The Heisman Top 25: September 29

We return to the College Football America Heisman Top 25 after four weeks of the regular season and, as you might expect, there has been some moving around in our rankings. But one thing has not changed.

Louisville’s Lamar Jackson still rules the roost as the front-runner.

What he’s done thus far is unreal. He has 1,330 passing yards, 13 touchdown passes, 526 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns. No one has scored like he’s scored in the first four games of a season. Plus, he’s the nation’s sixth-leading rusher. Will he keep it up? Probably not. But with Louisville now a Top 5 team and a rigorous ACC schedule ahead (you know they’re playing Clemson Saturday, right?), if he continues to produce close to this level in the final eight games he’ll be hard to catch.

So this is my list of the Top 25 Heisman candidates after Week 4. Newcomers to the rankings are in bold and I’ve noted which candidates have fallen out of favor entirely (for various reasons). I’ll post my next update after Week 6 and weekly updates starting in November. In November we’ll still maintain a Top 25, but we’ll note which candidates are no longer legitimate contenders.

So until Week 6, here is my Heisman Top 25 after Week 4.

Louisville’s Lamar Jackson

 College Football America’s Heisman Top 25

  1. Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
  2. Patrick Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech
  3. Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
  4. Greg Ward Jr., QB, Houston
  5. Donnel Pumphrey, RB, San Diego State

Notes: Guess who leads the nation in total offense after four weeks? Mahomes. The guy is the perfect fit for Kliff Kingsbury’s offense. The Thursday night game against Kansas gives him a national showcase where he’s sure to put up filthy numbers. … McCaffery is No. 2 all-purpose yards per game behind Pumphrey. Pumphrey leads the nation in rushing yards after four weeks. Both teams are undefeated, but McCaffery’s runner-up position last year and the fact that he’s facing stiffer competition keeps him ahead of Pumphrey for now. And Ward? Well he keeps putting up great numbers and that should keep him in the Top 5. It’s imperative the Cougars keep winning. They must be undefeated when they face Louisville in November. It’s a huge game for their College Football Playoff chances and for Ward’s Heisman hopes.

  1. Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
  2. J.T. Barrett, QB, Ohio State
  3. Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
  4. Kenny Hill, QB, TCU
  5. Davis Webb, QB, California

Notes: Cook is coming, just as I thought he would. He clobbered South Florida for 267 yards last weekend. But three straight games with fewer than 100 yards hurts. So does the loss to Louisville. He needs more games like the USF game to get him into the Top 5 … So long as OSU is undefeated Barrett is going to be in the conversation. His numbers aren’t fantastic overall, but he has time and a great offense to improve them. … Same goes for Watson. He’s not playing at last year’s level, but the Tigers remain undefeated and face Louisville this weekend. It’s a huge game for Clemson and it may determine Watson’s viability for the award. … Hill has already put up two of the Top 8 passing games in TCU history, coming off a 540-yard outing against SMU. He stirs the drink in Fort Worth and Saturday’s game with Oklahoma is a huge opportunity for the Horned Frogs and his Heisman hopes. … Webb’s numbers are terrific. He’s close to 2,000 passing yards through four games. But the two losses — including one to San Diego State — have the effect of keeping him on the periphery of this race.

Ole Miss QB Chad Kelly

  1. Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
  2. Chad Kelly, QB, Ole Miss
  3. Nick Chubb, RB, Georgia
  4. Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
  5. Trevor Knight, QB, Texas A&M

Notes: Knight is our highest newcomer of this cycle. The numbers aren’t flashy but he gets the job done and the Aggies are undefeated. Plus, he has name recognition with voters. The next few weeks — games with Tennessee and Alabama, especially — are going to decide if he stays in the race or not. … Mayfield is already behind the eight-ball and a third loss would, in my opinion, crush his hopes. … Kelly is a riser this week after the Rebels destroyed Georgia. Ole Miss has to stay in the SEC West race and hope for some help after losing to Alabama. Kelly needs that because his numbers will never be huge in Ole Miss’ offense. … Chubb is the higher producer at this point over Fournette, who must now deal with a new head coach in Ed Orgeron. Depending on what direction Orgeron takes the Tigers, Fournette might rise or drop out entirely during our next update in two weeks.

  1. Luke Falk, QB, Washington State
  2. Seth Russell, QB, Baylor
  3. Jake Browning, QB, Washington
  4. Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
  5. Deondre Francois, QB, Florida State

Notes: FSU’s offense is back in the hands of Dalvin Cook. Two straight games of fewer than 200 passing yards means Francois is probably out of the mix of serious candidates. … Russell leaps into the mix on the strength of four above-average games with the Bears. And with matchups against Iowa State and Kansas, along with two bye weeks, he could remain on the periphery of the Top 10 for another month. … Falk, Browning and Rosen all suffer from being on the West Coast, putting up big numbers but few taking their hopes of winning the Pac-12 seriously.

  1. Skyler Howard, QB, West Virginia
  2. Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State
  3. Drew Lock, QB, Missouri
  4. Jalen Hurd, RB, Tennessee
  5. Joshua Dobbs, QB, Tennessee

Notes: Plenty of turnover here as Rudolph, Lock and Dobbs join the Top 25. Lock has the best numbers. Dobbs has the best chance of moving up, assuming Tennessee can beat Georgia, Texas A&M and Alabama in consecutive weeks. … Hurd stays in the mix for the same reason as Dobbs. … Howard is putting up good numbers in the Mountaineer offense and, for now, they’re undefeated.

Also receiving consideration: Myles Gaskin, RB, Washington; Justin Jackson, RB, Northwestern; Elijah Hood, RB, North Carolina; Demario Richard, RB, Arizona State; Samaje Perine, RB, Oklahoma; JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, USC; Mike Williams, WR, Clemson; Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M; Jabrill Peppers, S, Michigan

Dropping out: DeShone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame. The Irish’s 1-3 start is going to keep him out of this race.

Kalen Ballage, Arizona State. One great game does not a Heisman candidacy make.

Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State. The numbers just aren’t there.

Royce Freeman, RB, Oregon. The Ducks are not playing at the level we’re used to and Freeman’s numbers have suffered as a result.

KaVontae Turpin, WR, TCU. His knee injury will sideline him long enough to keep him out of this race.


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