The halfway point of the 2017 college football season is practically here. That means the College Football Playoff race is heating up, as is the Heisman Trophy race.
Last year’s winner, Luoisville quarterback
, remains in the hunt, but he’s joined by other household names on offense. Which players have the inside step towards a trip to New York in December? Former Heisman finalist Brady Quinn breaks down his top candidates.
Penn State Nittany Lions
: Barkley has statistically had an up and down season. He was a non-factor running the ball against
and only broke away from
in the second half of a Week 6 victory. And yet he was unstoppable with 358 all-purpose yards and a touchdown in Penn State’s biggest game of the year on the road at
. He’s a highlight reel waiting to be played every time he touches the ball.
: Love has emerged out of
shadow and thrust himself into the Heisman conversation. He has a FBS-best 1,240 yards through six games and is the only running back averaging more than 200 yards per game on the ground at 10.5 yards per rush. The next-closest is
San Diego State Aztecs
at 165 yards per game. Also, seven of Love’s nine touchdown runs are from at least 50 yards out.
: Despite Oklahoma’s surprising loss to
Iowa State Cyclones
, Mayfield remains a legitimate Heisman candidate. The senior still leads the Big 12 in passer rating (214.06), something he’s done each of the past two seasons. That’s thanks to his 12.2 yards per attempt and perfect 15-0 touchdown to interception ratio. His ability to extend plays with his legs and be a true dual-threat has made him one of the most difficult players to defend.
Lamar Jackson, QB,
: The Cardinals have a pair of losses halfway through the season but that hardly seems like Jackson’s fault. The junior is as electric as ever running the ball and is on pace to throw for 4,000 yards. He is second behind only
in total yards per game and averages just under eight yards per play.
JT Barrett, QB,
Ohio State Buckeyes
: The Buckeyes have overcome an early-season loss to Oklahoma. Since that game, Barrett has thrown for at least 200 yards each week and 13 touchdowns with zero interceptions. The fifth-year senior has been through his share of ups and downs, but is the unquestioned leader of the Buckeyes.