College football returned earlier this month and all eyes are on the Heisman trophy. After three weeks, there are a number of candidate’s worthy of the award but there are five players in particular who stand out the most. Baker Mayfield, Mason Rudolph, Saquon Barkley, Royce Freeman, and Nick Fitzgerald cover the top five Heisman candidates so far this season according to Sports Illustrated.com
There is no surprise seeing Baker Mayfield as the top candidate to win the Heisman thus far. He’s lead the Oklahoma Sooners to a 3-0 start to the 2017 season and has done so by putting up outstanding numbers. Mayfield has 62 completions in 82 attempts and has thrown for 10 touchdowns. If that wasn’t impressive enough, he has done this without throwing a single interception. Mayfield is putting up Heisman worthy numbers each week whether it be against an inferior team such as Tulane, or leading the Sooners to an upset victory against Ohio State. The Sooners start Big 12 play this week against Baylor as Mayfield looks to remain at the top of all experts’ lists.
Mason Rudolph came in at number two on the Sports Illustrated top five. This is an improvement for Rudolph who hardly broke the top 5 last week. The Oklahoma State Cowboys are also 3-0 heading into week four. Rudolph is coming off a dominating five touchdown game against Pitt where the Cowboys won by more than 30 points. His five touchdowns brought his season total to 11. Rudolph’s one interception is overshadowed by his 72.3% completion rating as the Cowboys look to move to 4-0 this weekend against TCU.
Penn State’s Saquon Barkley is the first running back in this week’s top five. Barkley is putting up Heisman worthy numbers for the Nittany Lions so far. After just three games, Barkley has rushed the ball 38 times for 307 yards and three touchdowns. On top of his three rushing touchdowns, he also recorded two receiving touchdowns including one that went for 85 yards against Georgia State. In addition to his 307 rushing yards, he also has 241 receiving yards on 11 receptions. Barkley has a total of 548 yards from scrimmage after just three weeks as he looks to continue his explosive play this weekend heading into Penn State’s Big Ten opener against Iowa.
Sports Illustrated listed Oregon Ducks running back Royce Freeman as another top candidate this week for the Heisman trophy. Freeman is ranked fourth and his stats after just three weeks are the reason experts are talking about him. Freeman has managed to rush for more than 150 yards in each of the Ducks first three regular season games. He rushed the ball 82 times for 9 touchdowns. To add to his impressive start, Freeman also recorded 6 receptions for 109 yards so far this season totaling 569 yards from scrimmage. Heading into week 4, Freeman and the Ducks look to improve on their impressive start to the season as they travel to Arizona State this weekend.
Dak Prescott was one tough act to follow at Mississippi State. However, Nick Fitzgerald has stepped up to the role and has proved through the first three weeks why he deserved to be in this week’s top 5. Fitzgerald’s stats when he drops back to pass are not very eye opening. Heading into week four, Fitzgerald currently has 543 passing yards and just seven touchdowns through the air. However, it is his rushing statistics that makes him an early Heisman candidate. After just three games, Fitzgerald has already managed to rush for 240 yards and found the end zone five times on the ground. His five rushing touchdowns brought his total touchdowns to 12 after just three games. Mississippi State travels to Georgia this weekend as Fitzgerald and the Bulldogs look to remain undefeated.
The first three weeks of college football have shown an extreme amount of talent from teams all around the country. With 10 weeks remaining in the season, it is still too early to know for sure who will bring home the Heisman. A lot can change in 10 weeks, that is what makes the race for the Heisman so great. Fans can tune into ESPN on December 9 to find out the winner of the 2017 Heisman trophy.