ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh made the declaration loud and clear, following Michigan’s 78-0 win Saturday at Rutgers:
“If there’s a better player in the country, I don’t know who it is,” Harbaugh said. “I know there’s a lot of great players out there, but to be able to coach a guy like Jabrill Peppers is a real joy. And there’s so much more.
“In my humble opinion, you’re looking at a Heisman Trophy … winner. And a candidate.”
If you didn’t have Peppers on your mock ballot, it might be wise to pencil Michigan’s most versatile player in now.
At the halfway point of the season, Peppers has 5 carries for 98 yards and 2 touchdowns, 14 punt returns for 249 yards (17.8-yard average) and 1 touchdown, 3 kick returns for 95 yards, 37 tackles (second on the team), 10 tackles for loss (most on the team), 2.5 sacks, a team-best 6 quarterback hurries and a forced fumble.
And he’s doing all of it for the fourth-ranked team in the nation.
The redshirt sophomore, however, isn’t the runaway Heisman winner right now. Here’s a look at the leading Heisman Trophy candidates and their current stats:
- J.T. Barrett, QB, Ohio State: 79-123-3 passing, 981 yards, 15 touchdowns
- Deondre Francois, QB, Florida State: 116-184-2 passing, 1,557 yards, 9 TDs
- Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville: 101-170-4, 1,625 yards passing, 14 TDs; 92 carries for 688 yards, 14 TDs
- DeShone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame: 104-177-5 passing, 1,621 yards, 14 TDs; 67-202 rushing, 6 TDs
- Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford: 99-520 rushing and 3 TDs; 18-154 receiving and 1 TD; 11 kickoff returns for 251 yards
- Donnel Pumphrey, RB, San Diego State: 129-891 rushing, 9 TDs; 18-131 receiving
- Greg Ward, QB, Houston: 131-190-4 passing, 1,684 yards, 11 TDs; 80-272 rushing, 6 TDs
- DeShaun Watson, QB, Clemson: 124-205-7 passing, 1,568 yards, 18 TDs; 57-239 rushing
- Jamaal Williams, RB, BYU: 139-866 rushing, 10 TDs
Should Peppers be among the finalists? Cast your vote and let us know.