Heisman Watch: The Finalists

By Joel Devick

Sports Blogger

@joelyranch3r

The 2017 college football regular season is one more Army-Navy rivalry installment away from officially being over, and we now know who will be on the ballot for the nation’s most coveted individual award: the Heisman Trophy. Here’s how the three finalists measure up and who is expected to take home the trophy on Dec. 9

Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville – season stats: 241-for-399 3,489 passing yards, 25 touchdowns, 208 rushes, 1,443 rushing yards, 17 touchdowns

(Bip America, Flickr)

Lost in the shuffle of a crazy season was the progress of the reigning Heisman winner, Lamar Jackson. Statistically, Jackson has had a better campaign than the one which earned him the honor of being last year’s best player, but he lacked a truly standout performance like the seven-touchdown explosion he had last season. Jackson’s stats and ability are nothing to scoff at. He has obviously improved, but an absence of a big-time Heisman moment and a few too many losses will make this just another trip to the big apple for Louisville’s talisman. The Cardinals face off against Mississippi State on Dec. 30 in the TaxSlayer Bowl.

Bryce Love, RB, Stanford – season stats: 237 rushes, 1,937 yards, 17 touchdowns

(Steve Cheng, Flickr)

What’s not to love about Bryce Love? (OK, no more puns with his name, promise). Last season he was a backup to Christian McCaffrey, and now he is averaging 8.3 yards a carry and generating most of his team’s offense on a bad ankle no less. Love has averaged 164 yards per game and has been a dynamic threat out of the backfield. Whether he wins the award, Love has impressed and been a great replacement for the departed McCaffrey in the Stanford offense. The Cardinal play the TCU Horned Frogs in the Alamo Bowl on Dec. 28.

Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma – season stats: 262-for-369 4,340 passing yards, 41 touchdowns, 310 rushing yards, five touchdowns

(Devin Lawrence Wilber, O’Colly)

Baker Mayfield is a shoe-in for the Heisman after a stellar campaign with multiple high-profile wins and moments that will be remembered by college football fans for years to come. Mayfield becomes the fifth player to finish in the top four of voting for a third individual time. That alone shows how quality Mayfield has been in his time as a college athlete. Another crazy statistic: Mayfield will be the first walk-on to win the award since 1950, which is the first year that athletic scholarships could even be given out. Mayfield, a senior, has been, in a word, unstoppable. The voting will reflect that when the ballots are revealed this Saturday. The Sooners matchup with the Georgia Bulldogs in the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day in the first semifinal of the College Football Playoff.

ozone@ocolly.com

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