As the college football season enters October, players, as well as teams begin to jockey for postseason awards and accolades. For Heisman contenders, it’s nice to pad your stats against inferior competition, but players really make their mark in high profile conference games.
The recent trend of Heisman Trophy winners has been dominated by the quarterback position. In the preseason, it appeared to be more of the same, but a renewed emphasis on the power running game has a few running backs making strong push for Heisman consideration.
Todd Gurley was one of the favorites to win the Heisman award during the summer, and he has not disappointed yet. Gurley has had some terrific numbers from the beginning, but Georgia hasn’t padded his stats against overmatched teams. Gurley only had six carries in the easy win over Troy, and he’s averaging a gaudy 8.8 yards per carry.
Ameer Abdullah already had one special moment in the 2014 season when he caught the game winning touchdown pass to be McNeese State. Although he struggled mightily on that particular day, Abdullah was there for Nebraska in the end. Abdullah also has three 200 yard rushing games already this season.
Melvin Gordon might be the most explosive running back in the country, but a mysterious injury curtailed his production against LSU. Before coming up limp, Gordon was running all over the Tigers. After a bye week, Melvin Gordon returned to form and he is expected to continue his domination of opposing defenses.
All three running backs are in the Top 10 in rushing yards, and they all average more than 7.3 yards per carry. If a non quarterback is going to win the Heisman this season, these are some of the most equipped players to do so.
Here are the updated Heisman Trophy rankings.
1. Todd Gurley- Georgia Bulldogs: Todd Gurley picked a perfect time to have his career game on Saturday. He rushed for 208 yards on 28 carries and two touchdowns against Tennessee. On the season, Gurley has 69 carries for 610 yards and seven total touchdowns.
2. Marcus Mariota- Oregon Ducks: Mariota hasn’t thrown an interception yet this season. So far, he has completed 71/96 passes for 1135 yards and 13 touchdowns. Mariota has also rushed for three more touchdowns.
3. Ameer Abdullah- Nebraska Cornhuskers: Ameer Abdullah has three 200 yard games this season. He’ll have his biggest chance to impress this Saturday when Nebraska plays Michigan State. Abdullah leads the country with 833 rushing yards. He also has 10 total touchdowns.
4. Kenny Hill- Texas A&M Aggies: Kenny Hill has been lighting up the competition this season. He threw the game winning touchdown pass to beat Arkansas in overtime. Hill has completed 118/180 passes for 1745 yards and 17 touchdowns. He’s only thrown two interceptions as well.
5. Amari Cooper- Alabama Crimson Tide: Amari Cooper has 43 catches on the season for 655 yards and five touchdowns. Cooper has been the most dynamic receiver in the country so far.
6. Jameis Winston- Florida State Seminoles: Jameis Winston has had a tumultuous season thus far, and he has not put up incredible stats yet. It didn’t help that he missed an entire game due to suspension. Still, Winston threw four touchdown passes in the win over North Carolina State.
7. Blake Sims- Alabama Crimson Tide: Blake Sims has secured the starting quarterback job with excellent performances. However, he has his first true road test of the season. Sims has completed 71/97 passes for 1091 yards and eight touchdowns.
8. Everett Golson- Notre Dame Irish: Everett Golson has 15 total touchdowns this season. Eleven of those were passing, while only throwing two interceptions. The Irish have their toughest game of the season too. Golson is completing 94/135 passes for 1142 yards.
9. Melvin Gordon- Wisconsin Badgers: Melvin Gordon has seven touchdowns in the last two weeks. Gordon has 612 rushing yards and nine total touchdowns on the season.
10. Bryce Petty- Baylor Bears: Bryce Petty has the same amount of touchdown passes (7) as his backup Seth Russell. All of Baylor’s tough games are ahead, so he’ll have plenty of time to make up ground.