College Football: Lamar Jackson Vaults Ahead In Race For 2016 Heisman

Louisville sophomore quarterback Lamar Jackson has picked up where he left off at the end of his freshman campaign. Jackson has been fabulous this season, leading the Cards to a 3-0 start and a top-four ranking in both of the national polls. Jackson has over 1,300 yards from scrimmage and 18 touchdowns.

With Week 3 of the college football season now complete, it is time to look at the Heisman Trophy race.

Just like the top-25 polls, the race for the Heisman Trophy has been somewhat muddled this year. Stanford junior running back Christian McCaffrey entered the season as the Inquisitr’s preseason favorite to win the 2016 award. And while McCaffrey is still certainly in the midst of the race after totaling 260 all-purpose yards in the Cardinal’s 27-10 win over USC on Saturday, Louisville sophomore quarterback Lamar Jackson has vaulted past him due to his unbelievable play.

Jackson, who was unranked in the preseason poll, has been tremendous in helping the Cardinals get off to a 3-0 start and move into the top four of the Associated Press’ and Amway Coaches’ polls. Jackson was responsible for five of Louisville’s nine touchdowns in its 63-20 upset of Florida State on Saturday, including three of the team’s first four scores. He finished with 362 total yards from the scrimmage.

Jackson completed 13-of-20 (65 percent) of his passes for 216 yards with one touchdown and one interception against the Seminoles. He added 146 yards on 17 rushing attempts and four touchdowns. His longest run was on an amazing 47-yard fourth quarter touchdown scamper.

Jackson has passed for over 200 yards and ran for at least 100 yards in each of his first three games of the season. The six ft., three in., 205-pounder’s best game of the season to date has come against Syracuse, where he threw for 411 yards and came up one yard short of 200 rushing yards while being responsible for five scores. Jackson has racked up 1,377 total yards of offense and has had a hand in 18 touchdowns.

Overall, Jackson has completed 61 percent of his passes (50-of-82) along with eight touchdowns and two interceptions. He also leads the team in rushing with 464 yards on 49 carries (9.5 per attempt) and 10 touchdowns. Jackson ranks No. 8 in the NCAA in passing efficiency, No. 15 in passing yards, No. 2 yards per completion and is tied for No. 1 in points responsible for (108).

The rest of the article will look at the rest of the players in my top-10 Heisman race.

1. Jackson – see above.

2. McCaffrey – McCaffrey is a multi-dimension offensive threat. He is a star running back who has two straight 100-yard rushing efforts, after rushing for 165 yards on 30 carries against USC. One hundred and seven of his rushing yards came before the Trojans’ laid a hand on McCaffrey. The six-foot back also had four catches for 73 yards that included a 56-yard touchdown after he slipped out of the backfield unnoticed.

McCaffrey is ranked fourth in the country with 145.5 yards on the ground as he has tallied 291 yards and three touchdowns on 52 carries. He also leads the Cardinal (2-0) with 11 receptions for 113 yards and a score.

In addition, McCaffrey is ranked No. 1 in the country with 235.0 all-purpose yards a contest. He has 50 yards on two kick returns and 16 yards on two punt returns.

3. Jabrill Peppers, Michigan – The junior linebacker/standout special teamer has been the best player for the No. 4 Wolverines (3-0). Peppers has been a defensive force, picking up at least eight tackles in each of the first three games. He leads the squad in total tackles (28), tackles for losses (9.5) and sacks (2.5). In addition, Peppers has been credited with three quarterback hurries and a force fumble.

Peppers already has returned a kick for touchdown, taking back a punt for 54-yards versus Colorado. For the season, he has 174 return yards on eight punts plus another 81 yards on two kickoff returns. Peppers also has two carries for 24 yards.

4. Greg Ward Jr., Houston — Ward has the the Cougars (3-0) just outside the top five in both polls. He has topped the 300-yard mark in both games he has appeared in, and has 647 passing yards for the season. Ward has completed 61.8 percent of his passes and has three touchdown passes along with two interceptions.

Ward, who rushed for 1,000 yards a year ago, only has compiled 74 yards on 44 attempts (1.4 yards per carry).

5. J.T. Barrett, Ohio State — The junior quarterback was extremely proficient as the Buckeyes (3-0) rolled over Oklahoma 45-24 on Saturday. Barrett was 14-of-20 (70.0 percent) and tossed four touchdowns along with no interceptions. He added a season-high 74 yards on the ground on 14 rushing attempts.

Barrett is 49-of-73 (67.1 percent) for 650 yards and 10 touchdowns along with just one interception. He has 159 yards and three scores on the ground.

6. Damien Harris, Alabama – The sophomore running back has helped No. 1 Alabama to two victories over ranked opponents. Harris, who has two 100 yard games, ran for a career-high 144 yards on just 16 carries in the Crimson Tide’s 48-43 victory over Ole Miss. He has 327 yards on just 36 rushing attempts and one touchdown this year.

7. Leonard Fournette, LSU — The junior running back has really been the Tigers’ (2-1) only productive player this year. The big, six ft., one in., 235-pounder rolled up 147 yards and two touchdowns in LSU’s 23-20 victory over Mississippi State on Saturday. He also had four receptions for 27 yards against the Bulldogs.

For the season, Fournette has reached the 100-yard mark in both games he has appeared in. He is averaging 5.6 yards per carry — 285 yards on 51 carries — and has seven receptions for 65 yards.

8. Nick Chubb, Georgia — Chubb had a fabulous Week 1 game against North Carolina, but he has not gone over the 100-yard plateau in either of his other two games. However, Georgia is 3-0 and ranked No. 12 in the AP poll.

Chubb has 365 yards and three touchdowns on 71 carries for the season, with 222 of those yards coming on the opening weekend against the Tar Heels.

9. Trevor Knight, Texas A&M — The senior quarterback has been inconsistent, but the Aggies are 3-0 following victories over UCLA and Auburn. He has completed just 52.9 percent of his passes for 830 yards. Knight has eight touchdowns, five coming via the air, along with two interceptions.

Knight also has 151 yards on 28 carries.

10. Patrick Mahomes II, Texas Tech. The six ft., three in. junior quarterback leads the NCAA with 1,493 passing yards. Mahomes has the Red Raiders at 2-1 on the season, as he has completed 71.2 percent of his passes and thrown 14 touchdowns while getting picked off twice. He has a 11.31 yards per pass attempt.

Mahomes has added 138 yards and four touchdowns on the ground on 33 carries.

[Featured Image by Timothy D. Easley/AP Photo]