If you’re looking at Heisman Trophy lists across the country heading into this weekends games, you won’t be finding many Clemson players anymore. While some still see quarterback Trevor Lawrence as the front runner out of Clemson and still a top-8 current contender, we believe Clemson has a new player emerging into the Heisman light.
Can Clemson prove they have the best defensive player in the country?
Isaiah Simmons, redshirt Jr., Clemson: Bias aside, Simmons may just be the best defensive player in the country this season and it’s showing with his play. With 27 tackles and two sacks, Simmons can and has lined up at more than five different spots on the field at any given time and has excelled at doing so. The 6-foot-4, 230-pound junior definitely will have an uphill battle getting enough hype around himself, but the opportunity is there. Without being a return man, Simmons will need to get some more sacks and throw in at least 3 interceptions to make him a serious candidate. Maybe a pick-six or two would definitely help his case
Joe Burrow, Sr. QB, LSU: Joe Burrow is making a believer out of me. The SEC has three teams at this point that can seriously contend to make the playoff and Burrow is leading arguably the most dangerous one from an offensive standpoint. After another 300-plus yard performance and easy win last week, Burrow’s top 5 spot is comfortable heading into a match up at Vanderbilt.
Jonathan Taylor, Jr., RB, Wisconsin: Taylor is coming off of a bye week and it looks to be at a good time as Wisconsin has a home match up this week against Big 10 rival and No.11 Michigan. This is a huge opportunity for Taylor to claw his way past the top quarterbacks on the list. If my man Jack Coan steals the limelight under center though, it might be tough for Taylor to progress.
Tua Tagovailoa, Jr. QB, Alabama: Can’t keep Tagovailoa out of the top two of this list anymore, he has just been way too good. In Bama’s matchup against the Gamecocks last week, he was actually unstoppable. With 444 yards through the air and 5 touchdowns, Tagovailoa was incredibly impressive completing 77 percent of his passes as well. With 12 touchdowns through the air this season and a goose egg in the interception column, Tagovailoa has slightly edged himself ahead of Burrow and his 2 interceptions. With Jerry Jeudy only receiving for 68 of Tua’s 444 yards last week, it is a better look for the star quarterback.
Jalen Hurts, Sr., QB, Oklahoma: Hurts has to be feeling ecstatic with the way he and Oklahoma have started their season. Against an uninspiring UCLA team last week, Hurts had 289 yards and 3 touchdowns through the air while having another monstrous game on the ground rushing for 150 yards and a touchdown. He had 4 carries for 99 yards on the Sooners’ opening drive. Hurts looks as if he is trying to prove that he can in fact outshine Tagovailoa and I believe he has so far. On the season, Hurts is 12th in the NCAA in passing and tied for 6th in rushing. His mobility is what will set him apart in this race.
Jerry Jeudy, Alabama
Jake Fromm, Georgia
Chuba Hubbard, Oklahoma State
Sam Ehlinger, Texas
Justin Fields, Ohio State
Trevor Lawrence, Clemson
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