- 1. Lamar Jackson, Louisville quarterback
- 2016: 2,753 passing yards, 1,181 rushing yards, 45 total touchdowns
All Jackson needed was one half to prove why he is the Heisman frontrunner.
He opened the game against Boston College with a 69-yard sprint to the end zone and followed it up with a 30-yard strike to senior receiver James Quick.
The sophomore quarterback scored five total touchdowns in the first half, and finished with seven in the 52-7 blowout. Jackson threw for 231 yards and four touchdowns on just 17 passes.
On the ground, he obtained 185 yards, scoring on three of 15 carries. His dual-threat abilities have shredded defenses all season long.
Leading an 8-1 Louisville team with the top scoring offense and ranking first in the nation in total touchdowns has put Jackson on perfect pace to be the first Louisville Cardinal to hoist the 81-year old trophy.
- 2. Jabrill Peppers, Michigan outside linebacker
- 2016: 33 total tackles, 150 rushing yards, four total touchdowns
Peppers completed his first pass of the season against Maryland, except it didn’t count on the stat sheet.
But the trick play, involving Peppers throwing a backwards pass to quarterback Wilton Speight, resulted in a touchdown. Peppers’ role on offense continues to increase, as evidenced by his rushing for 126 yards in his past four games.
In a 59-3 pummeling of the Terrapins, Peppers recorded five tackles and a tackle for loss. He returned a kick and earned two rushes on offense, effectively playing on all three units. The junior’s versatility continues to impress, and he plays an integral part in a Michigan offense that is third in points per game and a defense that is first in allowed points per game.
Playing Iowa in primetime could be a perfect opportunity for the playmaker to complete or intercept his first pass to add to a stacked stat line.
3. Jake Browning, Washington quarterback
- 2016: 2,273 passing yards, 34 passing touchdowns, 202.8 quarterback rating
While many were sleeping late Saturday night, Browning was raiding the California defense through the air.
The sophomore quarterback tossed six touchdown passes in a dominating 66-27 road victory. The nation’s leader in quarterback rating also passed for a season-high 378 yards without committing a turnover. Browning has now thrown over 10 times as many touchdowns as interceptions in 2016. His Huskies continue to lead the Pac-12 with an impressive, undefeated résumé, but he must bring his A-game when facing the surging USC Trojans this Saturday.
- 4. D’Onta Foreman, Texas running back
- 2016: 1,446 rushing yards, 13 rushing touchdowns, 7.0 yards per carry
Foreman led the charging Longhorns over the Red Raiders in Lubbock on Saturday, with a career-high 341 rushing yards, and a side of three touchdowns.
The junior running back relies on strength when running, carrying defenders yards after initial contact. He has rushed for over 120 yards in all eight games he has played, currently leading the nation with 180.8 yards per game.
Foreman has also scored in seven of eight contests, ranking sixth in the nation with 13 rushing touchdowns. Texas is 5-4, thanks to Foreman leading the offense, and the Longhorns can rise even higher against a strong West Virginia defense on Saturday.