The 2016 TSS Heisman Poll: Season Premiere

It’s that time of year again! Time to start talking about the most prestigious individual trophy in sports, the Heisman Trophy.

When the 2016 season started there were many “names” in contention for the trophy: Deshaun Watson, Christian McCaffrey, Leonard Fournette, Baker Mayfield, Dalvin Cook, Chad Kelly, JT Barrett, Nick Chubb, and Josh Rosen to name a few.

Through the first eight weeks, Louisville’s Lamar Jackson has taken the college football world by storm and seems to be the player at the top of the heap. The beauty of the Heisman race is the ebbs and flows and the momentum from week to week as players jockey for invitations to New York.

The 82nd Heisman Trophy race is far from over. Let’s take a look at our inaugural poll for 2016 and see how our voters see the race through eight weeks of the college football season…..


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 TSS Roll Call of voters, with links to their respective blogs and twitter accounts

Without any further ado, the first 2016 installment of the TSS Heisman Poll:


1) Lamar Jackson (QB – Louisville): 24 points, 44.4% of votes, 6 first-place votes

Last week: 20 of 34 passing for 355 yards with 3 TD and 76 yards rushing with 1 rushing TD.

Season: 134 of 230 passing for 2161 yards with 18 TD against 4 INT and 908 yards rushing, 6.9 ypc, 16 rushing TD

This week: at Virginia (2-5)


Nobody means more to his team than Jackson, and none of the other top candidates are putting up the type of numbers he is. He can throw the ball through a wall into a bucket, yet is a streak of lightning on the ground as well. He is … the best player in college football, and it’s not even close.

– Phil Harrison, The Student Section

Lamar Jackson benefited in the Heisman Trophy race by piling up a ton of stats early on in the season. There doesn’t appear to be much standing in his way of a trip to New York, and he should continue to pile up lopsided stats the rest of the year.

– Kevin McGuire, The Comeback

He is the best player in college football right now. He never appears to be rattled. It’s his trophy to lose. That simple.

– Scott Halasz, Buckeye Battle Cry

Dude, seriously, honestly, there’s no other choice right now. He makes video games blush.

– Michael Abelson, The Student Section

Jackson has been electric for Louisville so far this season. He’s the one player that you have simply had to watch each week this season and he’s the main reason that the Louisville Cardinals are knocking on the door of the College Football Playoff.

– Kevin Causey, The Student Section

2) Jabrill Peppers (DB/LB – Michigan):  9 points, 16.67% of votes, 1 first-place vote

Last week: 2 total tackles, 1 reception

Season: 41 total tackles, 10 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, 5 QB hurries, 1 forced fumble, 1 punt return for TD, 107 yards rushing, 2 rushing TD, 1 reception

This week: at Michigan State (2-5)


The Heisman is about the best PLAYER in college football, not the best “thrower who happens to be on a good team.” Peppers does everything for one of the best teams in the country short of snapping, punting, and field goal kicking. There’s no one player that provides more things for an elite team than Peppers does for Michigan, which is why he gets the nod.

– Bart Doan, The Student Section

3-tie) Jake Browning (QB – Washington): 8 points, 14.81% of votes, 2 first-place votes

Last week: 14 of 28 passing for 291 yards, 3 TD vs 0 INT, 21 yards rushing with 1 rushing TD

Season: 118 of 172 passing (68.6%) for 1,709 yards, 26 TD vs  2 INT, 4 rushing TD

This week: at #17 Utah (7-1)


Jackson gets all the love because of the dreaded East Coast Bias, but Browning’s numbers are just as good and is a much more efficient passer. Jackson had his biggest test of the season and came up short. Browning will get his chance for a Heisman moment against Utah in Salt Lake City this week.

– Yesh Ginsburg, The Student Section

Browning is the best quarterback in college football right now. He’s completed 118 of 172 passes (68.6%) for 1,709 yards with an amazing 26/4 TD-to-INT ratio. He’s been extremely impressive in tight ball games, completing 23 of 28 passes (82.1%) for 378 yards with a 7/0 TD-to-INT ratio when Washington was either tied or losing this season. If that doesn’t qualify for “most outstanding player” honors, I don’t know what does.

– Terry Johnson, The Student Section

3-tie) Deshaun Watson (QB – Clemson): 8 points, 14.81% of votes, 0 first-place votes

Last week: 39 of 52 passing (75%) for 378 yards, 2 TD, 35 yards rushing and 1 rushing TD

Season:164 of 258 passing (63.6%) for 1,950 yards, 20 TD vs 8 INT, 279 yards and 1 rushing TD

This week: at #12 Florida State (5-2)

Also receiving votes: JT Barrett (QB- Ohio State) 1 point; Baker Mayfield (QB- Oklahoma) 1 point; Jalen Hurts (QB- Alabama) 1 point; Austin Carr (WR- Northwestern) 1 point; Logan Woodside (QB- Toledo) 1 point


Poll Notes:

– Leaders from the past: At this point in the 2011 season, Andrew Luck was the top vote getter. Collin Klein took the lead from Geno Smith in 2012. In 2013, Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota were tied for the top spot. In 2014, it was Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott that had control of the poll. Last year, it was Leonard Fournette leading the way.

– Last year the Season Premiere of our poll featured Leonard Fournette in first place, Trevone Boykin in second place, Paxton Lynch in third place, Ezekiel Elliott in fourth, and Dalvin Cook in fifth. None of those players finished in the Top 5 of the final voting. There is still a ton of football to be played.

– Last year at this point in the poll, the eventual winner, Derrick Henry, didn’t receive a single vote in our poll.

– Deshaun Watson and Jake Browning look like they have the most to gain this week. Watson and Clemson have a prime-time match-up against Florida State. Washington and Browning have a Top 25 battle against Utah. Both QBs can really aid their candidacy with a great showing and a big win.

– Keep an eye on: Dalvin Cook (RB/Florida State). We talked about Deshaun Watson having an opportunity to bolster his spot. What about Florida State star Dalvin Cook if the Noles can pull off the win? Cook is currently seventh in the nation with 128 rushing ypg. A big game for him could put him into the Top 5.

The Comeback Heisman Poll Roll Call

Andrew Coppens – The Comeback/Madtown Badgers (@andyonfootball)

Bart Doan – The Student Section (@TheCoachBart)

Kevin Causey – The Student Section (@CFBZ)

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

Mike Abelson – The Student Section (@ABELSON)

Yesh Ginsburg- The Student Section (@yesh222)

Phil Harrison – The Student Section (@PhilHarrisonCFB)

Scott Halasz – Buckeye Battle Cry (@ohiostatescott)

Terry Johnson – The Student Section (@SectionTPJ)

About Kevin Causey

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