfield is a superb quick-rhythm passer with a lightning-fast release and a decisive approach” but his “efficiency and range as a deep-ball thrower” still need  work.

JT Barrett

  • Team: Ohio State Buckeyes
  • Position: Quarterback
  • Class: Redshirt Senior

Barrett has won his share of awards in his young life; Chicago Tribune Silver Football Award, Thompson–Randle El Freshman of the Year, Griese–Brees Quarterback of the Year, Offensive MVP of the 2016 Fiesta Bowl, etc, but this will be his last chance to nab the Heisman trophy. And the consensus seems to be that he must somehow find a way to return to his 2014 form, which is easier said than done. Cleveland.com helpfully suggests that he should stop “thinking so much.” Way to uphold the dumb jock stereotype,  guys.

Saquon Barkley

  • Team: Penn State Nittany Lions
  • Position: Running back
  • Class: Sophomore

The first running back on the list, Barkley has set Penn State records for rushing yards in a season by a freshman (1,076) and by a sophomore (1,496) and is considered by many, such as ERSPN, to be among the elite in his position. Additionally, he has been compared to Dallas Cowboy Ezekiel Elliott by the aforementioned Jeremiah – something with which Ohio State head coach ‘Pope’ Urban Meyer agrees. “It’s probably pretty fair. I think he’s that quality of a back, that quality of a worker from everything I hear and read. I think that’s very fair,” Meyer  said.

All opinions expressed on USDR are those of the author and not necessarily those of US Daily Review.