There will be plenty of Heisman contenders out there in 2017 with the winner of the award returning in Louisville’s Lamar Jackson and some guys who have yet to emerge. There were a few contenders this season who were defensive players in Alabama’s Jonathan Allen and Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers.
ESPN put together a very early list of candidates who could potentially become a Heisman winner and they named a recovering Derwin James to their list. While James didn’t play the majority of the year due to a meniscus tear, he is expected to be one of the best returning defenders for the Seminoles and easily their best player in the secondary.
Here’s what Adam Rittenberg thought about James and his revenge tour in 2017:
“A September knee injury ended what could have been a breakout season for James, but one of the nation’s most versatile defenders returns at full strength this fall. If James builds on an extremely productive freshman season in 2015 — 91 total tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, five pass breakups, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries — and finds his way to the end zone, he could generate some Heisman chatter. It would help his case if the Seminoles feature him more on special teams or offense.”
He had one interception, a pass breakup and 11 total tackles in two games last season.
[h/t ESPN Insider]