9). QB J.T. Barrett, Sr. Ohio State
I am sorry Barrett just doesn’t impress me at QB, he is a great athlete, but not QB. His deficiencies come to life when the Buckeyes play the better teams on their schedule. I think he lacks arm strength and pocket presence. He gets a big opportunity early in the season when the Buckeyes host Oklahoma. Adding former Indiana Head Coach Kevin Wilson I believe will help him a lot.
8). QB Jake Browning, Jr. Washington
Why is Browning so low you might ask? I think that the Huskies will not be quite as good as they were last year. Plus once again the non-conference schedule is beyond weak.
7). RB Kamryn Pettway, Jr. Auburn
If he could have stayed healthy all year, he might have been under Heisman consideration this year. He has the potential to be a 2,000-yard rusher in 2017.
6). QB Baker Mayfield, Sr. Oklahoma
An early season win at Ohio State will make him the heavy favorite to win the Heisman. He has been close the last two years. The only problem is with the coaching change and playing at Ohio State I do not think the Sooners will get that win.
5). QB Lamar Jackson, Jr. Louisville
Jackson was great last season and then tailed off towards the end of the season. Since he just won the Heisman, he will be expected to have an even better season in 2017 if he wants to win it again. I do not think he is capable of topping last season.
4). QB Jalen Hurts, Soph. Alabama
Hurts problem could be the competition coming to Alabama at the QB position. Hurts is a real threat with his legs, and he has great arm strength. His problem is he seems to have major problems reading the defensive coverages and if the first receiver is covered he has a hard time going through any progression. Now, remember he is only 18 so that can be learned.
3). RB Saquon Barkley, Jr. Penn State
Injuries at the end of the season hurt his candidacy. If he can stay healthy, he should be in the top five all year.
2). QB Deondre Francois, Soph. Florida State
Francois had a strong rookie campaign. He is tough, mobile and has a nice arm. If he can open the season with a win against Alabama, he could become the front runner right then.
1). QB Sam Darnold, Soph. USC
Had a fantastic year after stepping in a few games into the season. With Darnold in the lineup, the Trojans went from a below average team to one of the best teams in the country. With the Los Angeles media pumping him up along the way Darnold should be near the top of this list all year.