At this point in the calendar, Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson is, unquestionably, the front-runner for the Heisman Trophy. From pundits to Vegas odds, Jackson holds the crown based on his wondrous performance, but with several weeks remaining in the 2016 campaign, a lot can happen.
This week’s ESPN Heisman Watch paints that picture quite well, as Jackson is joined by two brand new names in the top five. Like last week, Clemson QB Deshaun Watson and Ohio State QB J.T. Barrett land at No. 2 and No. 3, respectively, but after Houston (Greg Ward Jr.) and Stanford (Christian McCaffrey) lost games in rather ugly fashion, the No. 4 and No. 5 spots have turned over with haste.
Washington quarterback Jake Browning has been thrust into the conversation based partially on his fantastic play and partially on his team’s success. The 6-foot-2, 209-pound signal-caller has tossed 16 touchdown passes against just two interceptions this season, and with 1,418 passing yards in five games, Browning has the profile of a potential candidate.
At No. 5 overall, Michigan do-it-all superstar Jabrill Peppers garners a lot of love, including a second-place vote on ESPN’s panel. Jim Harbaugh already proclaimed that Peppers should be the Heisman front-runner, and the hybrid linebacker has 37 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, six quarterback hurries, 2.5 sacks and a forced fumble on the season. Furthermore, Peppers is also quite dynamic in the return game (17.8 yard punt return average) and he was even a prominent member of Michigan’s dominant offense in a 78-point thrashing of Rutgers, which helped him zoom from 33-to-1 to only 9-to-1 on Bovada.
As of mid-October, everyone is chasing Lamar Jackson, but there are some wildly intriguing names to keep an eye on for the rest of the season.