There’s such thing as the September Heisman — shoutout to Denard Robinson — but there’s also a Week 1 Heisman, which is mostly just overreacting to one performance against a bad team. Overreacting is the best part of college football, so here are your official Heisman standings after one game.
Honorable mentions: Jacob Eason, Washington; D’Andre Swift, Georgia; Shea Patterson, Michigan; Rondale Moore, Purdue; Alex Fontenot, Colorado
5. Justin Fields, Ohio State
Fields was the second rated quarterback in the class of 2018, just behind Trevor Lawrence, who is the best QB prospect since Andrew Luck. After one season at Georgia, Fields transferred to Ohio State and was eligible immediately. He set aflame Florida Atlantic with five touchdowns on 295 yards of offense as his dual threat ability gave visions of Terrelle Pryor, minus the tattoos. Watch him put up stupid stats as the Buckeyes try to win a loaded Big Ten.
4. Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin
Speaking of stupid stats, Jonathan Taylor had four touchdowns on 18 touches in a 49-0 drubbing of South Florida. With his big play ability behind that offensive line, he’s going to put up video game numbers for the third year in a row. If there’s anyone capable of breaking Ron Dayne’s record for all-time yards or Montee Ball’s record for touchdowns (both Wisconsin backs lol), it would be Taylor, although a lifetime achievement Heisman would have to come next year, when he’s a senior.
3. Travis Etienne, Clemson
My Heisman hot take is that Etienne has far better odds of winning the Heisman than Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence. The Heisman is about narrative and stats, and while both players are elite talents on the nation’s best team, only Etienne can put up Heisman-winning stats. Clemson is too good to have competitive games, so there’s limited touches before the backups come in after halftime. Quarterbacks need volume to put up stupid stats, but Etienne does not. He had 205 yards and 3 touchdowns on just 12 carries, which is absolutely bonkers efficiency. If he sees 15-20 carries per game, he could put up 2,000+ yards and 25+ touchdowns on the No. 1 team, which would follow the Rashaan Salaam path to a Heisman.
2. Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama
Tua was the favorite heading into last season, was the favorite again this year, and is still probably the favorite. It took a perfect season from Kyler Murray to snatch the Heisman from the Hawaiian savant, but now it’s just Tua and the field. Alabama has an absurd receiving corps and a surprisingly sketchy defense, which means Tagovailoa might play some fourth quarters and put up numbers that dwarf last season’s. If he’s lucky, Alabama will need him to win some close games and really up his Heisman narrative.
1. Jalen Hurts, Oklahoma
If another Oklahoma quarterback wins the Heisman, they will have to rename it after Lincoln Riley. Hurts is a graduate transfer who’s played in three National Championship at Alabama, but because Tagovailoa exists, he had to transfer for a starting job. Hoo boy was his debut something special. Hurts went stupid against Houston, putting up 332 yards passing (on 20/23 passing), 176 yards rushing and 6 touchdowns. He was simultaneously clinical and explosive as he led OU to a 49-31 win. If the Sooners win the Big 12, it will be because Hurts leads them through a slew of shootouts, a la Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray.
Laviska Shenault will be on this list at some point, probably when defenses don’t hack him on every pass.