SQ Heisman Power Rankings: Eighth Edition

Big changes in this week's rankings. Two players fall out, meaning that we get to see two new faces.

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 Derrick Henry 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 Henry would be higher up on the rankings than Fournette. (These are not the actual numbers, just a hypothetical).  

1. Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU 2 points (unanimous #1)

(Last week: 1) 



19 touches 31 yards 1 touchdown vs. Alabama

202 touches 1441 total yards 16 touchdowns this season 

What Our Writers Thought: 

Erik Weiss:  Leonard Fournette didn't go over 150 yards for the first time this season, and LSU was badly exposed by Alabama in what was supposed to be a close game. The good news here is that we found out that Fournette is actually a human being, and not a robot sent to Earth programmed to dominate in football. Many have bumped him down their lists, but I would strongly disagree with that move. Fournette is still the best player in the nation, although the gap between him and the rest has shrunk. If he struggles for a second week in a row against Arkansas, he may bump down the list. However, I just can't see that happening. He is just too good and LSU is dying to redeem themselves. 

Eric Saltzman: We have seen in recent years how one bad game does not spell doom for a Heisman front runner. Fournette is still probably going to attend the ceremony as a finalist. Statistically, two areas where Derrick Henry is better is in touchdowns (17 to Fournette's 16) and receiving yards (69 to 58). Otherwise, Fournette has fewer carries and more yardage, and averages about 32 yards more per game.  

2. (tie) Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama 5 points

(Last week: Honorable Mention) 

Image title

38 touches 210 yards 3 touchdowns vs. LSU

226 touches 1323 yards 17 touchdowns this season 

What Our Writers Thought: 

Erik Weiss: Derrick Henry has blown up in the last couple games. No game was bigger than the so-called Armageddon matchup against LSU. Last week, I said that Henry would enter the top-3 if he outperformed Fournette in that game. Not only did he outperform him, he flat out left him in the dust. Granted, the Alabama defense played lights out and LSU struggled significantly in every aspect of the game. At the end of the day, the proof is in the numbers. Henry went for over 200 yards against one of the best teams in the nation. That deserves a lot of recognition. 

Eric Saltzman: Adding onto the Henry-Fournette debate, Henry might not be the best player on his own team, especially considering how the Alabama front seven (led by A'Shawn Robinson) played last Saturday. Regardless, Henry is very much in the thick of the Heisman race. 

2. (tie) Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State 5 points

(Last week: 3) 

Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

27 touches 123 yards 1 touchdown vs. Minnesota

217 touches 1413 total yards 14 touchdowns this season 

What Our Writers Thought: 

Erik Weiss: Ezekiel Elliott has been Mr. Consistent thus far. I don't think he's shifted up or down the rankings within the last month. Obviously, that's both a good and bad thing. Elliott has proven that he's the most reliable player in the nation, one who's guaranteed to go over 100 yards and give the Buckeyes points. On the other hand, he hasn't done anything significant enough to turn heads. His only chance in moving up the list and possibly to win the Heisman is if he continues his steady performance and Fournette and Henry slip up. 

Eric Saltzman: Ezekiel Elliot deserves much praise for being the rock offensively on an undefeated Buckeye team with potentially major quarterback issues with JT Barrett and Cardale Jones. 

4.  Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson 8 points

(Last week: Honorable Mention)

Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

28 of 42 404 total yards 1 touchdown vs. FSU

182 of 261 2726 total yards 25 touchdowns 7 ints. this season 

What Our Writers Thought: 

Erik Weiss: It's only natural that the quarterback for the number 1 team is a Heisman candidate. It just so happens that Deshaun Watson is one of the best, if not the best, quarterbacks in the nation and is a huge reason for Clemson's success. Against Florida State, Watson threw for over 200 yards and ran for over 100. In the Tigers' biggest game of the season thus far, Watson played his best ball. With a trip up to Syracuse this week, I don't see any reason for his success to slow down. 

Eric Saltzman: One player who has clearly proven to be the most valuable player to his team is Clemson's Deshaun Watson. A case can be made that he is not the best player on his own team, but he certainly does facilitate a bulk of the offense for the Tigers, who would likely struggle to score points in his absence. 

5.  Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor 10 points

(Last week: 4)


13 touches 218 yards 2 touchdowns vs. Kansas State

60 touches 1180 yards 20 touchdowns this season 

What Our Writers Thought: 

Erik Weiss: Corey Coleman is the best receiver in the nation, it's pretty simple. He's six touchdowns ahead of the next best receiver. With freshman Stidham at quarterback, one would figure that Coleman's production would slow down a bit, but that hasn't been the case, as he went over 200 yards last week. Baylor enters this week with a big conference matchup against Oklahoma. Baylor is in need of a signature win to boost their resume, and will look to Coleman to brin g them that W.

Eric Saltzman: Perhaps most intriguing of the candidates is Corey Coleman. Coleman's Heisman hopes are very much tied to true freshman quarterback Jarred Stidham. Baylor has finally hit the toughest part of its schedule and it will be interesting to see how some of these improved teams, specifically on defense, attempt to rattle Stidham and how that improves or reduces Coleman's production. 

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: 

Trevone Boykin, QB, TCU (Last week: 2)


35 of 57 518 total yards 3 touchdowns 4 ints. vs. Oklahoma State

233 of 354 3969 total yards 37 touchdowns 9 ints. this season  

Erik Weiss: Remember last week when I said that Trevone Boykin was untouchable and on another level? Oh how things can change ever so quickly. Oklahoma State showed the nation just how big of a threat they are when they tore apart the Horned Frogs in every aspect of the game. On the other side, TCU and Boykin were exposed…badly. He threw a career-worst 4 interceptions and, despite creating over 500 yards of offense, significantly struggled to get the offense moving. Losing star receiver Josh Doctson obviously didn’t help either. Although TCU may be out of the playoff race, Boykin still remains in the Heisman talks for now. He’ll need big games in the upcoming weeks to re-establish himself. 

Greg Ward Jr., QB, Houston (Last week: Honorable Mention)

Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

16 of 24 280 total yards 2 touchdowns 2 ints. vs. Cincinnati

164 of 233 1199 total yards 29 touchdowns 4 ints. this season 

Erik Weiss: I was only supposed to include one honorable mention, but Greg Ward Jr. is just too hard to leave out. His Houston Cougars have surpassed expectations for this season, as they are currently undefeated and serve as a darkhorse contender for the playoffs. Ward Jr. is responsible for the majority of the Cougars’ offensive success. He’s a very efficient passer, throwing for 13 touchdowns to only 4 interceptions. He’s an even better runner, as he leads all quarterbacks in rushing touchdowns and is tied for second in the nation out of all rushers. Ward’s Cougars take on a tough Memphis squad this week that is in search of a signature win. 

Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State (Last week: 5)


Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

22 touches, 198 yards, 1 touchdown vs. Clemson

164 touches, 1416 yards, 13 touchdowns this season  

Eric Saltzman: Despite his Seminoles falling to Clemson and subsequently bumping him out of the rankings, Dalvin Cook still turned in a strong performance, averaging nine yards per touch and accounting for over half of FSU's yards on offense. If you need proof of Cook's ability, just look at Clemson linebacker Ben Boulware's (number 10) bewilderment at Cook's elusiveness in the above photo. While playing for a team that's fallen in the rankings may hurt his candidacy, Cook has continued to show he's a more than capable back.

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

Upcoming Games