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Hunting the Heisman: Derrick Henry Is Your Projected Winner

Todd Kirkland/Icon Sportswire

Derrick Henry will be awarded the 2015 Heisman Trophy Award tonight. According to the Today’s U college football staff, that is.

It wasn’t an easy pick — the other finalists certainly made it difficult for us, no doubt — but his 44-carry, 189-yard performance against Florida in the SEC Championship Game was enough evidence to give us a reason to nominate him as the winner of the game’s most prestigious hardware.

Sitting next to him at the ceremony are two well-deserving candidates who could very well end up standing at the podium giving an acceptance speech of their own: Christian McCaffrey and Deshaun Watson.

So there you have it; the top two running backs and the best overall quarterback in the nation will be representing at the ceremony in New York, with one undisputed (probably) winner: Henry.

What do you think of the rankings? Let us know in the comment section below, or follow @TodaysUSports to tell us how you really feel.

*A point system was assigned, giving 5 points for a player with a No. 1 vote, 4 points for a No. 2 vote, and so on.

Projected Winner

Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama
2015 stats:
339 carries, 1,986 yards (5.9 ypc), 23 TD … 10 rec, 97 yards
Last week vs. Florida: 44 carries, 189 yards (4.3 ypc), TD

Why: Henry has posted four 200-yard performances in four of his last seven games, averaging a total of 188.7 during that stretch — a time where virtually everyone in the stadium knew he was getting the ball. He broke Hershel Walker’s single-season SEC rushing record against Florida and, at this rate, could finish with 2,300 yards and 26-plus touchdowns, if Alabama reaches the national championship game. On an offense completely designed around his ability to dominate after first contact, Henry would be a well-deserving Heisman winner after a stellar junior campaign.

 

Runner-Ups

Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
2015 stats:
287-of-413 (69.5 percent), 3,512 yards, 30 TD, 11 INT … 163 carries, 887 yards (5.4 ypc), 11 TD
Last week vs. North Carolina: 26-of-42 (61.9 percent), 289 yards, 3 TD, INT … 24 carries, 131 yards, 2 TD

Why: Over the last six games, Watson has totaled 2,514 offensive yards (419.0) with 23 touchdowns. He’s not only elevated his game against quality competition down the stretch in key moments, but he’s generally made the players around him much better. Without Watson, Clemson would be nowhere as explosive as it is; the Tigers rank 15th nationally in scoring (38.5 points per game), 12th in total yards (510.6), 12th in 3rd-down conversion rate (47.7 percent), and 7th in plays resulting in 20-plus yards (83). Without him, the team would not be No. 1 in the College Football Playoff rankings — instead, you would be looking at a two- or three-loss season.

Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
2015 stats: 319 carries, 1,847 yards (5.8 ypc), 8 TD … 41 rec, 540 yards, 4 TD
Last week vs. USC: 32 carries, 207 yards (6.5 ypc), TD … 4 rec, 105 yards, TD

Why: Just because McCaffrey comes in at No. 3 with our final rankings, doesn’t mean he isn’t a qualified candidate to serve as the real No. 1 and win the award tonight; his production does the talking, as his 461 all-purpose yards against USC in the Pac-12 Championship Game just added to his ridiculous line that obliterated Barry Sanders’ all-time NCAA record, a mark that stood for 27 years. No player in college football contributed more to his team in a more diverse manner than McCaffrey, and for that reason, he would be more than worthy as the next Heisman winner.

 

Honorable Mention

Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma: 243-of-354 (68.6 percent), 3,389 yards, 35 TD, 5 INT … 131 carries, 420 yards (3.2 ypc), 7 TD

Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State: 211 carries, 1,658 yards (7.9 ypc), 18 TD … 22 rec, 218 yards, TD

Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State: 262 carries, 1,672 yards (6.4 ypc), 19 TD … 26 rec, 176 yards

 

(You can view last week’s edition of Hunting the Heisman here.)

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