2015 TSS Heisman Poll: Final Results

On Monday evening the three finalists for the 2015 Heisman Trophy were announced.

* Alabama running back Derrick Henry
* Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson
* Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey

November 7 was the day Henry truly burst onto the Heisman scene, as he bested front-runner Leonard Fournette in a one-on-one matchup. As the season progressed, Henry got stronger and Fournette faded. In week 11 of our poll, Henry took over the top spot. He has held that spot for the past three weeks.

Also on November 7, the Clemson Tigers beat the Florida State Seminoles. This was the day Deshaun Watson went from getting a few votes to truly being in the Heisman conversation. Clemson continued winning and more eyes on Watson meant more votes. Watson has held down at least a share of second place for the last three weeks.

Christian McCaffrey has received consistent albeit small support throughout the season from our voters, who really started to take to him after Stanford beat Notre Dame as he moved into third place. Would an all-around fantastic performance in the Pac-12 Championship Game be just what he needed to leapfrog Watson and Henry?

Leonard Fournette, Trevone Boykin, Paxton Lynch, Ezekiel Elliott, Keenan Reynolds and Dalvin Cook all had great seasons, but for one reason or another, they fell out of the Heisman picture. Henry, McCaffrey and Watson are the three players left standing. Let’s take a look at who our voters think is most deserving of the prestigious trophy:


What you’ll see each week in the TSS Heisman Poll:

* The top total vote getters, with quotes from the voters in support of their candidate

* A list of all players receiving votes

* Poll notes that look at some interesting facts, figures and trends of the poll

* The TSSHP Roll Call of voters, with links to their respective blogs and twitter accounts

Without any further ado, the third 2015 installment of the TSS Heisman Poll:


1) Derrick Henry (RB – Alabama): 19 points, 31.67% of votes, 2 first-place votes

Last week ranking: No. 1

Season stats: 339 carries, 1986 yds rushing, 5.86 ypc, 23 rushing TD, 10 receptions

In his final eight SEC games, Henry averaged 187 yards per game. He had a rushing TD in every game he played this season and had seven multiple touchdown games. Henry made plays when the Tide needed them. He carried the offense when he needed to. He broke teams’ backs when he wanted to. Henry was a dominant player in 2015 and deserves the Heisman Trophy.

– Kevin Causey, The Student Section

Henry played his best in big games and had monster stats. 

– Michael Abelson, The Student Section

2) Christian McCaffrey (RB – Stanford): 18 points, 30.00% of votes, 4 first-place votes

Last week ranking: No. 3

Season stats: 319 carries for 1847 yards, 5.79 ypc, 8 rushing TD, 41 receptions, 4 receiving TD, 2 passing TD

There is no player in college football that can have as solid an impact running, catching and returning kicks the way Stanford’s do-it-all McCaffrey has this season. There is a tremendous value to having a multi-faceted player like this, and McCaffrey has had to do a little bit of everything to guide Stanford to a Pac-12 championship this season.

– Kevin McGuire, The Student Section

His team isn’t in the Playoff, but McCaffrey’s numbers are just too ridiculous to ignore. Sure, it took him 13 games compared to Barry Sanders’ 11, but when you break Barry’s yardage records (any of them), you are going to be in the Heisman conversation.

– Yesh Ginsburg, The Student Section

After watching him Saturday it’s obvious he can beat teams in so many different ways. He defines the most outstanding player in college football. 

– Scott Halasz, Buckeye Battle Cry

3) Deshaun Watson (QB – Clemson):  15 points, 25.0% of votes, 4 first-place votes

Last week ranking: No. 2

Season stats: 287 of 413 passing (69.5%) for 3512 yards with 30 TD vs 11 INT, 887 yds rushing, 11 rushing TD

In a Heisman race that could not be any closer, Watson still has the slight edge. Though Derrick Henry and Christian McCaffrey have gotten the hype and played flashy games lately, Watson has been the constant for Clemson. When the Tigers needed him most, in the ACC title game, Watson was by far the best player on the field. In his last six games, Watson has completed 70 percent of his passes for 419 yards per game and 23 touchdowns.

– Ryan Palencer, The Student Section

Clemson had 10 games of 500 or more yards on offense. The rest of the ACC Atlantic had 10, combined. That tells you how special Watson has made that offense. It wasn’t doing it against slugs. Ultimately, the Tigers, who lost a lot of talent on both sides of the ball, aren’t close to here without Watson, who is the best individual player in college football and possibly the MVP as well. There are a lot of places you could go with this award, but Watson deserves it above them all in the end.

– Bart Doan, The Student Section

 Deshaun Watson, in the cauldron of late-season pressure, made play after play after play for Clemson. He did everything his team needed and then some. Moreover, his stats would have looked even better if multiple passes had not been dropped against North Carolina. He’s thrown a lot of clutch passes over the past few weeks, and he’s created several crucial plays out of nothing when the pocket has collapsed. 
Watson has been magnificent in the late-season spotlight, and as much as Alabama absolutely depended on Derrick Henry to win games, Watson and Baker Mayfield have been even more central to their teams’ successes. 
– Matt Zemek, The Student Section

Also receiving votes:  Keenan Reynolds (QB – Navy) 4 pts; Baker Mayfield (QB – Oklahoma) 2 pts; RB Ezekiel Elliott (RB – Ohio State) 1 pt

Dropped Out: Dalvin Cook (RB – Florida State); Larry Rose III (RB- New Mexico State)


Poll Notes:

– I have been hosting this poll since 2011. Let’s take a look at how close our voting has been in previous years:

2011- Robert Griffiin III won with 45.56% of the vote. He received 12 of 15 first-place votes. Montee Ball was the runner-up with 18.89% of the vote.

2012- Johnny Manziel won with 36.3% of the vote. He received 5 of 11 first-place votes. Manti Te’o was our runner-up with 4 first-place votes and 28.7% of the vote.

2013- Jameis Winston won with 45% of the vote. He received all 9 first-place votes and has been our only unanimous selection. Tre Mason finished second with 15% of the vote.

2014- Marcus Mariota won with 45% of the vote. He received 9 of 10 first-place votes. Amari Cooper placed second with 23.33% of the vote and Jameis Winston (who placed fourth) received the only other first-place vote.

– As you can see from the stats above, this was the closest vote we’ve had in the five years we have run our Heisman poll.

– Derrick Henry’s 31.67% of the popular vote is the lowest we’ve had for our Heisman poll winner.

– Henry is the only Heisman poll winner we’ve had who didn’t receive the most first-place votes. In fact, both McCaffrey and Watson had four each, with Henry receiving only two.

– How does that math work? For Watson, he was left off three ballots and received only one second-place vote. It was feast or famine for Deshaun.

– How does that math work (Part 2)? For McCaffrey, he was left off one ballot (as was Henry) but, like Watson, he received only one second-place vote. McCaffrey placed third on four ballots, whereas Henry placed second on six ballots.

– Ultimately this vote came down to the smallest of margins and could have swung wildly if just one of our voters had a change of heart.

– Our poll this season illustrates a congruence with the 2015 college football season. There wasn’t one dominant team this season. As our Heisman voting shows, there wasn’t just one dominant player. Derrick Henry hoists our trophy high, but Christian McCaffrey and Deshaun Watson also deserve a piece of the trophy. Congratulations to these three players for being the cream of the crop in college football in 2015.

– As a parting note I would like to thank the readers for following along once again on our journey to crown our Heisman Trophy winner. I would also like to express my gratitude to the voters. Without them, this poll would not be possible. Thank You.


TSS Heisman Poll Roll Call

Bart Doan – The Student Section (@TheCoachBart)

Kevin Causey – The Student Section (@CFBZ)

Kevin McGuire – Nittany Lions Den/The Student Section (@kevinoncfb)

Matt Zemek – The Student Section (@SectionMZ)

Michael Abelson – The Student Section (@ABELS0N)

Phil Harrison- The Student Section (@PhilHarrisonCFB)

Ryan Palencer- The Student Section (@RyanPalencer)

Scott Halasz – Buckeye Battle Cry (@ohiostatescott)

Terry Johnson – The Student Section (@SectionTPJ)

Yesh Ginsburg- The Student Section (@yesh222)

About Kevin Causey

Dry humorist, craft beer enthusiast, occasionally unbiased SEC fan, UGA alumni, contributor for The Comeback.