Lamar Jackson’s Heisman Trophy campaign took an unquestioned hit on Thursday evening, as the Louisville Cardinals were blitzed by the Houston Cougars on national television. However, Jackson is still seen, at least by most people, as the front-runner for the award, even if things are (far) more interesting than they were prior to the blowout loss.
Stewart Mandel of FOX Sports is among the people still listing Jackson at the top of the heap, but the rest of his rankings might surprise you, including the current runner-up for the award. While quarterbacks are almost always in the best position and there has been some momentum on the defensive side of the ball for players like Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers and Alabama’s Jonathan Allen this season, Mandel is rolling with Oklahoma wide receiver Dede Westbrook in the No. 2 spot.
Mandel indicates that he has been “slow to acknowledge that Westbrook is the Sooners’ best Heisman candidate”, but the numbers (more than 1,350 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns) are impressive and Oklahoma is one of the hottest teams in the country. The rest of Mandel’s top five is rounded out by Alabama QB Jalen Hurts, Stanford RB Christian McCaffrey and Houston DT Ed Oliver, but if Westbrook has a monster game in Bedlam later this week, he could be a legitimate factor in New York in early December.