Photo credit Rob Christy// US-Presswire
Yes, it is way too early to predict who will win the Heisman Trophy. In fact, I predict this will be a very tight race because of all the outstanding candidates impressing so early in the season.
The preseason favorites, Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson and Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey, are in unusual positions. Neither are at the top of the list for two very different reasons.
If the Heisman Trophy ballots were due after two weeks of play, here is how I would vote:
1. Lamar Jackson, quarterback, Louisville
Jackson has the arm arm strength of former Miami quarterback Dan Marino. If he could find a tad more touch—like former Denver quarterback John Elway's—he's a Heisman lock.
2. Donnel Pumphrey, running back, San Diego State
Pumphrey is averaging 189 yards per game but more importantly, he's averaging almost eight yards a carry.
3. Nick Chubb, running back, Georgia
I had Chubb as a preseason favorite last year but he suffered a season-ending knee injury in October—it is good to see him back trucking opposing defenses.
4. Royce Freeman, running back, Oregon
Freeman is a multi-dimensional threat in a Duck offense that should produce some gaudy numbers.
5. Christian McCaffrey, running back, Stanford
C-Mac only has one game under his belt but he impressed but with 210 all-purpose yards.
Lurking in the shadows (in alphabetical order):
Kalen Ballage, running back, Arizona State
Has an incredible eight TDs season-to-date.
J.T. Barrett, quarterback, Ohio State
Is playing with a rebuilt offense and still makes it look easy.
Shane Buechele, quarterback, Texas
The true freshman was very impressive against Notre Dame.
Deondre Francois, quarterback, Florida State
He's flying under the radar but a date with Louisville on Saturday may change that.
Josh Rosen, quarterback, UCLA
Rosen's decision-making is a big question mark but his touch on the deep ball is on point.
Greg Ward, Jr., quarterback, Houston
Was phenomenal vs Oklahoma but DNP (shoulder) v Lamar.
Deshaun Watson, quarterback, Clemson
Hasn't had an impressive game—Louisville on October 1 will be his first big test.
There are 12 or so weeks left before the 2016 Heisman Trophy winner is announced on December 10. A lot can happen between now and then. Injuries can hamper a candidate's performance. Statistics can be over-inflated due to the quality of competition a team faces in the first few weeks. As such, this list is very premature. It is very fluid.
My final list—released immediately after the Heisman Trophy winner is announced— will likely be very different from week two's list. So if your guy isn't on this list, do not fret. Names will be added, dropped, moved up and down.
It's all part of the Heisman ride.