Brett McMurphy’s Heisman Ballot: Will Grier Has a “Heisman Moment”

Stop the presses! Wait. Are there even any presses anymore?

I guess I’m showing my age with that newspaper reference and on Saturday, Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa showed he’s human by – stop the presses! – throwing his first interception of the season.

Tagovailoa’s streak of 194 consecutive passing attempts without an interception ended Saturday night in Baton Rouge against LSU. Tagovailoa’s dominance in the Heisman race did not end.

He remains the overwhelming favorite to win the Heisman Trophy and is still No. 1 on my ballot.

The next few spots have changed, though, since last week.

West Virginia’s Will Grier vaults up behind Tagovailoa after his “Heisman moment,” leading the Mountaineers to a come-from-behind win at Texas in the final minute. Grier’s “Heisman moment” was a 33-yard touchdown pass to Gary Jennings with 16 seconds remaining, and then the game-winning two-point conversion run.

Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray drops a spot to No. 3, while Washington State’s Gardner Minshew and Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins are Nos. 4 and 5, respectively.

I will update my list each Tuesday. However, I will not reveal my official Heisman ballot in the first week of December. The Heisman trust prohibits Heisman voters from disclosing their ballot until after the Heisman ceremony on Dec. 8.


My current top three:

1. Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama
Besides his first interception, another rarity occurred for Tua last week: he played in the fourth quarter (eight plays, one passing attempt). Against LSU, Tagovailoa threw his 295 yards – including 1-for-1 in the fourth quarter for 24 yards – and two touchdowns. For the season, he has 27 TD passes and that one interception.
Up next: Alabama hosts Mississippi State Saturday.

2. Will Grier, West Virginia
Since West Virginia’s loss at Iowa State, Grier, in two games vs. Baylor and Texas, has thrown for 699 yards, 6 TDs and no interceptions. Grier rallied the Mountaineers past Texas with a TD pass and game-winning 2-point conversion run in the final 16 seconds. For the season, Grier ranks in the top five nationally in TD passes (28) and yards passing per game (327 yards).
Up next: West Virginia visits Texas Saturday.

3. Kyler Murray, Oklahoma
Against Texas Tech last week, Murray became the first Sooner to throw for at least 300 yards and rush for at least 100 yards in a single game. He finished with 460 yards total offense (360 passing, 100 rushing). Murray ranks third nationally, averaging 363 yards per game. He has 31 passing TDs and seven rushing TDs.
Up next: Oklahoma hosts Oklahoma State Saturday.


If the Heisman would expand its ballot to five players (something I’ve been a proponent for to get more players to New York and asked the Heisman trust to consider – unfortunately they said no):

4. Gardner Minshew, Washington State
Minshew continued to display his passing talents in last week’s win against Cal (334 yards passing, one TD), but also showed he’s got legit hands. Late in the game on the sideline, he caught an errant Cal pass one-handed and then executed a perfect spike. Minshew is the nation’s leader in completions per game (37), attempts (51), passing yards (391) and one-handed, left-handed catches by a starting QB on the sideline (one).
Up next: Washington State visits Colorado.

5. Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State
Haskins was held to 252 yards passing last week against Nebraska, his second-lowest total of the season. After only throwing one interception in his first four games, Haskins has thrown five in Ohio State’s past five contests. Haskins is second nationally, averaging 339 yards per game and remains tied with Hawaii’s Cole McDonald as the national leaders with 32 TD passes.
Up next: Ohio State visits Michigan State Saturday.

Others who could move into my top five (in alphabetical order):
Eno Benjamin, Arizona State
Travis Etienne, Clemson
D’Eriq King, Houston
McKenzie Milton, UCF
Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin

My Heisman winner for last week:
WR Andy Isabella, UMass (9 receptions, 303 yards receiving, 2 TDs vs. Liberty)