The Heisman odds for the 2016 NCAA football season have been out for several months now, however, we are finally starting to see which players are contenders and which are pretenders as the NCAA begins to narrow the field of contestants that will be invited to New York this December.
While over the past few seasons most fans had a pretty good idea of who was going to win the Heisman Trophy, this season is shaping up to be a barn burner right until the end.
According to NFL.com, Louisville’s Lamar Jackson has become the overwhelming favorite to win the 2016 Heisman award, but he has some stiff competition. Two players that can’t be ignored are Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers and Clemson’s Deshaun Watson.
Jabrill Peppers, a red-shirt junior, would undoubtedly be a top ten selection in the 2017 NFL Draft. That is if he decides to leave Michigan and get paid the big bucks.
Peppers has been compared to another former standout in Michigan football history, Charles Woodson. Peppers has a unique combination of speed, strength, and size that is rare in college football today, and he can play on both sides of the ball. Just like Woodson did during his years in Ann Arbor, Peppers plays both offense, defense, and special teams, and he does all of them at a high level. This kid definitely has a shot at winning the Heisman.
Next up is Deshaun Watson.
Watson seems to be the one player out of the three front runners that doesn’t get as much publicity as he should. Watson, just like Peppers may be playing in his final season as a collegiate, as the Clemson quarterback would surely be a first round draft pick in 2017. While all that sounds great, right now Watson and the Clemson Tigers have some unfinished business from last season they would like to complete, and that is winning a national championship.
Last year the Tigers fell just short in the title game 45-40 against Alabama. Watson shined on the biggest stage in college football last January and would love another shot this season. Last year, Watson became the first Division I quarterback to accumulate 4,000 passing yards and 1,000 rushing yards in a season. That is incredible. That record may stand for decades to come.
Watson is a dual-threat that will be paid one day to play on Sunday’s and definitely shouldn’t be overlooked in the 2016 Heisman odds race. His stock will definitely improve to win the Heisman if Clemson finishes undefeated.
Finally, there is Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson.
The sophomore sensation has the Cardinals ranked fifth in the nation behind one of the strongest offenses in college football. This kid is fast, strong, and his arm strength seems to improve by the week.
Last weekend Jackson showed his ability to lead his team to a last-second victory as he drove the Cardinals the length of the field with under one minute to play, tossing a perfect pass for the game-winning score vs. the Virginia Cavaliers.
Jackson has tossed 22 touchdowns and only five interceptions so far in 2016. He has the raw tools to be in the NFL one day, but he also has the potential to win back-to-back Heisman trophies. Yes, he is that good.
According to the lastest Las Vegas odds via Oddsshark, Lamar Jackson is the favorite to win the 2016 Heisman at -300. Right behind Jackson are Jabrill Peppers and Deshaun Watson, both at +450. Peppers and Watson were both at +750 just last week, which means they are gaining interest by many college football experts.
The Heisman trophy winner will be announced on December 10, 2016, at 8 p.m. ET.
[Featured Image by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images]