The race for the Heisman Trophy is on, and it is WIDE open in 2018. No past winners remain on the landscape, and two of the top contenders from last season, Bryce Love and Jonathan Taylor, are running backs- at a time when quarterbacks reign supreme.
Others considered: QB McKenzie Milton (UCF), RB J.K. Dobbins (Ohio State), QB Jake Browning (Washington), QB Ryan Finley (NC State), QB Nick Fitzgerald (Mississippi State), RB Cam Akers (Florida State), QB Dwayne Haskins (Ohio State), DT Ed Oliver (Houston), QB Deondre Francois (Florida State), QB Justin Herbert (Oregon), RB Rodney Anderson (Oklahoma), RB Damien Harris (Alabama), RB D’Andre Swift (Georgia), QB Malik Rosier (Miami), and RB Myles Gaskins (Washington)
10. QB Tua Tagovailoa (Alabama)/QB Kelly Bryant (Clemson)— I have Alabama and Clemson as the top 2 teams in the country, but both have questions at QB. Tagovailoa is still locked in a competition with Jalen Hurts, and, while Bryant has been named the starter, Trevor Lawrence is looming behind him. If either quarterback gets a firm hold on the job early in the season, they will be serious contenders by virtue of their team and talent.
9. QB Jarrett Stidham (Auburn)—One of the best arms in the country, Stidham put together a strong 2017 campaign despite being out of football in 2016. The Tigers should lean heavily on the signal caller this season, and the nation’s toughest schedule will give him significant opportunity to build support behind his candidacy.
**8. QB Khalil Tate (Arizona)—**Tate burst onto the scene last season as he put up massive rushing numbers for the Wildcats. Now under Kevin Sumlin, he should have the opportunity to, once again, put up eye-popping stats. However, will Arizona be relevant enough for him to have a strong candidacy.
7. QB Trace McSorley (Penn State)— Saquon Barkley is now gone, and this team will lean heavily on McSorley to keep the offense humming at a high level. Like others on this list, he benefits from playing in the Big 10 East, where the eyes of the nation will be on him and his team.
6. QB Shea Patterson (Michigan)— Intense pressure is on Patterson’s shoulders as the expectations are high that he could finally return Michigan to prominence over Ohio State. The former Rebel is now on a bigger stage, in college football’s toughest division, and leading a team that should be nationally relevant.
5. QB Will Grier (West Virginia)— The former Gator will put up massive numbers in Holgorsen’s offense, but that will be discounted because of the system. However, if Grier keeps this team in Big 12 contention deep into the season, he will be very much a factor in this race.
4. QB Kyler Murray (Oklahoma)— With one season remaining before he begins his professional baseball career, Murray is one of the most dynamic athletes in the country. He should thrive in Lincoln Riley’s offense, and the Sooners should keep him in the national spotlight.
3. QB Jake Fromm (Georgia)— Among likely playoff teams, Fromm is the most known and most secure quarterback, and that makes him a safe bet to be a player in this race. Now without Chubb and Michel, this is Fromm’s offense, but the Dawgs still will feature a strong ground game. Whether he can put up the needed numbers is a question.
2. RB Jonathan Taylor (Wisconsin)— Quite simply, Taylor was sensational as a freshman, and his team returns the nation’s top OL. Wisconsin is poised to be a national contender, and road contests against Michigan and Penn State look like some of the season’s top games. He will have the chance to put up big numbers, and there will be opportunities to do so in front of a large audience.
1. RB Bryce Love (Stanford)— There are three strikes against Love: 1) He’s a running back, and only 3 have won the trophy since the turn of the century, 2) Stanford is a good team but one that is unlikely to make the playoff, and 3) It’s tough for west coast players to win the award. While three strikes normally means “you’re out,” the numbers Love has compiled, the fact that he was last season’s runner-up, and the amount of big games he will play in this season gives him the early #1 spot.