Lamar Jackson, quarterback, Louisville: 1,806 yards, 15 touchdowns, 832 rushing yards, 15 rushing touchdowns
Louisville had a Friday night matchup against Duke, and it won 24-14. Jackson didn’t keep up with his own pace but still added two touchdowns to his resume. Jackson had one rushing touchdown on 144 yards and one passing touchdown on 181 yards. Jackson has a gigantic lead. If he is average the rest of the season, Jackson will be hoisting the trophy at the end of 2016. Louisville takes on North Carolina State on Saturday.
Deshaun Watson, quarterback, Clemson: 1,950 yards, 20 touchdowns
Clemson faced North Carolna State, and it stole the Wolfpack’s motto, “Survive and advance.” The Tigers needed overtime to beat NCSU 24-17. Watson’s stats were impressive. He threw for 378 yards and two touchdowns. These stats look nice, but he threw the ball 52 times and completed 39 of those attempts. Watson is the closest to Jackson, but is still a ways back. Clemson is on a bye next week.
Jake Browning, quarterback, Washington: 1,418 yards, 23 touchdowns
The Huskies were on a bye in Week 7. Browning’s campaign has been impressive, and he will get the votes from the West Coast. Washington hosts Oregon State on Saturday.
J.T. Barrett, quarterback, Ohio State: 1,207 yards, 16 touchdowns, 434 rushing yards, six rushing touchdowns
Barrett and the Buckeyes, like Clemson, needed overtime to earn a victory. Ohio State beat Wisconsin 30-23. Barrett totaled three touchdowns, two rushing and one passing. Camp Randall is one of the toughest places to play, but Barrett kept his composure, turning the ball over only once. The Buckeyes remain perfect, and head to Penn State on Saturday.
Jalen Hurts, quarterback, Alabama: 1,385 yards, nine touchdowns, 428 rushing yards, eight rushing touchdowns
Alabama throttled Tennessee 49-10. The true freshman led the way for the Crimson Tide with three rushing touchdowns. Hurts has been efficient this season, throwing only three interceptions. He’s quietly leading Alabama’s offense but the defense is why the Crimson Tide are top-ranked. Alabama faces its toughest test of the season Saturday when the Crimson Tide host Texas A&M.
Oklahoma State’s top candidate
Mason Rudolph, quarterback; 2,039 yards, 13 touchdowns
Rudolph and the Cowboys had a bye this week. The OSU gunslinger’s performance this season has been what the Cowboys need, but he isn’t close to the top five. Rudolph needs OSU to surge in the rankings and for the Cowboys to become a contender to have a shot at the Heisman. OSU travels to Kansas on Saturday, and Rudolph should boost his stats.