The Heisman Trophy race may be over before it even started. Louisville sophomore quarterback Lamar Jackson has become the hands down favorite to win the 2016 Heisman Trophy. Vegas updated their odds to -225 for the star quarterback, with Stanford’s’ Christian McCaffrey behind Jackson at +600, and Ohio State’s J.T. Barrett rounding out the top three at +650.
The ACC’s list of Heisman candidates not named Jackson might start dwindling week by week, however, there are still players who are playing well enough to be mentioned in the Heisman race. Here’s an update on the top Heisman candidates from the ACC.
Louisville Quarterback Lamar Jackson
For the ACC and the entire country at this point, the shining star and obvious leading candidate for the Heisman is Lamar Jackson. The Cardinals quarterback led a signature win against the #2 Florida State Seminoles, embarrassing the Seminoles in a dominating 63-20 victory. Jackson hit on 65% of his passes for 216, an average of 16.6 yard per competition with one touchdown. Jackson torched the Seminoles defense on the ground for 146 yards and four touchdowns, including a 47-yard highlight reel run in the fourth quarter to put the Cardinals up by 46.
The 47-yard touchdown run he had for Louisville is one of those runs you see on the Heisman commercials and a play you will see over and over leading up to the ceremony. When you read Jackson’s stats from the game, you would think Louisville was playing a cupcake team like West Mississippi State South Florida A&M or some school like that. This performance was against Florida State, the second ranked team in the country and a national title favorite.
Jackson’s favorite player growing up had high praise for him on Twitter. Former #1 overall pick and Virginia Tech Hokie Michael Vick tweeted “Lamar Jackson 5x better than what I was at V-Tech….Enough Said!! #future.” Jackson was stoked by the tweet saying, “I was amazed. It means a lot.” Even with the 43-point victory, Jackson gave himself a “D” grade, citing his disappointment with throwing one interception and seven incompletions.
Clemson Quarterback Deshaun Watson
Right behind Jackson, McCaffrey, and Barrett in the Vegas odds, Watson currently sits at fourth and +800 odds. Watson played a surgical game this week in the 59-0 victory for Clemson over South Carolina State, completing 80% of his passes for 152 yards and three touchdowns. Watson was pulled late in the second quarter when the Tigers had a demanding 45-0 lead. Watson will lead the Tigers against the 3-0 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets Thursday, one week before they welcome Lamar Jackson and the #3 Louisville Cardinals for a must-watch ACC matchup that will have playoff implications at stake.
Miami Quarterback Brad Kaaya
Brad Kaaya continues to lead the Hurricanes’ romp through opponents this season, as the Canes’ 45-10 victory over Appalachian State added to their incredible 153-23 point differential to this point. Kaaya had by far his best game of the season, throwing for 368 yards and three touchdowns with a 77.8% completion percentage. Kaaya and the Hurricanes will enjoy a bye week and will play ACC opponents for the remainder of the season when they come back, highlighted by welcoming rival Florida State to town on October 8th. Kaaya’s current odds to win the Heisman are +6500.
Miami Running Back Mark Walton: 401 rushing yards, seven touchdowns, 8.4 average per rush
Florida State Running Back Dalvin Cook: 228 rushing yards, 118 receiving yards, two rushing touchdowns
Florida State Wide Receiver Travis Rudolph: 15 receptions, 219 receiving yards, three touchdowns