• Baker Mayfield is still atop the rankings, but new names have emerged in the Heisman Trophy race. Here's the top five.
By Bruce Feldman
September 17, 2017

Louisville’s Lamar Jackson faced the biggest test of the Heisman frontrunners and his Cardinals were blasted at home by Clemson, while Josh Rosen’s UCLA team got shredded by the Memphis offense in a shootout and the Bruins went down too. Sam Darnold rallied USC late against Texas and was spectacular but we’re going to hold off on putting him back in the Top 5 a bit longer—his six interceptions in the first three games don’t look great, but he showed again late Saturday night why he’s as good as there is in college football at crunch time. Our top five Heisman candidates this week has a couple of newcomers to the list:

1. Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma, QB: Ho-hum. The Sooners started a bit slowly against Tulane after the huge road win at Ohio State last week, but they took over and blew out an inferior opponent 56-14 behind the QB’s four touchdown passes. Mayfield now has tossed 10 touchdowns and has yet to throw a pick.

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2. Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State, QB: The Cowboys’ offense is sizzling, averaging 54 points per game. They wasted little time blowing out Pitt on the road en route to a 59-21 romp. Rudolph threw for almost 500 yards on just 32 attempts and produced five TD passes. On the season, he’s got a sweet 11:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio and is completing more than 72% of his passes.

3. Saquon Barkley, Penn State, RB: It was kind of an odd stat line for the Nittany Lions’ star RB in their 56-0 rout of Georgia State. Barkley only had 47 rushing yards on just 10 carries, but he did have 142 receiving yards on four receptions, including one for his second TD of 80 yards or longer this season.

4. Royce Freeman, Oregon, RB: Willie Taggart is off to a fast start with the Ducks. His team has scored 42 points in the first half of each of his three games, and his 240-pound star tailback is a big reason why. Freeman has run for at least 150 yards in each of the Ducks’ three games and has racked up nine touchdowns. In a 49-13 crushing of Wyoming on the road, Freeman ran for 157 yards and also had a 50-yard reception.

5. Nick Fitzgerald, Mississippi State, QB: Dan Mullen developed a heck of a QB in Dak Prescott and he’s doing it again with the 6’5”, 230-pound junior. Fitzgerald was fantastic as the Bulldogs walloped a good LSU defense in a 37-7 blowout. Fitzgerald doesn’t put up the gaudy passing stats that some college quarterbacks do, but it’s his total game that is so impressive. He’s thrown for seven TDs (and just one INT), but the really eye-opening stuff is when you add in five rushing TDs and 240 yards on the ground.


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