The top college football players were on full display during week one. Familiar names such as Louisville quarterback and reigning Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson and up-and-coming stars such as LSU running back Derrius Guice proved why they belonged on the Heisman Trophy watch list.
The reigning Heisman Trophy winner didn’t disappoint against Purdue in Week one. Jackson and the Louisville Cardinals started off slow, but junior quarterback showed flashes of his 2016 campaign finishing with 378 passing yards, 107 rushing yards, and two touchdowns. To start the 2017 season, Jackson wasn’t receiving much attention. After the win over Purdue, Heisman voters should realize that Jackson hasn’t missed a beat.
Without Josh Rosen’s impressive second-half performance against Texas A&M, the UCLA Bruins wouldn’t be 1-0 to start the 2017 season. Rosen led the Bruins to a 35-point deficit against the Aggies, completing 35 of 59 passes for a career-high 491 yards and four touchdowns — all four touchdown passes came in the fourth quarter. If Rosen can play every game like it’s the fourth quarter, the junior quarterback will stay in the Heisman hunt.
Penn State running back Saquon Barkley ratified his play-making ability against Akron in Week one. On 14 carries, Barkley managed to rush for 171 yards and two touchdowns in only three quarters of work. Barkley will need to consistently display similar performances to solidify his a seat in New York at the end of the season.
Even though Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley pulled Baker Mayfield in the fourth quarter, the senior quarterback proved his Heisman worth during a 56-0 blowout against UTEP. Mayfield completed 19 of 20 passes for 329 yards and three touchdowns. That’s not a typo. Mayfield threw only one incompletion. Mayfield and the Sooners have a tough task against Ohio State in Week two, but a solid performance against the Buckeyes will catapult Mayfield to the top of the Heisman watch list.
LSU didn’t miss a beat replacing former LSU, All-American running back Leonard Fournette. Junior running back Derrius Guice stepped up and filled Fournette’s massive shoes during a 27-0 win over BYU. Guice rushed 27 times for 122 yards and two touchdowns. In order for Guice to stay in the Heisman race, the LSU running back will need to post consistent totals each week. That might be tough as the Tigers have one of the toughest schedules in the SEC.
Check back next week for an updated version of the Heisman Trophy watch list.