The 2017 Heisman Trophy finalists are out, and unlike past years that have featured a larger field of contenders at the ceremony, three of the best college football players in the nation are heading to New York. Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield, Stanford running back Bryce Love, and Lousville quarterback and reigning Heisman winner Lamar Jackson are the three players who are up for the highest individual honor in college football this year.
Mayfield is considered the favorite to win the award, as the Sooners’ sensational signal caller is on pace to set the FBS record for passer efficiency this season. He’s led Oklahoma to an 12-1 mark thus far, which included a Big 12 championship and a birth in the College Football Playoff. The senior quarterback was tops in the nation in completion percentage (71 percent) and second in passing yards (4,340) and touchdowns (41).
Love was a monster out of the Cardinal backfield, coming in second nationally in rushing yards (1,973) while going for an insane 8.3 yards per attempt. A big-play threat, Love busted out 12 rushes of 50 yards or more on the year, which was more than every team other than Arizona. Additionally, he found the end zone 17 times this year, all on the ground.
While he kind of flew under the radar this season, Jackson built on last year’s Heisman-winning campaign by being arguably better this season. He completed 60.4 percent of his passes for 3,489 yards and 25 touchdowns through the air, and on the ground, Jackson ran for another 1,443 yards and 17 scores. While Louisville only went 8-4, it’s hard to blame any of their struggles on Jackson.
All three of these players absolutely deserve to attend the ceremony, and you can make a case for any of them winning the award. Beyond them, there are a number of players who had really good cases to make it to New York but did not receive the opportunity. Namely, there are a number of fantastic running backs who arguably should have made it, chief among them are Penn State’s Saquon Barkley, Auburn’s Kerryon Johnson, San Diego State’s Rashaad Penny, and Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor.