SQ Heisman Power Rankings: 5th Edition

As the race between the running backs gets tighter and tighter, see who’s gained a leg on the others and who’s on the come-up. Not to mention, we came across our first tie. Which two players are now neck-and-neck? 

DISCLAIMER: These rankings were made prior to any Week 8 action

How the Scoring Works 

Each of our SQ writers was asked 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 that. The lower one’s total is, the higher on the rankings he is.  

For example, if Trevone Boykin receives a 2nd place vote, a 1st place vote, a 5th, another 2nd, and another 1st. His total would come out to 11. If Leonard Fournette receives three 5th place votes and a 4th place, his total would be 19. Thus Boykin would be higher up on the rankings than Fournette. (These are not the actual numbers, just a hypothetical). 

Without further ado, here is the 5th Edition of the SQ Heisman Power Rankings: 

1. Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU 3 points (unanimous #1)

(Last week: 1) 

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

32 touches, 195 yards, 2 touchdowns vs. Florida

156 touches, 1258 total yards, 14 touchdowns this season 

What Our Writers Thought: 

Erik Weiss: For those Florida fans who thought that they could hold Fournette under 100 yards, they were in for a rude awakening. Even with their top-25 defense, they were no match for the best player in the country. Although Fournette didn’t have a signature 80-yard multiple broken tackle touchdown run, he was still able to walk away with nearly 200 total yards and two scores. With most of the attention shifting to Dalvin Cook in the past couple weeks, Fournette fans should feel no reason to worry. Leonard is here to stay. 

Alex Koslow: Fournette might be one of the rare players to actually go from the start of the season as favorite for Heisman and actually win it. Every week he shows why he’s the most dynamic running back in the country, and this week was obviously no different. Fournette wasn’t going against a team like Eastern Michigan, he was going up against a formidable Gators defense that gave up just under 100 rushing yards a game before the game. Fournette went on to gash the defense for 180 yards on the ground on 31 carries and two touchdowns.

Geoff Hammersley: Once again, Leonard Fournette showed the college football world why he is the best. Nearly 200 yards against a ranked Florida squad will keep you at the top of the Heisman mountain. With Western Kentucky up next for LSU, I look to Fournette to make-up lost yards against McNeese State back in Week 1. 

2. (tie) Trevone Boykin, QB, 8 points

(Last week: 2) 


27 of 32, 510 total yards, 5 touchdowns vs. Iowa St.

166 of 250, 2979 total yards, 30 touchdowns, 5 ints. this season 

What Our Writers Thought: 

Erik Weiss: Trevone Boykin finished the Iowa State game with his highest QBR of the season at 97.2. Yet again, Boykin was the main source of offense for the Horned Frogs as he accounted for 82% of the team’s offense. However, what I found really impressive was that he played smart football. We’ve become used to seeing Boykin light up defenses each week. But those performances either come with turnovers or a poor completion percentage. Against the Cyclones, Boykin has no turnovers and completed 84% of his attempts. If Boykin can keep playing intelligently while remaining electric, he’ll still have a shot at winning the trophy. 

Alex Koslow: Boykin had one of his most complete game this year in a win over Iowa State. He had a season high completion percentage of 84.4% and also tied a season high with five touchdowns. After throwing three interceptions in his first three games, he cut down on the turnovers only throwing two picks in the last four games. Boykin is the main reason TCU sees themselves in the race for the CFP. 

Geoff Hammersley: Boykin passed for 510 yards against Iowa State, holding off the upset. He's hovering on the 3000-yard mark in a pass-friendly conference. Once again, he jumps up the board with a big game performance.

2. (tie) Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State 8 points

(Last week: 4) 

Mark Wallheiser, AP Photos

26 touches, 223 yards, 2 touchdowns vs. Louisville

121 touches, 1086 yards, 11 touchdowns this season 

What Our Writers Thought: 

Erik Weiss: As an LSU fan, it pains me to say that Dalvin Cook is starting to give Leonard Fournette a run for his money. Now, while I still think the Heisman is Fournette’s to lose, Cook is making the race more and more interesting every week. He’s gone over 200 total yards two weeks in a row now and three times total this season. For what Fournette has in power and speed, Cook equally has in vision and shiftiness. Who knows, maybe next week we’ll see these two backs tied for first. 

Alex Koslow: Dalvin Cook is making fans in Tallahassee forget all about Jameis Winston. He ranks fifth in the country in rushing yards with 955, but has done this on just 110 carries, landing him third in yards per attempt. Cook hasn’t faced defenses that are on par with SEC defenses, but if he can continue his output and with a Fournette slip-up, Cook could see himself on top of the Heisman race. 

Geoff Hammersley: Unlike Fournette, Cook eclipsed the 200-yard mark against Louisville. With nearly 1,000 rushing yards on the year, Cook becomes a legit threat for Florida State as a Heisman candidate, but also can be the flame the 'Noles ride to get back to the playoffs. 

4. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State 11 points

(Last week: 3) 

Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

31 touches, 174 yards, 1 touchdown vs. Penn St

168 touches, 1119 total yards, 11 touchdowns this season 

What Our Writers Thought: 

Erik Weiss: What’s funny is that Ezekiel Elliott put up 174 yards last game and he ended up moving down in the rankings. In this year’s Heisman race, 174 yards just isn’t enough to cut it. When Fournette and Cook seem to go for 200+ yards every week, it’s hard to gain any attention. Speaking of attention, what’s also funny is that Elliott receives the bulk of the touches out of anyone for the Buckeyes, yet it still isn’t enough. Don’t get me wrong, Elliott is a fantastic player and one of the most dangerous weapons in college football. It’s just that there are guys out there who are better. 

Alex Koslow: Once again all eyes are on the quarterback situation for Ohio State, and what a shame. Elliott rushed for his second highest rushing total against Penn State with 153. He could rank above Cook in these rankings, but with only one touchdown last week and ranking 32nd in rushing per attempt, its hard to say that Elliott is the better back at this point in the season. 

Geoff Hammersley: Once again, Elliott hit the 100-yard mark on the ground which brings his streak of 100-yard performances to 12. A big day at Rutgers can help increase his stock, especially with J.T. Barrett at quarterback. If Elliott has just an inch of space, defenders should be used to seeing the 'Elliott' nameplate. Expect the Scarlet Knights to see the nameplate a lot. 

5. Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M 15 points

(Last week: 5) 

Soobum Im, USA TODAY Sports

5 tackles, 2 TFL, 1 sack, 1 PD vs. Alabama

30 tackles, 11.5 TFL, 8.5 sacks, 3 FF, 2 PD this season

What Our Writers Thought:

Erik Weiss: For as much as I’ve boasted about Myles Garrett this past offseason, seeing him in this position on the rankings is bittersweet. On one hand, he’s been proving all of my predictions right so far. Garrett is the undisputed best defensive player in the country right now. Some may disagree with me, but that is simply a fact. He excels at both rushing the passer and defending the run, a rare combo for someone to have as only a sophomore. Unfortunately, with the other four playing on another level, this is most likely the highest Garrett will get on this list.

Alex Koslow: Garrett went up a very good Alabama offensive line, and held his own and then some. Bama made sure they knew where Garrett was lined up each snap and did everything they could to stop him. That’s how much of a presence he has as a defensive end. Other teams make this an emphasis as well, yet he still makes plays. Third in sacks with 8.5, Garrett may be the best defensive lineman this year. It's unfortunatly not enough to get more credit from Heisman voters.

Geoff Hammersley: Even though Texas A&M got thumped by Alabama, Garrett issued five tackles and a sack. With Ole Miss this week, a great night for Garrett can raise his stock, and keep the Aggies in the thick of things within the SEC.

Honorable Mentions

Although you did not see these guys on this week’s list, keep a close eye on them throughout the season for upcoming rankings:

Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama (Last week: Not Ranked)


33 touches, 254 yards, 2 touchdowns vs. Texas A&M

160 touches, 970 total yards, 12 touchdowns this season

Erik Weiss: Derrick Henry seems to play on another level when in the national spotlight. Take a look at his opponents for every game in which he’s gone for over 100 yards: Wisconsin, Ole Miss, Georgia and Texas A&M. All of those matchups were against ranked teams on primetime television. Henry seems to play his best football when the pressure is at its highest. So far in seven games, Henry has 901 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns on 152 carries. Last season, Henry ran for 990 yards and 11 touchdowns on 172 carries…in 14 games. Simply put, Henry has matched his totals from last year in half as many games. At 6’3 240 lbs., Henry has literally been unstoppable so far.

Josh Doctson, WR, TCU (Last week: Not Ranked)

Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

10 receptions, 190 yards, 2 touchdowns vs Iowa State

60 receptions, 1067 yards, 12 touchdowns this season

Alex Koslow: Once again Josh Doctson is my honorable mention. Boykin garners the attention on TCU's offense, but even he'll probably admit that Doctson has helped him out tremendously. First in the country in receiving yards with 1077, and second in touchdowns with 14, Doctson might be this year's Amari Cooper.

Other Honorable Mentions:

Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson (Last week: Not Ranked)
27 of 41, 452 total yards, 4 touchdowns, 2 ints. vs. Boston College

116 of 170, 1644 total yards, 16 touchdowns 7 ints. this season

Tune in next week for the second edition of SQ Heisman Power Rankings!

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