Heisman Watch: Week One

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College football is upon us once again. This season features a plethora of talented players across all conferences who can make their teamscontenders overnight.

Baker Mayfield

No. 7 Oklahoma quarterback

After finishing third in last year’s Heisman race, Mayfield is primed to make yet another compelling case for the trophy. After amassing 3,965 passing yards and 40 touchdowns last season, the redshirt senior puts the Sooners in prime position to claim the Big 12. 

It won’t be easy for Oklahoma, though. A date with No. 2 Ohio State in Columbus awaits the Sooners on Sept. 9, a game that will either make or break Mayfield’s Heisman resume.

Sam Darnold

No. 4 USC quarterback

Entering his sophomore season at USC, Darnold is expected to lead the Trojans to a Pac-12 title and potential College Football Playoff appearance. After throwing for 3,086 yards and tossing 31 touchdowns in his freshman season, the expectations are sky high in Los Angeles.

Look for Darnold to have a strong start to the 2017 campaign in the Trojans’ season opener against Western Michigan on Sept. 2.

Lamar Jackson

No. 16 Louisville quarterback

Jackson took the college football world by storm last year, tossing 3,543 yards and 30 touchdowns en route to a successful Heisman campaign. With Louisville fielding a much different team this year, Jackson may not be able to showcase the individual talent on a level similar to last year.

However, with big games against No. 3 Florida State and No. 5 Clemson this season, the junior has a chance to bolster his Heisman chances and become only the second player to win multiple
Heisman trophies.

Saquon Barkley 

No. 6 Penn State running back

The junior back is coming off a very successful 2016 campaign in which he had 1,496 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns, helping Penn State to a Big 10 title. With a very balanced offense, Barkley can also show off his skills in the passing game, where he accounted for 402 yards and four touchdowns as a receiver last season.

With the Nittany Lions returning many offensive starters, expect Barkley to have a successful year
all-around and make a strong case for the Heisman as one of the nation’s premier running backs.

James Washington

No. 10 Oklahoma State wide receiver

Coming off a breakout year in which he had 1,380 receiving yards, 10 touchdowns and 19.4 yards per catch, Washington is primed for yet another dominant season. The senior returns to a classic Big 12 air-raid offense commandeered by one of the nation’s premier passers: senior quarterback Mason Rudolph. 

This one-two punch looks to do a lot of damage in the Big 12 this year, and as long as Rudolph is at the helm, expect Washington to help the Cowboys to contend for the Big 12 alongside the
seventh-ranked Sooners.