As ESPN’s Joe Tessitore notes in a new “Heismanology” poll video, LSU’s Leonard Fournette, Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott and Texas’ Colt McCoy were all early runaway Heisman favorites in recent years.
None of them went on to win the Heisman Trophy.
Tessitore brings up those names because Louisville QB Lamar Jackson picked up 100 percent of the first-place votes in a Heisman poll voted on by ESPN’s official voters. In other words, Jackson is clearly the big favorite for the Heisman — but it’s certain he’ll win.
Is Ohio State QB J.T. Barrett the top candidate to close the gap? Tessitore said Barrett came in second in the poll, getting named on 66 percent of the ballots, though half of the appearances were third place. Barrett is looking to become the Buckeyes’ first Heisman winner since Troy Smith in 2006.
Here’s the Top 5 from the ESPN voter poll:
- Lamar Jackson, Louisville
- J.T. Barrett, Ohio State
- Deshaun Watson, Clemson
- Jabrill Peppers, Michigan
- Christian McCaffrey, Stanford
Jackson right now has 740 more passing yards, 483 more rushing yards and 11 more touchdowns than Barrett, though Jackson and Louisville have played in one more game than Ohio State.
Barrett will also get a showdown against Michigan and then could get the Big Ten Championship Game if Ohio State keeps winning. Louisville will need help to make the ACC title game after losing to Clemson. So that means Barrett could get two huge stages to make a strong final statement.
In the end, if anyone is going to rally and beat Jackson for the Heisman Trophy (or at least close the gap), it’ll likely be either Barrett or Watson thanks to their roles as starting quarterbacks for highly ranked teams.