It’s difficult for a defensive player to win the Heisman, but Sports Illustrated’s Bruce Feldman believes that one player may have an outside shot.
Feldman pens that Florida State defensive back Derwin James — currently 50/1 odds — likely has the best chance of all defensive players to win the Heisman for the 2017 season.
Here’s what Feldman had to say on James’ Heisman potential:
I know that defensive players, especially ones not really involved in the offense, have virtually no shot at the Heisman, but … James is special. He is a play-making machine that can be deployed all over the field in a variety of roles. If he has a monster performance and shows he’s the best player on the field in Week 1 against Alabama when all eyes will be on that game, he could give juice to a Heisman campaign.
James, a rising junior, missed most of the 2016 season due to injury, but he proved himself to be an All-American caliber of a player the year before as a freshman. James had 91 total tackles (9.5 TFL), 4.5 sacks, and two forced fumbles that year to help lead the Seminoles to a 10-3 record.
James’ return to the field is part of the reason that Florida State is so highly hyped going into the 2017 season. When healthy, he is one of the best players in the nation and Florida State returns 15 other starters from their 10-3 2016 team.
Florida State should definitely be a title contender for the upcoming season, and if they are, James could very much be in the Heisman conversation for his contributions.
[H/T Palm Beach Post]