It’s November, the month when Heisman Trophy winners are decided. Oh, the first couple of months get plenty of attention and conclusions are made when players get off to sizzling starts, but November is when it happens.
Which leads to a question:
Can Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson, the prohibitive Heisman favorite, be overtaken?
Yes, he can.
That’s the drama of the remaining four weeks.
Jackson has the most exceptional statistics, but there are other worthy candidates, so we’re stopping short of declaring it a done deal.
The 82nd Heisman Trophy will be presented on Dec. 10.
My top five:
1. LOUISVILLE QB LAMAR JACKSON: Really, he has been the Heisman favorite since the season’s second week. Now he has accounted for 45 touchdowns.
THE LATEST: In a 52-7 win against Boston College, Jackson accounted for seven touchdowns (three rushing, four passing).
For the season, Jackson has 26 passing touchdowns and 19 rushing scores, taking him to the brink of the 20/20 club. The members are Florida’s Tim Tebow (2007), Auburn’s Cam Newton (2010) and Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel (2012). Each of them won the Heisman.
Jackson has passed for 2,753 yards, 26 touchdowns and six interceptions. He has rushed for 1,181 yards — becoming the first Louisville quarterback to surpass the 1,000-yard rushing mark — and 19 scores.
NEXT UP: Louisville (8-1) hosts Wake Forest (6-3) in Saturday’s ACC game. The Demon Deacons are bowl eligible for the first time since 2011.
2. WASHINGTON QB JAKE BROWNING: Browning had a very solid freshman season for the Huskies and he was among those “others to watch’’ in the preseason Heisman race. But now he’s the quarterback of a playoff-contending team. He’s definitely in the hunt.
THE LATEST: In a 66-27 win at California, Browning completed 19 of 28 passes for 378 yards and six touchdowns. For the season, he has completed 67.7 percent of his passes for 2,273 yards, 34 touchdowns and three interceptions.
NEXT UP: Washington (9-0) hosts USC (6-3) in Saturday’s Pac-12 game. The Trojans, after a 1-3 start, have won five straight games.
3. MICHIGAN LB/DB JABRILL PEPPERS: By far, Peppers is the most interesting Heisman candidate. He’s clearly the nation’s most versatile performer and there’s a growing argument that he’s the nation’s best overall player, too.
THE LATEST: In a 59-3 win against Maryland, Peppers played 59 snaps and seven positions, including four on offense. Coach Jim Harbaugh is getting creative. At one point, Peppers caught a screen pass, then tossed it back to the quarterback.
Peppers has 53 tackles (13.5 for loss), 3.5 sacks, one punt return TD and three offensive scores.
NEXT UP: The Wolverines (9-0) travel to Iowa (5-4) for Saturday night’s prime-time Big Ten game.
4. CLEMSON QB DESHAUN WATSON: All he does is win. That’s the selling point for Watson, who was a clear preseason Heisman favorite, based on his outstanding 2015 campaign, when he led the Tigers to a national runner-up finish. The Tigers are rolling again, so as the quarterback of a national championship-hopeful program, Watson will remain front and center in the Heisman hunt.
THE LATEST: In a 54-0 win against Syracuse, Watson was 13 of 16 for 169 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. He didn’t play the second half due to a shoulder injury, but Clemson said he’s fine. For the season, Watson has completed 64.4 percent of his passes for 2,497 yards, 24 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He has rushed 94 times for 365 yards.
NEXT UP: Clemson (9-0) hosts Pittsburgh (5-4) in Saturday’s ACC game. The Tigers can clinch the ACC’s Atlantic Division title.
5. SAN DIEGO STATE RB DONNEL PUMPHREY: He had a sterling reputation coming into the season, but the Group of Five conference status made him a solid underdog. There’s growing awareness of his talent, so he’s on the road toward a New York invitation. That’s a major victory in itself.
THE LATEST: In a 55-0 win against Hawaii, Pumphrey rushed for 112 yards. For the season, he has 1,521 rushing yards and 5,853 for his career. He’s within 544 yards of the all-time Football Bowl Subdivision record — 6,397 yards by Wisconsin running back Ron Dayne (1996-99).
NEXT UP: San Diego State (8-1) visits Nevada (4-5) in Saturday’s Mountain West Conference game.
NEXT FIVE: Texas RB D’Onta Foreman, Florida State RB Dalvin Cook, Ohio State QB J.T. Barrett, LSU RB Leonard Fournette, Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield.
HEISMAN TRIVIA: With the emergence of Jabrill Peppers, there’s renewed enthusiasm about the contention of a defensive player for the award. The last true defense player to win the Heisman was also from Michigan — defensive back Charles Woodson outdistanced Tennessee QB Peyton Manning in 1997.