1. Leonard Fournette, LSU RB
2015: 631 yards on 73 carries, 8 TD
This week: vs. Eastern Michigan
It had to be done. Fournette’s performance last week forced me to put him above my long-time Heisman favorite, Nick Chubb. Fournette ran for a career-high 244 yards and two touchdowns against Syracuse, averaging just under 10 yards per carry in his fifth-straight game rushing for 100 or more yards. He’s shining as LSU’s workhorse behind his powerful running style and an improving offensive line. It’s still early in the season, but I think the trophy is Fournette’s to lose.
2. Nick Chubb, Georgia RB
2015: 599 yards on 71 carries, 6 TD; 37 yards on 3 catches, TD
This week: vs. Alabama
With all the attention Fournette is getting, Chubb’s early Heisman lead is decreasing. His performance, however, is not. Chubb ran for 131 yards and two touchdowns against Southern University and added a 24-yard reception for another score. He’s currently on a 12-game streak of running for more than 100 yards a game, and if he can do that against an Alabama team that hasn’t allowed a 100-yard rusher this season, he’ll be back on everyone’s radar.
3. Trevone Boykin, TCU QB
2015: 99-of-153, 1,470 yards, 14 TD, 3 INT
This week: vs. Texas
Boykin earned the Davey O’Brien Quarterback of the Week award after his 34-of-54 performance in a shoot-out over Texas Tech last Saturday. He threw for 485 yards and four touchdowns in the game while adding 42 yards on the ground for his second-straight performance of more than 500 yards. Boykin’s composure down the stretch in a tight game showed his maturity and talent. With every game, he looks more like a true quarterback than just a flashy playmaker, which will help his Heisman campaign if TCU continues to win.
4. Cody Kessler, USC QB
2015: 89-of-122, 1,297 yards, 15 TD, INT
This week: Bye-week
Kessler’s Trojans may not be perfect on the season, but his statistics aren’t too far off. Kessler threw his first interception of the season early in last week’s game against Arizona State but recovered to lead USC to a 42-14 win in a game most people thought would be close. He finished 19-of-33 for 375 yards and five touchdowns in another solid performance. Kessler was very efficient in big third downs and showed his athleticism by extending plays. If he can keep USC on the winning track and better his 2014 season, Kessler could be in New York come December.
T5. Derrick Henry, Alabama RB; Paul Perkins, UCLA RB
2015: 422 yards on 67 carries, 8 TD; 514 yards on 82 carries, 6 TD
This week: at Georgia; vs. Arizona State
These two running backs may not have the best statistics, but they are solid runners who deserve Heisman attention. Henry had a quiet performance in Alabama’s shutout win against Louisiana-Monroe, but has a chance to shine when the Crimson Tide faces Georgia. Perkins had a huge three-touchdown night to help the Bruins beat a very good Arizona squad, and he can improve his Heisman campaign with another big outing this weekend. Keep an eye on these two — their stock might be way up after Saturday.