1. Leonard Fournette, LSU RB
2015: 864 yards on 99 carries, 11 TD
This week: at South Carolina
I know it’s early, but the Heisman trophy is Fournette’s to lose. He’s explosive, productive, consistent and the best player in college football at this point in the season. During LSU’s win on Saturday, Fournette scored three touchdowns on 26 carries for 233 yards. He has great balance and eyes when looking for holes and uses either his strength or acceleration to get away from defenders — all reasons he’s averaging 8.7 yards per carry. He’s exciting to watch and will continue drawing eyes as the season continues.
2. Nick Chubb, Georgia RB
2015: 745 yards on 91 carries, 7 TD
This week: at Tennessee
Georgia suffered a bad loss to Alabama last weekend, and Chubb was the only bright spot. He tallied 146 yards on 20 carries against an aggressive Crimson Tide defense and scored Georgia’s only touchdown on an 83-yard run. The loss made 13-straight 100-yard games for Chubb, breaking the school record previously held by Herschel Walker. If the Bulldogs bounce back quickly from this loss, Chubb’s Heisman campaign will remain strong. He’s fast, smart and very efficient, averaging 8.2 yards per carry this season.
3. Trevone Boykin, TCU QB
2015: 119-of-188, 1,802 yards, 19 TD, 3 INT
This week: at Kansas State
Texas fans don’t need reminding of the performance Boykin put on this past Saturday, and probably believe his Heisman hype, too. Boykin finished 20-of-35 with 332 yards and five touchdowns in a game that showed his control of TCU’s offense. His pocket presence, offensive line and wide receivers continue improving, making it easier for him to air it out and rack up yards. He’s been better with his scrambling as well, reading the defenses and not trying too hard to extend plays. Boykin looks more like a quarterback than an athlete each week, which will help his Heisman campaign.
4. Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio State RB
2015: 729 yards on 100 carries, 8 TD
This week: vs. Maryland
Ohio State has struggled recently, but it’s still the favorite to repeat as national champions, and Elliott is a big part of that. He ran for 274 yards and three touchdowns on 23 carries in the Buckeyes’ win over Indiana to continue his consistent season. Elliott has rushed for over 100 yards in every game this season and hasn’t been quite as much of a workhorse as Fournette or Chubb, but is still productive. He has great speed and a lot of strength, making him the prototypical Big Ten conference running back and a good Heisman candidate.
5. Seth Russell, Baylor QB
2015: 65-of-103, 1,281 yards, 19 TD, 5 INT
This week: at Kansas
Russell is one of the top quarterbacks out right now. He played an incredible game Saturday against Texas Tech, finishing 15-of-23 with 286 yards, four touchdowns and an interception. Baylor has one of the best offenses in the country, and Russell runs it nearly perfectly. He has a great arm, reads defenses well and looks really comfortable in the pocket. As Baylor continues to win, Russell’s Heisman stock will keep rising.