"Pumphrey for Heisman" banner on SDSU campus building photo credit Lisa Horne
The Heisman race has reached room temperature. In other words, it has not heated up yet.
So many athletes have thrown their names into the hat. Some voters may argue that no one has made a strong case for why he should be at the top of their ballots. Thankfully, there is plenty of football left to be played.
There are clubhouse leaders. Some have moved up, some have moved down. These players made my mid-October watch list.
1- Lamar Jackson, quarterback, Louisville
The Cardinals may have lost 42-36 to Clemson, but that game did not dampen Jackson's Heisman hopes. He is among the top five rushers in FBS averaging 137.60 yards per game. Jackson also checks in at No. 11 in passing productivity and has a superb 14-4 touchdown-interception ratio.
2- Jake Browning, quarterback, Washington
The Huskies laid 70 points on Oregon on Saturday. The humanity of it all. Browning went 22-of-28 for 304 yards and six—count 'em six—touchdowns. He holds a 240.49 passer rating and a filthy 23-2 TD-INT ratio.
3- Donnel Pumphrey, running back, San Diego State
It is only mid-October yet Pumphrey has rushed for 891 yards. Are you kidding me? Averaging 178.20 yards per game, Pumphrey is the nation's rushing leader. The school is now actively campaigning for him (see picture).
4- Deshaun Watson, quarterback, Clemson
Watson had a great game against Louisville but his inconsistency on third down completions (50 percent) needs to improve. With upcoming games at Florida State and Pittsburgh, Watson will have high-profile games to turn voters' heads. Like last year, he is probably a late bloomer.
5- J.T. Barrett, quarterback, Ohio State
Barrett has excellent numbers (166.59 passer rating, 15-3 TD-INT) but it is his leadership that has impressed thus far. His skills will be tested with a back-loaded schedule that includes games at Wisconsin, at Penn State, Nebraska, at Michigan State and Michigan.
6- Logan Woodside, quarterback, Toledo
Woodside is a phenomenal passer averaging 338.2 yards per game and is one of only two quarterbacks (Nate Romine, Air Force) who averages over 10 yards per pass. Combine that with a 204.1 passer rating and a 20-2 TD/INT ratio and you have a legitimate Heisman contender.
7- Greg Ward Jr, quarterback, Houston
Ward is still in the mix despite a subpar performance in the Cougars loss to Navy. Ward went 32-of-50 for three touchdowns and two interceptions. He has 272 rushing yards on the year.
Tommie Armstrong, quarterback, Nebraska
Dalvin Cook, running back, Florida State
Patrick Mahomes, quarterback, Texas Tech
Christian McCaffrey, running back, Stanford
Defensive players to keep your eyes on
Justin Evans, safety, Texas A&M
Adoree' Jackson, defensive back, USC
Jabrill Peppers, linebacker, Michigan