Can Deshaun Watson Win the Heisman?

Clemson quarterback DeShaun Watson has had a remarkable sophomore season and he’s been recognized for his achievements with plenty of attention this awards season.

Watson was named ACC Player of the Year and after being chosen to win the award in preseason. He was named the ACC Championship Game MVP for helping Clemson win its first conference title since 2011 and has also now won the Davey O’Brien Award given to the nation’s top quarterback.

Watson completed 69.5% of his passes for 3,512 yards and 30 touchdowns with just 11 interceptions. He’s also rushed for 812 yards and 11 touchdowns while averaging 5.4 yards per carry in the process.

His fellow Heisman finalists are running back Derrick Henry from Alabama and offensive wunderkind Christian McCaffrey who does a little bit of everything despite being a running back as well.

McCaffrey has gained 3,496 all-purpose yards this season with 15 total touchdowns. That includes 540 receiving yards, 1,847 rushing yards and 1,109 yards in returns. He’s also completed 2-of-3 passes for 39 yards and two touchdowns. He beat the NCAA record for total yards held previously by Oklahoma State’s Barry Sanders.

Henry has been dominant, rushing for 1,986 yards and 23 touchdowns while helping Alabama win the SEC and make the College Football Playoff. His yardage total was enough to break Herschel Walker’s SEC single-season record for rushing. Henry has already won the Doak Walker Award given to the top running back in the country and the Maxwell Award given to the nation’s best overall player.

According to a Gannett Heisman survey from the end of November, The voters overwhelmingly favor Watson and Henry, with Henry in possession of a comfortable lead.

So what are the chances for an ACC quarterback to win the Heisman for the second time in three seasons?

The media seems to have already decided that Henry will win, which means that’s a likely result as the media make up the bulk of the voters for reasons passing understanding. Personally, I think former winners and maybe coaches should vote on it and we should leave it at that.

But I digress.

Can Deshaun Watson win this year?

It doesn’t really feel like it, though he shouldn’t feel slighted by that. Many observers — myself included — think that McCaffrey’s performance has been the most impressive in totality and yet, he’s expected to finish a distant third in the voting according to some projections.

It mainly serves to create debate among fans and media, so there will be no shortage of shouting about the winner regardless of who it is. There’s always a chance to be surprised, but it seems like everyone’s mind is made up, flavored with a little bit of SEC favoritism.

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