Top 10 Heisman Trophy Candidates After Week 3

top 10 heisman trophy candidates after week 3

More than ever, this season’s Heisman race is about the quarterbacks.

There aren’t an running backs within 10,000 yards of the race – quick, who’s the nation’s leading rusher? – and who’s the superstar wide receiver who’s realistically in the Heisman pack?

(BTW, Notre Dame’s Audric Estime leads the nation with 521 rushing yards, but he’s had four games of work. Appalachian State’s Nate Noel leads by a mile in yards per game averaging 151 per game.)

And now come the showdowns with the Pac-12 stars getting to go at it in conference play to go along with a slew of high-profile matchups across the country over the next few weeks. That’s what matters.

Do you produce big when EVERYONE is watching? Putting up huge numbers and big performances on Peacock doesn’t help. You have to look like the signature star of the season when the spotlight is on.

This isn’t a prediction of who’s going to win the Heisman, and it’s not necessarily our call when it comes to who deserves it. It’s a prediction and snapshot of how the Heisman voting would probably be if the season ended right now.

Week 3 College Football Roundup

Bowl Projections, CFP Predictions

Week 3 Scoreboard | Week 3 Rankings

Who’s Alive, Who’s Out in CFP Chase

Pete Fiutak on X | CFN on X

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Heisman Trophy Candidates: Week 3

Last week’s Heisman ranking in parentheses

Dropped: Travis Hunter, CB/WR, Colorado (6)

On The Radar: Drew Allar, QB Penn State (10); DJ Uiagalelei, QB Oregon State (NR); Dillon Gabriel, QB Oklahoma (NR); Bo Nix, QB Oregon

10. Riley Leonard, QB Duke (7)

Call this a bit of an out-of-sight-out-of-mind thing. He was amazing in Week 1 against Clemson, but games against Lafayette and Northwestern took him off the radar. That, and he has only thrown for 530 yards and one score to go along with three rushing scores.

Up Next: UConn

9. JJ McCarthy, QB Michigan (8)

Not only did the nation’s most accurate quarterback coming into last week throw an interception against Bowling Green, he threw three. Now he’s 0.1% behind Oklahoma’s Dillon Gabriel after completing 8-of-14 passes for 143 yards in the win. His Heisman chances are coming, but not for the while. First, he has to start building up the stats.

Up Next: Rutgers

8. Jayden Daniels, QB LSU (NR)

Yeah, but did anyone actually see him complete 30-of-34 passes for 361 yards and two touchdowns and run for 64 yards and two scores in the win over Mississippi State? His stats – 74%, 8 TDs, 1 INT – are fantastic, and it sure wasn’t his fault LSU lost to Florida State. If he keeps rocking in SEC play, it’ll all build to the November 4th date at Alabama.

Up Next: Arkansas

7. Jordan Travis, QB Florida State (4)

It’s not fair, and he got banged up, but the 222 yards and two touchdowns in a rocky day against Boston College knocks him down a wee bit for now in the Heisman beauty contest, but it doesn’t matter. Everyone saw him against LSU, and everyone will see him in a favorite-or-done game this week.

Up Next: at Clemson

6. Drake Maye, QB North Carolina (NR)

He’s completing 73% of his throws and hit Minnesota for 414 yards, but the four touchdown passes and four interceptions on the year aren’t exactly inspiring. Again, this is a list of where we think the candidates would fall if the season ended now, and a too-large Heisman voters tend to give more respect to the NFL prospect side of things.

Up Next: at Pitt

4. Quinn Ewers, QB Texas (3)

The Alabama performance when the world was watching will carry him through a rough 11-of-21, 131-yard, two-touchdown performance against Wyoming – even if he did crank it up when needed. Fortunately for his Heisman race, the game was on the Longhorn Network while everyone was watching other things, and the big moments are coming up – Oklahoma is in a few weeks.

Up Next: at Baylor

3. Michael Penix Jr., QB Washington (8)

444 passing yards per game – that’s 27 yards per game more than Shedeur Sanders, and 110 yards per outing more than the No. 3 guy Cameron Ward of Washington State. Unfortunately, the showdown against Michigan State got pushed to the backburner – Peacock – and too many missed the 473-yard, four-touchdown day. He’ll have a ton of big moments coming up in Pac-12 play.

Up Next: Cal

2. Caleb Williams, QB USC (2)

He had the week off, but he still leads the nation by a mile in quarterback rating and he’s getting more air time than just about anyone with all of his ads playing throughout a college football Saturday. As long as he keeps doing what he’s doing, the hype will continue to build. This week he has to rock at Arizona State, and then on September 30th he and the Trojans go to Boulder to face …

Up Next: at Arizona State

1. Shedeur Sanders, QB Colorado (1)

For all the hype and all the blah, blah, blah and all of the – Coach Prime’s term – “bull junk” around everything Colorado, there’s real heart and genuine toughness in this team and its star quarterback.

For those who stayed up to around 2 am ET, Sanders had a true Heisman moment.

Colorado should’ve lost to Colorado State. Down eight, Sanders and the Buffs had 98 yards to go. The passing game cranked it up, Sanders hit Jimmy Horn for a 45-yard score and then found Michael Harrison for two to tie it, and he game up with two more touchdown passes in overtime to win it.

Here’s the Heisman problem. There are a certain segment of voters who’ll be turned off by the whole Colorado act and won’t vote for Sanders, just because. It’s obviously not fair, and it’s not right, and it won’t matter if he lights it up against Oregon this week and outduels Caleb Williams and USC the week after.

Up Next: at Oregon

Week 3 College Football Roundup

Bowl Projections, CFP Predictions

Week 3 Scoreboard | Week 3 Rankings

Who’s Alive, Who’s Out in CFP Chase

Pete Fiutak on X | CFN on X

College Football News on Facebook

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