The 2016 College Football season begins tonight, with Cal and Hawaii squaring off in Melbourne, Australia, making it the third CFB game played in Australia, and the first since 1987. As the season begins, I'm gonna take a look at the top 4 Heisman-Hopefuls.
1. Deshaun Watson: Deshaun was in my opinion, the 2015 Heisman, I don't care how many yards Henry ran for, because he ran the ball every single play of the season, and Watson dominated every single team and led Clemson to the National Championship. Watson totaled over 5,000 yards last season, throwing for 4,109 and 35 touchdowns, with only 13 interceptions, and 12 touchdowns on the ground. He grew into a superstar from the 2014 to 2015 season, and I expect him to do even more this year - which is hard to believe. The Clemson Tigers have a lot of pressure on them, as they open as one of the favorites to win it all this year, and that is all expected to be behind their strong leader and quarterback, Deshaun Watson.
2. Christian McCaffrey: McCaffrey burst onto the college football scene last season and put the entire nation on notice, as he racked up the most yards from scrimmage in college football history, breaking Barry Sanders 1988 season record, as McCaffrey totaled 3,496 yards. Christian ran for over 2,000 yards, and caught enough passes for over 600 yards, and returned 1,000+ yards in kicks. He dominated the whole season, and then came out in the Rose Bowl and slaughtered Iowa single handedly, racking up 368 all purpose yards, with a receiving and punt return touchdown. The kid can flat out do it all, and he makes it look so easy. A more high profile, possibly more talented version of Danny Woodhead, Darren Sproles, maybe even Julian Edelman, we will just have to wait and see.
3. Leonard Fournette: This young man is an absolute beast, no doubt about it. Fournette started out the season better than any back in recent memory, and although he cooled down as the season progressed, that had little to do with him, as his line began to struggle and their passing game became too weak to balance out the offense. Leonard ran for just shy of 2,000 yards, and powered his way to 22 rushing TD's, along with 250 receiving yards and 1 TD. For comparison, Derrick Henry, who seemingly had this "unreal" rushing season, only ran for 250 more yards, and 6 more touchdowns, all with 65 more carriers, and a yard less per carry averages - yet Leonard came in 6th in Heisman voting, because his team fell apart. For CFB, I understand that how well your team down, affects how well your voting goes, but I feel that should be more relevant for QB's, as opposed to RB & WR's, which is why, if Watson does not bring home the trophy, I would put my money on Fournette.
4. Baker Mayfield: This year could be Baker Mayfield's year, as he looks poised to lead Oklahoma to a national title. He played well in his games started last season, starting 13 games and throwing for 3,700 yards and 36 touchdowns, with only 7 interceptions. On top of that he was able to rush for 405 yards and 7 touchdowns, which makes him a threat to all defenses. Mayfield is the kind of player who loves the attention and loves the bright lights, so being under the microscope at the seasons start is just what he needs. He finished 4th in voting last season, and most people are expecting even bigger numbers and success, so could this be Baker's year?
With Derrick Henry gone and the Heisman up for grabs, these 4 hopefuls all finished in the top 6 last season, all trailing Henry, and all ready to take award, and lead their teams to a national championship. Dalvin Cook, Nick Chubb, Chad Kelly, and JT Barrett are all players on the bubble who could make their own noise and run towards a finalist spot.