The 2016 Heisman Trophy finalists have been announced. With five worthy candidates, this year’s field is stacked.
The college football postseason is upon us. On Monday, one day after 80 teams learned what bowl games they’d be playing in, the Heisman Trust released its finalists for the 2016 Heisman Trophy. Here’s a look at this year’s candidates.
2016 Heisman Trophy Finalists
Lamar Jackson – Louisville QB
Jackson was a human video game this season, posting obscene numbers in the nation’s top-scoring offense. Under his watch, Louisville averaged 45.3 points while racking up 558.8 yards per game (No. 2 nationally).
Individually, Jackson was the nation’s top rushing quarterback (1,538 total yards), and his 128.17 yards per game was ninth-best of all players in college football. His 4,928 total yards of offense resulted in 51 touchdowns. Jackson was the Heisman headliner for the majority of the season.
Baker Mayfield – Oklahoma QB
Oklahoma started slowly, and finished as strong as anyone in the nation by running the table against the entire Big 12 slate. Little, if any, of Oklahoma’s struggles this year were because of Mayfield.
Mayfield led the nation in completion percentage (71.2) and QB rating (197.75). His 38 touchdown passes were second in the Big 12.
Jabrill Peppers – Michigan ATH
It’s impossible to put Jabrill Peppers in a box, and his presence is not one that can be understood by pouring over a stat sheet. Peppers played nearly every position in Michigan’s secondary and linebacking corps, captaining a unit that allowed only 12.5 points and 252.7 yards per game (both ranking No. 2 nationally).
On offense, Peppers lined up in the wildcat formation to throw defenses off balance. He allowed a team that entered the season with shaky quarterback play to keep the offensive play calling fresh.
With three rushing touchdowns, one punt return for a score, one interception, three sacks, 15 tackles for a loss and 71 total tackles, Peppers staked his claim as the best all-around player in college football.
Deshaun Watson – Clemson QB
Watson is the quintessential big-game hunter. Though they may have lagged earlier in the year, Watson and Clemson closed hard following the Pitt loss by demolishing Wake Forest and South Carolina by a combined score of 91-20.
Watson’s 3,914 passing yards rank No. 6 nationally, and his 4,443 yards of total offense is No. 4 in the nation. Most importantly, Watson guided his team to a second consecutive ACC title and CFP berth. In Clemson’s final two games – against South Carolina in the Palmetto Bowl and Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship Game – Watson accounted for 11 total touchdowns. He’s a closer and owns a head-to-head win over Jackson.
Dede Westbrook – Oklahoma WR
What would life be like right now for Oklahoma if Westbrook hadn’t started so slowly? In his first three games of the season, Westbrook tallied a total of 154 yards; following a bye week he surpassed that total in each of his next four games.
Westbrook leads a pass-happy Big 12 in receptions, receiving yards, receiving touchdowns and receiving yards per game. Alongside Baker Mayfield, Westbrook paced the nation’s No. 3 scoring offense (44.7 ppg) to an undefeated Big 12 run and conference title.