Heisman Watch: Week Eight

Steve Helwick

  • 1. Lamar Jackson, Louisville quarterback
  • 2016: 2,161 passing yards, 908 rushing yards, 34 total touchdowns

Jackson steamrolled North Carolina State 54-13 on Saturday, accounting for 431 total yards and four touchdowns in the process.

Through seven games, Jackson has surpassed his 2015 passing output by over 300 yards on 17 less attempts. The sophomore quarterback ranks first at his position in rushing yards and eighth overall among all players. Scoring-wise, he leads the nation with 16 rushing touchdowns. 

Jackson’s next victim is the Virginia Cavaliers’ defense, a unit that has been less than spectacular in 2016. Another stellar road performance maneuvers the dual-threat quarterback closer to becoming the fourth sophomore to hoist the esteemed Heisman Trophy.

  • 2. Jabrill Peppers, Michigan outside linebacker
  • 2016: 249 punt return yards, 112 offensive yards, 37 tackles

What more could Jabrill Peppers do? 

The junior added another statistic to his diverse résumé, tallying his first reception of 2016 in a 41-8 win over Illinois. Peppers rushed for nine yards, handled two kickoff returns for 58 yards and recorded two solo tackles in Michigan’s seventh straight victory of the season. 

Peppers is now second in the nation in punt return yards, but continues to lead a persistent Wolverine defense that has allowed single-digit points in the majority of its games this season.

  • 3. Jake Browning, Washington quarterback
  • 2016: 1,709 passing yards, 26 passing touchdowns, 68.6 completion percentage

Browning completed just half of his throws against Oregon State — he has seen better days in terms of accuracy. But scoring-wise, the sophomore quarterback excelled earning four total touchdowns in the 41-17 win over the Beavers.

He has led the Washington offense to at least 40 points in six of seven contests. His 14-to-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio ranks second in the nation, trailing only Western Michigan’s Zach Terrell. Browning’s next opponent is the Utah Utes ( 7-1), in Salt Lake City. After falling to the Utes in 2015, the star quarterback looks to avenge the loss and keep Washington on track for an undefeated season.

4. Jonathan Allen, Alabama defensive end

  • 2016: 18 tackles, 6 sacks, 2 defensive touchdowns

In Alabama’s last eight games, the Crimson Tide have posted a national-best 12 non-offensive touchdowns. 

Allen led the charge in a 33-14 win over an undefeated Texas A&M last week. The senior defensive end scooped up an Aggie fumble and flipped it into six points for the Crimson Tide, causing a point-swing that stunted all of Texas A&M’s momentum. 

The touchdown was his second of the year, following a 75-yard pick-six at Ole Miss in week three. His 6-foot-3-inch, 291-pound frame has also demolished offensive lines on his way to six sacks this season for the No. 1 Crimson Tide.