By CHANCE SMITH
Another week of college football means another chance for Heisman trophy hopefuls to show voters what they’re made of. Week 10 featured several high profile match-ups between top-25 teams and we officially have a new team sitting at the top of the list.
The Clemson Tigers took over the No. 1 spot with their 23-13 win over Florida State to move to 9-0 on the season. Ohio State remained undefeated against Minnesota, but dropped to No. 3 in the recently released College Football Playoff rankings, while Alabama trumped SEC rival LSU 30-16 to jump to No.2 in the polls. Louisiana State took a small tumble to the ninth spot.
In the Big 12, Baylor dropped to No. 6 after a narrow 31-24 win over Kansas State and Oklahoma State moved to No. 12 after dominating TCU 49-29. All of the top-five teams─with the exception of Oklahoma State─ have one thing in common: Heisman contenders. The dominant performances of their star players are what is keeping their team at the top of the radar, so let’s take a look at the Heisman contenders for week 11.
TOP 5 HEISMAN CONTENDERS
Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson University
It’s only fitting that the star quarterback for the No. 1 team in the nation takes over the No. 1 spot in the Heisman watch for week 11. Watson has put up video-game-like statistics all season and is a big part of the reason his squad is 9-0. The sophomore completed 28 of his 42 passes for 297 yards and a touchdown to beat the (at the time) No. 17 Florida State Seminoles this past Saturday.
Watson also ran for 107 yards on the ground, proving that he truly is the best dual-threat quarterback in the nation. The Tigers have a 36-game win streak against unranked teams and do not have a ranked team left on their schedule this year. If Watson can continue to put up the numbers he has been, he should be the frontrunner for the Heisman trophy.
Derrick Henry, RB, University of Alabama
Big players play big in big games. Derrick Henry did just that against SEC rival LSU this past weekend. The 6’3” 242 lb. junior ran the ball a career-high 38 times for 210 yards and three touchdowns. Henry definitely won the battle of the best running backs in the SEC, rushing for over 170 yards more than Leonard Fournette in the game. Henry is now tied for first in the nation in touchdowns among running backs with 17. If he has a big game against Mississippi State next week, he could jump to No. 1 on this list.
Leonard Fournette, RB, Louisiana State University
As mentioned above, Fournette did not have his best day against Alabama. The fantastic freshman rushed for only 31 yards on 19 carries for one touchdown. He looked like he just didn’t know what to do against the monstrous defensive line of the Crimson Tide. Before this week, Fournette was my clear No. 1 in the Heisman race. Big players show out late in the season though, and Fournette showed some vulnerability this weekend. If he can out play Henry the rest of the season and in the SEC playoffs, Fournette could move up a few spots. Time will tell.
Ezekiel Elliot, RB, Ohio State University
Consistency is the key for the Buckeyes junior running back. Elliot has been the only consistent producer for an Ohio State squad that has dealt with problems at the quarterback position. Elliot has rushed for 1244 yards and 14 touchdowns this season and has two big matchups against Michigan and Michigan State left on the schedule. If he is able to have a big game against those two top-25 opponents, then his Heisman stock is through the roof.
Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor University
Coleman has been lights out for the Baylor Bears this season. The junior has reeled in 20 touchdown passes this season─six more than any other receiver in the entire nation. Coleman also has the highest average yards per catch out of any receiver with more than 1,000 yards on the nation with 20.3 yards per catch. He is undoubtedly the top receiver in the nation this year and the only thing that is keeping his Heisman stock down is the recent season-ending injury to starting quarterback Seth Russell. We’ll see this week if Coleman still puts up his huge numbers with true freshman Jarrett Stidham at the helm.
Trevone Boykin, QB, TCU; Dak Prescott, QB, Mississippi St.; Josh Doctson, WR, TCU; Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford.