Stats and numbers are what get players noticed in their quest for the Heisman Trophy. But playing a role in game day victories and championships is what wins the award.
Championship week gives teams a chance to cap their successful seasons with undisputed league titles, and it also gives Heisman candidates one last opportunity to make their respective cases for holding the trophy in the upcoming week. These players have put up some gaudy numbers, but what they all have in common is they are winners. Some were able to end the week as league champs and others didn’t, but each athlete on this list has proved he has the winning pedigree to be considered a finalist for the award.
Here are the five players who put themselves in the best position to win the Heisman on Dec. 14.
Justin Fields, Ohio State
When Justin Fields transferred from Georgia, many questioned his heart and his willingness to compete. Now, he has a Big Ten championship, an MVP Award in said championship game and a College Football Playoff berth to dangle in front of those who doubted him.
Ohio State’s QB1 took a while to get going, but he finished the game strong, passing for nearly 300 yards and accounting for three touchdowns, including the go-ahead score late in the third quarter. Fields heads into the bowl season with 50 touchdowns responsible for, just one interception and a perfect record in his first year as a full-time starter.
Players might have better numbers, but Fields is leading the top team in the entire country. That is enough for him to take home the Heisman.
Joe Burrow, LSU
What else can you say about the most accurate quarterback in the country? Joe Burrow showed that even the mighty Georgia defense —the best in the SEC in points against — couldn't stop him and LSU from being crowned champions of the league.
The former Ohio State recruit was unstoppable against the Bulldogs, completing 73.7 percent of his passes for nearly 350 yards and four touchdowns. He also showed off his lesser known skills by rushing for 41 yards and even catching a tipped ball in the backfield and taking it 16 yards. He currently has 51 touchdowns responsible for (tied for the most in the country) and 4,715 passing yards (second in the country).
Burrow has been arguably the best quarterback in the entire country with SEC record-breaking numbers. He’s irreplaceable at LSU and deserves to hoist the Heisman.
Trevor Lawrence, Clemson
Clemson completed its second undefeated regular season with another star effort from its long-locked quarterback. The 2019 College Football Playoff national championship game MVP ended the prebowl season with a flourish that should give voters something to think about.
Lawrence finished the ACC championship with 302 passing yards and four scores while completing 72.7 percent of his passes. He is solidly fifth in the nation in touchdowns responsible for and seventh in passer rating all while guiding the Tigers to another ACC title and a berth in the Playoff semifinals.
Things haven’t been the smoothest for Lawrence this season, but he’s right where everyone thought he would be: undefeated, in the Playoffs and a legitimate Heisman finalist.
Jalen Hurts, Oklahoma
The Oklahoma Sooners took care of business against Baylor in the Big 12 championship and, with two teams collapsing in their respective conference title games ahead of them in the CFP rankings, is playing in the College Football Playoffs. Front and center in bringing the Sooners to this level is their transfer quarterback who has been torturing college football the entire season.
Jalen Hurts added 287 passing yards and a touchdown to his totals en route to winning the Big 12. He is tied for most touchdowns responsible for in the country, is the best rushing quarterback in terms of yards and touchdowns who isn’t on a run-heavy offensive attack like Navy (no offense to Malcolm Perry), and he leads the country in yards per passing attempt.
The Sooners won their fifth straight conference title thanks to the Herculean efforts of their quarterback. Hurts can be the first quarterback to start on two national championship teams in the College Football Playoff era and be the third straight Oklahoma player to win the Heisman Trophy. Quite the end to a career at the collegiate level.
Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin
Many expected Wisconsin to roll over in the Big 10 championship, with Ohio State waiting for its assumed conference title coronation. While the Buckeyes did end up winning, the Badgers put up a fight worthy of recognition and, like he did for the entire season, Jonathan Taylor carried the team most of the way.
Wisconsin’s stud junior running back finished the game with 148 rushing yards, including an electrifying 44-yard score on the first drive of the game for the Badgers. Taylor heads into the Heisman Trophy voting stretch second in the country in rushing yards, yards from scrimmage and leads the nation in touchdowns from scrimmage.
Taylor has seen stacked boxes and has been the focal point of every defense he has faced and still ended up being arguably the best running back in the nation. The Heisman may have been a quarterback’s award the last three years, but Taylor is deserving of the trophy this season.