SQ Heisman Power Rankings: 1st Edition
Welcome to the first ever SQ Heisman Power Rankings. Now several weeks into the season, our writers have conducted a roundtable to put forth their takes on the frontrunners for college football's most prestigious award. The five players in the rankings are: Ezekiel Elliott, Leonard Fournette, Trevone Boykin, Nick Chubb and Chad Kelly.
As you will see throughout the rankings, our writers disagree on where each player ends up. For example, one may say he ranked a player at number 4, and the actual ranking came out to number 2. That is all part of the fun.
These rankings will be updated every week and will more than likely shuffle through a handful of players. In fact, an honorable mentions section is at the bottom of the page, so look out for those guys to make a leap in the upcoming weeks.
How the Scoring Works
Each of the writers was asked to rank the top 5 current Heisman contenders from 1-5. This 1-5 ranking was then used as a points system. I tallied up how many points each athlete got and ranked them based upon their total. The lower one’s total is, the higher on the rankings he is.
Without further ado, here are the SQ Heisman Power Rankings heading into Week 4:
1. Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU 6 points (unanimous #1)
19 carries 228 yards 3 touchdowns vs. Auburn
47 carries 387 yards 6 touchdowns this season
What Our Writers Thought:
Erik Weiss: After Fournette singlehandedly massacred the Auburn defense last Saturday, he's been a story across the country. He showed a lot of promise at the end of last season and everybody was expecting him to break out this year. Well, it's safe to say he has. Through two games, against two SEC opponents, Fournette is averaging over 8 yards per carry. At this rate, he can finish the regular season with over 1700 yards and nearly 30 touchdowns. I have a good feeling that it's within reach.
Geoff Hammersley: Leonard Fournette is the man everyone is chasing right now. After a 3 TD performance against Auburn, he looks like the toughest running back to bring down in the country. If he can keep up this kind of production throughout the season, he has a good chance to be a finalist – at a minimum.
Alex Koslow: Leonard Fournette almost singlehandedly tore up an Auburn defense that was supposed to be much improved with the help of new defensive coordinator Will Muschamp. In only two games, his rushing numbers put him in the top 15 for rushing yards and top 10 for touchdowns. Barring a setback, Fournette will be headed to New York for the Heisman presentation.
Robert Hess: Fournette is an absolute monster. When you go off on an, albeit struggling, Auburn defense for 228 yards and three scores, you are going to vault to the top of the Heisman power rankings.
David Street: Is there any team that can stop Leonard Fournette right now? Mississippi State couldn't and neither could Auburn. Fournette unleashed his full potential against the Tigers as he absolutely tore their defense apart with 228 rushing touchdowns and three touchdowns. He's looking like the best running back not just in the SEC, but in the nation.
2. Nick Chubb, RB, Georgia 13 points
21 carries 159 yards 2 touchdowns vs. South Carolina
56 carries 468 yards 4 touchdowns this season
What Our Writers Thought:
Erik Weiss: Nick Chubb has not disappointed since becoming Georgia's starter. He ended last year as arguably the best back in the SEC and has since continued to prove his worth. Chubb is also averaging over 8 yards per carry and is on a similar historical pace as Fournette is right now. It's going to be a race between those two for the Heisman.
Geoff Hammersley: Staying in the SEC, I have Georgia's Nick Chubb at second. Chubb is speedy, at that's a big reason for his 468 total yards on the ground this season. As Georgia and LSU go about their respective seasons, the eye-test might be the only differentiating factor between Fournette and Chubb.
Alex Koslow: What more can you say about Chubb? He took over for Todd Gurley last year and has looked like a Heisman candidate ever since. With 11 straight games of 100+ rushing yards Chubb is almost a lock to be a finalist. The only thing that could hinder Chubb is Georgia using sophomore Sony Michel more. We could possibly see Fournette and Chubb in the SEC Championship game, which could determine the Heisman winner.
Robert Hess: Chubb is performing well, but Georgia has posted wins against weaker competition. The Georgia RB does have a superb 8.4 yards per carry, so he and Fournette will be duking it out for the top spot.
David Street: Nick Chubb is still a beast. He rushed for over 100 yards for the 11th straight game.
3. Chad Kelly, QB, Ole Miss 22 points
18-33 362 total yards 4 touchdowns vs. Alabama
47-73 965 total yards 12 touchdowns 1 int. this season
What Our Writers Thought:
Erik Weiss: If Leonard Fournette is the talk of the nation right now, Chad Kelly is the runner up. Ole Miss has been lighting opponents up and it's mostly thanks to Kelly. The Rebels put up 43 points against Alabama, in Tuscaloosa. Chad Kelly accounted for over half of the team's offense that night. He's quickly making a case for himself as the best quarterback in the country.
Geoff Hammersley: Ole Miss' Chad Kelly comes in at number four on my list. A breakout game against Alabama, especially this early in the season, can give anyone Heisman momentum. Kelly fired four touchdowns against perennial powerhouse Alabama, including a quintessential Heisman moment TD that came off a bad snap and a tip by an Alabama defender. If Kelly can guide Ole Miss to a 10-win season, he will be a real contender to walk away with the trophy in December.
Alex Koslow: Chad Kelly's rise to fame reminds me a little Johnny Manziel's. Everyone knew about Kelly coming into the year, but wasn't sure what he was really capable of showing. He put up big numbers in the games leading up to Alabama, and like Manziel, in the spotlight against the Tide he rose to the occasion. Kelly impressed fans and the hype is now building for him to be considered as a serious Heisman candidate. Alabama's defense was supposed to be one of the best in the country and Kelly tore them up with four touchdowns.
Robert Hess: Chad Kelly impressed by putting up 4 (three through the air, one on the ground) touchdowns in Ole Miss' win in Tuscaloosa. However awesome he was, albeit on only 54.5% passing, he faced two ridiculously poor defenses in weeks one and two. If Ole Miss can stay undefeated, expect Kelly's name to stay in the picture.
David Street: Chad Kelly came into a hostile environment and passed the test with flying colors. He led his Ole Miss Rebels to an impressive victory over the Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa with 341 passing yards and three touchdown passes.
4. Trevone Boykin, QB, TCU 23 points
21-30 504 total yards 6 touchdowns 1 int vs. SMU
65-99 1133 all purpose yards 12 touchdowns 3 ints this season
What Our Writers Thought:
Erik Weiss: Trevone Boykin has been underwhelming at best this season. Maybe this is due to us expecting too much out of him. Boykin burst onto the scene last season, establishing himself as one of the flashiest guys in the NCAA. Ever since his struggles against Minnesota, his reputation has been hurt, even though he's already totaled over 1000 yards and double digit touchdowns. It's going to take a quality performance against a tough Big 12 team to move Boykin back up the list.
Geoff Hammersley: I have Trevone Boykin in fifth. Even though Boykin tore through the SMU defense, the quality of his opponents comes into question. Like last week, Boykin will stay in my top-5, but will only move up if he can recreate the numbers he's had thus far against Oklahoma or Baylor.
Alex Koslow: Boykin was my preseason favorite to win the Heisman. A dual-threat QB who can put up big numbers and light up the scoreboard, what’s not to love? From his start against Minnesota, Boykin has yet to meet the expectations I had for him. He's still putting up stellar numbers, but with running backs taking center stage, Boykin is falling back.
Robert Hess: Trevone Boykin will remain in this conversation until the season ends. He is putting up RG3-like numbers and similarly suffers from being on a team with a porous defense. Boykin will have to keep slinging and keep his INT numbers down if he intends to stay in the Heisman picture.
David Street: Trevone Boykin had a very solid game against SMU with 504 total yards of offense and six total touchdowns. He is lower on my list because the other contestants have faced slightly better competition. TCU's offense is looking like a juggernaut and Boykin is powering the engine.
5. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State 26 points
23 carries 108 yards vs. Northern Illinois
61 carries 331 yards 4 touchdowns this season
What Our Writers Thought:
Erik Weiss: Ezekiel Elliott's slip in the rankings is mostly due to Ohio State's mediocrity this year. Yes, they're still the number one team in the country, but they barely escaped a Northern Illinois team that they should've beaten by 40. Elliott himself has played well, but not at the same level as Fournette and Chubb.
Geoff Hammersley: Since I already have running backs going no. 1 and no. 2, I might as well make it three deep. Ezekiel Elliott from the Buckeyes is my no. 3 man right now in the Heisman race. Even though Ohio State has shown a lackluster offense in their last two games, Elliott has still been able to produce. Remember, Elliott broke off an 80-yard TD against the Hokies, and has eclipsed the 100-yard mark in every game this season. He has just as many touchdowns as Chubb, and has only about 60 fewer yards than Fournette.
Alex Koslow: Ezekiel Elliott, the forgotten player. Elliott was supposed to build off his final three games last year, but everything coming from the Buckeyes has been about the quarterbacks. Elliott is still in the top 25 in rushing yards, but has yet to meet the expectations everyone had for him coming into the season. If Ohio State can’t figure out their quarterback position and keeps winning, it will be because of Elliott. That should be enough to at least bring his name up in Heisman conversation.
Robert Hess: Zeke is a Heisman candidate because he's on the nation's #1 team. At "only" 5.4 yards per carry, I don't think he belongs in the top 5 quite yet, but he'll get there.
David Street: Ezekiel Elliot, by his standards, has not been overly impressive. He has still been very, very good but so far, we just haven't seen that Elliot-esque type game yet like last year. He rushed for 108 yards against a very underrated Northern Illinois team but failed to register a touchdown. With Ohio State's struggles at quarterback right now, they need to feed Elliot the ball more and let him go off.
Although you did not see these guys on this week’s list, keep a close eye on them throughout the season:
Paul Perkins, RB, UCLA
26 carries 219 yards 1 touchdown vs. BYU
58 carries 511 total yards 3 touchdowns this season
Erik Weiss: Paul Perkins is a guy to watch out for. Yes, we already have three backs in the top 5, but Perkins is quietly knocking on the door. Last game, he ran for 219 yards against a stout BYU team. Perkins is a big play waiting to happen for the Bruins, as he's averaging nearly 8 yards per carry this season and has reached the end zone 3 times. If UCLA continues to win and Perkins continues to put up big numbers like he did against BYU, he'll be in the top 5 soon enough.
Darron Lee, LB, Ohio State
2 tackles 1 interception returned for 41-yard touchdown vs. NIU
12 tackles 2.5 sacks 1 interception 1 touchdown this season
Geoff Hammersley: The one guy I have on the outside looking in is a defensive player. Darron Lee from the Buckeyes has been a force, and has been a big factor in the team's past two wins. Lee is one of the defensive leaders on the team in terms of sacks, and housed an interception last week against Northern Illinois.
Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
15 carries 54 yards vs. Boston College
64 carries 476 yards 5 touchdowns this season
Alex Koslow: My outsider that I feel should be brought up in the conversation is Dalvin Cook at FSU. Cook is second in rushing yards and top 20 in touchdowns. The level of competition could be the reason no one mentions Cook. His first two games were against Texas State and South Florida and he gained 422 yards. The first good defense the Seminoles faced was BC and Cook only managed 50 yards. If Cook can carry the offense and perform well against quality opponents, his name should rise in the conversation.
C.J. Prosise, RB, Notre Dame
22 carries, 198 yards, 3 TDs against GT
59 ATT, 451 yards, 4 TDs, 7.6 YPC
Robert Hess: Prosise (5th in the NCAA in rushing yards) deserves to be on Heisman ballots because he's allowed the Notre Dame offense to remain potent despite losing their starting signal caller in Malik Zaire.
Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
32/38 572 total yards 6 touchdowns vs. Tulsa
74/110 1201 total yards 14 touchdowns this season
David Street: One player who is not on this list but I believe will be very soon is Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield. The junior lit up Tulsa's defense with 487 passing yards and four passing touchdowns on 32/38 passing. He also rushed for 85 yards and two touchdowns. Mayfield has been very productive for the Sooners and is currently in the top five in the nation for passing yards.