Heisman predictions for Saturday night. Who should win and who will win college football’s most prestigious trophy? The Campus Insiders staff gives its picks.
This year’s Heisman Trophy race never had a definitive, run-away candidate. With Lamar Jackson, Baker Mayfield, Jabrill Peppers, Deshaun Watson and Dede Westbrook all having made the final cut, the ceremony could see one of its closest votes ever. The Campus Insiders staff has broken down who it thinks who should win the Heisman, and who will actually receive college football’s most prestigious award.
I’m torn between Lamar Jackson and Jabrill Peppers. Jackson put up video game numbers all year and was, for the most part, a one-man wrecking crew. Peppers is, unquestionably, the best all-around player in football.
Ultimately, I’ll go with Jackson. Is there any way Louisville wins nine games without him under center? He’s the difference between the Citrus Bowl and a Military Bowl berth.
Again, I’m split here – this time between Jackson and Deshaun Watson. The Oklahoma players will cancel each other out on ballots, while Peppers didn’t have enough statement moments to ascend to the top. Jackson has the numbers; Watson has the wins.
There seemed to be a strong groundswell of support for Watson as the season wound down, while the Tigers kept winning, and the Cardinals started losing. The total yardage gap is tight enough to keep Watson close, and he owns the head-to-head win over Jackson. Toss in another conference title and a second consecutive berth in the CFP, and the Tigers quarterback takes it. This year’s Heisman will feel a bit like a lifetime achievement award for Deshaun Watson.
This really depends on what you consider the definition to be for “most outstanding player.” If it’s the best all-around player, Jabrill Peppers should be the pick. He can do it all: offense, defense, special teams. If it’s the player who’s put up the most gaudy season stats and scoring wise, it’s Lamar Jackson. And if it’s the player who’s shown the most poise in leading his team to a shot at the ultimate college football prize, the national title, it’s Deshaun Watson.
While Peppers may be the most versatile player, it can be argued he’s not even the best defender in the nation (see: Alabama’s Jonathan Allen).
This comes down to Jackson and Watson, and it has to be settled somehow, so I’m going with the former. If you put Jackson on Clemson, the Tigers would still be right where they are, only with a more electrifying quarterback this season. His numbers are just too ridiculous to ignore.
Deshaun Watson. He has his team in the College Football Playoff in back-to-back years. That’s what will ultimately push his votes over Jackson’s.
Jabrill Peppers. He’s the best all-around player in the country and is a threat every time he touches or comes near the ball. Peppers not only is a force defensively at multiple positions, but his ability to stretch defenses when he’s on the offensive side of the ball can change games. He ran for three touchdowns, led the Big Ten in average yards per punt return (even bringing one back for a TD), had 15 tackles for loss and intercepted a pass. Peppers is the only one of the finalists who can make a major impact on the game on both sides of the ball, and he did it while playing in the nation’s best conference.
If it’s anyone other than Lamar Jackson, I’ll be shocked. That would mean voters ignored 51 total touchdowns, eight 100-yard rushing games and four contests with at least four TD passes. And it all would be because Louisville struggled down the stretch. No one can put the loss to Houston on Jackson’s shoulders, as he was sacked 11 times and barely could move.
If Deshaun Watson wins the Heisman, it’ll be the true definition of winning a popularity contest. Watson didn’t win it last year while having a better season, and that means he shouldn’t win it this year with someone like Jackson putting up the numbers he did. If I had a vote, Watson wouldn’t even make my top three.
Lamar Jackson. The numbers he put up are absolutely insane, and no one comes close to his explosiveness on the field. Were the voters paying attention this season? If so, Jackson walks away with the Heisman.
Deshaun Watson. The voters will overlook Jackson’s amazing season on a 9-3 team and give it to Watson, who, to be fair, was good, because Clemson made the College Football Playoffs. Sometimes it just happens that way. Plus a part of me thinks that Jackson will pay the price due to the coach he plays for. Will some people vote against him because of Petrino? That could be a scenario.