Dalvin Cook came into the 2016 college football season as one of the front-runners to win the Heisman Trophy. The Florida State Seminoles were depending on him to be the workhorse of their offense. Cook did not get off to a strong start this season, but he still holds onto Heisman hopes.
Even with the slow start, the Florida State running back has those around the nation that still believe he is a legitimate Heisman candidate. He bounced back with a huge game last week against South Florida, carrying the football 28 times for 267 yards and two touchdowns. Cook also continued his impressive year as a receiver out of the backfield with four receptions for 62 yards in the game.
All of that being said, can Cook rebound from his slow start to end up winning the Heisman Trophy?
Throughout the first four games of the 2016 season, Cook has compiled 495 yards and four touchdowns on 78 total carries. Those numbers average out to a solid 6.3 yards per carry. Cook has also caught 13 passes for 180 yards on the season thus far.
Florida State has been relying heavily on Deondre Francois to run their offense so far this season. Cook has not been receiving as heavy of a workload as some were expecting coming into the season. Perhaps that will change a bit moving forward, especially after the impressive performance that he had last week.
Jimbo Fisher cannot afford to continue not using Cook as a workhorse. It was obvious last season that the offense was most effective when Cook was handling a large portion of the workload. Cook won’t get 30 carries each and every game, but the Seminoles should start targeting 20-25 carries per game for him.
At this point in time, ESPN has Lamar Jackson sitting atop the Heisman Watch rankings. He is followed Christian McCaffery of Stanford, J.T. Barrett of Ohio State, Donnel Pumphrey of San Diego State, and Greg Ward Jr. of Houston. All five of those players have gotten off to incredibly hot starts this season.
Cook isn’t even in the top-10 when it comes to the watch list, which has to be disappointing for the talented running back.
So to answer the question, can Cook rebound from his slow start and end up winning the most sought after award in college football? There is a slight chance that he could shock the nation and make that happen.
Unfortunately, Cook is no longer in control of his own destiny from a Heisman standpoint. He will need a lot of help from the players ahead of him on the list.
Jackson will have to fall apart in particular, which hasn’t looked all that likely so far. If for some reason the rest of the field begins to struggle as the season moves forward, Cook can start working his way up the rankings.
Obviously, the odds are not in Cook’s favor, but we are still early on in the season. Stranger things have happened in the past.
Florida State has a long road ahead of them to compete for a playoff spot as well. They have to win out and do so in convincing fashion. There is a good chance that they have already been eliminated from playoff contention due to the blowout loss that they suffered at the hands of Jackson and Louisville.
While that may be the case, the Seminoles and Cook will both hold out hope. All that can be done at this stage of the season is to play as hard as possible and see where the rest of the chips fall.
Expect to see Cook continue putting up big numbers throughout the rest of the season. He seems to be back on track, and Florida State will continue increasing his touches. Cook may not end up winning the Heisman Trophy, but he should find his way back into the top-five.
Do you think Dalvin Cook has a chance to win the Heisman Trophy this season? If not, do you think Lamar Jackson will hold onto his lead? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below!
[Featured Image by Chris O’Meara/AP Images]