The past several years have seen the Heisman Trophy Award dominated by quarterbacks, but last year’s race for the prestigious college football trophy saw an interesting change, with Alabama’s running back Derrick Henry winning the title and fellow RBs in Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey and LSU’s Leonard Fournette taking a stranglehold of the top Heisman Finalists. Will we be having another tailback scooping the award in 2016 now that McCaffrey and Fournette are back leading a strong group of backs, or will the QBs get back to the top? Or better yet, will we be having a player from a different skill position crashing the 2016 Heisman Trophy NCAAF Odds? Below we take a brief look at some of top Heisman Picks that stick out in the early 2016 college football lines.
In Depth Analysis On The 2016 Heisman Trophy Expert Picks
Best Favorite 2016 Heisman Trophy Picks
Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
While McCaffrey and his all-purpose abilities make an appealing case, I am not fully convinced about Stanford’s ability to win the Pac-12, leave alone make a run for the FBS playoffs. With that in mind, I am opting for Fournette and his more-solid LSU squad. Coming off an impressive season where he posted 1,953 rushing yards and 22 TDs in the regular season and a whopping 212 yards in LSU’s 56-27 win over Texas Tech, Leonard Fournette doesn’t need much of an introduction as one of the 2016 Heisman Trophy favorites. Should he be able to carry LSU’s offense on his back once again and perform well in the Tigers’ top games (like against Alabama and Arkansas), the 2015 Heisman finalist should be a solid candidate to take the trophy home in 2016.
Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
Clemson’s run to the 2015-16 National Championship game was largely and commendably fueled by the lethal dual-threat services of Watson, who became the first player in FBS history to pass for 4,000-plus yards and also rush for 1,000-plus yards in the same year. With Clemson still loaded with talent all over the field and primed to make another strong push for the FBS playoffs, Watson will definitely be in the Heisman Trophy conversation all the way to the final day of the season.
Best Smart 2016 Heisman Trophy Picks
Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
Amidst stiff competition from TCU and Baylor, who were both led by solid Heisman hot-shots in 2015, the Sooners somehow managed to keep their heads above water to emerge as Big 12 winners, and all that was mainly thanks to Mayfield. To his credit, he totaled 3,700 yards and 36 TDs through his arms while adding 405 yards and 7 TDs through his legs. Mayfield’s dual-threat ability makes him a dangerous opponent to face and the fact that the competition in the Big 12 is expected to be relatively softer than it was last year, the Oklahoma QB should be due for even a better season, making him a good option for those looking for a smart 2016 Heisman pick.
J.T. Barrett, QB, Ohio State
With the Big Ten up for grabs after Michigan State lost a lot of talent and Michigan being risky hit/miss option to bet on, the Buckeyes could easily make another run akin to their 2014 National Championship run. And to help them in their quest, they will be looking up to Barrett, a key member of the group that won the 2014 national title. More than that, Barrett will be the undisputed 2016 starter, unlike in 2015 when he shared the starting QB job with Cardale Jones, who is now in the NFL. With an abundance of talent surrounding him, it won’t be a surprise to see Barrett and his dual-threat abilities take over the Heisman conversation, particularly when Ohio State starts showing its true colors as a legit national contender.
Best Longshot 2016 Heisman Trophy Picks
Chad Kelly, QB, Mississippi
Despite losing a lot of talent in the offseason, Chad Kelly returns as arguably the best QB in the SEC and that could easily play up his value in Heisman contention. In 2015, the dual-threat Rebel passed for an impressive 4,042 yards and 31 touchdowns against just 13 interceptions while also rushing for 500 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns. If the Rebels can stick it to their conference rivals with a good number of wins, maybe even go as far as playing in the SEC Championship game, strong Heisman contention should be a possibility for Kelly.
Nick Chubb, RB, Georgia
Playing in the weaker division of the SEC comes as huge advantage for Chubb and the Bulldogs as they seek to produce a Heisman winner and a sleeper National Championship contender. Chubb barely made his mark in 2015 as he suffered an early season-ending injury. But prior to his injury, the Georgia star was averaging an impressive 8.2 yards per carry, underlining his potential to do big in 2016. His usage as a go-to guy for big plays and his capacity to put up solid numbers should particularly be encouraged by the fact that the team will have a new QB in Jacob Eason, so Coach Kirby Smart will most likely want to trust more of the ball with the proven RB rather than the inexperienced QB.