The Heisman Trophy, established and awarded for the first time in 1935, is annually presented to the most outstanding player in college football. Sports journalists, previous Heisman Trophy winners and fans all vote on the award. Each voter identifies three selections, ranking them in order of preference. Each first-place selection is awarded three points, each second-place selection two points and each third-place selection one point. Voters must make three selections.
This year it seems like it will be a two-horse race with two strong candidates who could very well win the award — assuming they stay healthy. Starting off is the Louisiana State University’s (LSU) most talented player, running back Leonard Fournette. Fournette is projected to be the top pick in next years NFL Draft and has an uncommon level of talent. The other front-runner is Clemson’s quarterback Deshaun Watson, who guided the Tigers to the National Championship game last season. Watson was the Tigers’ captain and led by example in their undefeated regular season campaign. As a second-year captain, look for Watson to put up insane numbers and be near impossible to beat.
Leonard Fournette: (LSU)
Last year, Fournette was the clear front-runner for the Heisman Trophy through the first half of the season (seven games). He ran for over 150 yards in each game, while averaging 7.7 yards per carry. He was unstoppable. That was until he ran into Nick Saban and Alabama. Fournette only amassed 31 yards on 19 carries against Alabama, which put a damper on his Heisman hopes. He followed his pitiful performance up with a sub-100-yard game against Arkansas, completely ending all hope of him winning the Heisman Trophy. His second half yards per carry dropped to 4.1, from his unstoppable 7.7 in the first half. Despite a tough second half of the season, he finished off last year with a dominant 212 yards and four touchdown performance against the Texas Tech Raiders in the 2015 Texas Bowl.
Deshaun Watson: (Clemson)
Watson was phenomenal last season, airing it out for 4,109 yards and 35 touchdowns while completing 68 percent of his passes. Aside from proving his worth as a pocket passer, Watson ran the ball for 1,105 yards and 12 touchdowns. His 47 touchdown record last season was good for third all-time, tying him with Robert Griffin III and Johnny Manziel who both won the Heisman Trophy.
Watson is also on the No. 2 ranked team in the country and is coming off of a five-point National Championship game loss to powerhouse Alabama Roll Tide. Watson led Clemson to an ACC Championship and a 14-1 total record on the season with their one loss being the BCS National Title game. If he can continue his excellence of both running and passing the ball while providing victories, it will be hard to deny Watson the trophy.