For the first time in years, the Heisman Trophy watch is widely spread throughout the country. In addition to last year’s runner ups – Clemson’s Deshaun Watson and Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey – the field is more wide open then it’s been over the past few years. The ACC is loaded with playmakers that could be considered for the sport’s highest individual honor. Here are a few players who reside in the ACC that you need to keep on your Heisman radar.
Louisville Quarterback Lamar Jackson
Lamar Jackson has been a one man wrecking crew this season. He’s third in the nation in rushing with 318 yards – in the entire nation, not just quarterbacks – and eighth in passing yards with 697. With his thirteen total touchdowns, the sophomore quarterback is sits on top of the Heisman watch list early on in the season. Jackson could vastly strengthen his Heisman chances if he takes down the Seminoles this weekend.
Clemson Quarterback Deshaun Watson
Last year’s second runner-up entered the season on top of many people’s preseason Heisman watch list. Watson’s name will be in the conversation as long as Clemson remains a top team, but his numbers aren’t exactly jumping off the page. Watson has thrown for 540 yards in two games, but has only thrown four touchdowns to three interceptions.
Florida State Quarterback Deondre Francois
The freshman quarterback made a name for himself in his first game as he led a comeback against Ole Miss on national television. Francois is 10th in the nation in passing yards and with his stellar play leading the Seminoles, it will be nearly impossible for Jimbo Fisher to remove him as quarterback when Sean Maguire is fully healthy.
Miami Running Back Mark Walton
The Hurricanes running back is averaging 8.5 yards per carry. He ranks eighth in the nation with 271 yards and third in rushing touchdowns with five. Walton hasn’t played big time competition yet, so his numbers may looked pumped up.
Florida State Running Back Dalvin Cook
Cook proved why is one of the best running backs in the opener against Ole Miss, tallying 91 yards on the ground and 101 more through the pass game. Cook has two touchdowns on the year and if he can repeat his 1,935 total yards and 20 touchdowns from last season, Cook’s name will be there come December.
Pittsburgh Running Back James Conner
Not only is the junior running back cancer-free, but he is putting together a great season so far. Conner has 170 rushing yards and four total touchdowns in two games this season. If Conner and the Panthers can make a run for the ACC championship, Conner’s name will reach national relevancy.
Florida State Wide Receiver Travis Rudolph
The entire nation knows how great of a person Rudolph is, but not everyone may know that he is one of the best receivers in the country. Rudolph is 39th in the country with 179 receiving yards and tied for second with three touchdown catches. The numbers are more impressive when you consider Rudolph has a freshman quarterback throwing to him and the Seminoles still would prefer to run the offense through Dalvin Cook.
Miami Quarterback Brad Kaaya
Kaaya has not put up the stats you would expect from a quarterback whose team has outscored opponents 108-13 this season, but nonetheless Kaaya is a name you must keep on your radar. If Miami can keep blowing teams out of the water and Kaaya’s stats start reflecting that, the junior quarterback’s name will start to gain momentum.