It’s still very early in the college football season but plenty has already happened in the first two weeks of the 2017 season.
The Oklahoma Sooners knocked off Ohio State on the road in Columbus, and the Georgia Bulldogs took down the Fighting Irish in their first trip to South Bend. Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson and Sooners quarterback Baker Mayfield continued to put up impressive numbers while leading their teams to victory, and both are considered the top favorites to win the Heisman Trophy entering Week 3, according to the Las Vegas Westgate SuperBook.
USC quarterback Sam Darnold sits third on the list in terms of odds to win the coveted trophy but didn’t crack Fourth & Goal’s top five based on the first two games of the 2017 season.
Darnold, Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph, Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts, and LSU running back Derrius Guice are all talented enough to hoist the Heisman Trophy in December, but after the first two games of the season, five players stand out based on the numbers and their programs’ schedule.
5. Oregon Ducks RB Royce Freeman
Freeman may not be getting full credit for his start to the 2017 season, and many fans may still be in a wait-and-see mode with the Ducks running back following a disappointing junior year. Despite that, Freeman deserves a spot on this list after Week 2, as he’s picked up 303 rushing yards on the ground and is currently tied with Georgia Tech QB TaQuon Marshall for the most rushing touchdowns (6) in the FBS. Freeman is averaging 5.8 yards per carry and has also logged five catches for 59 yards in games against Southern Utah and Nebraska.
4. Penn State RB Saquon Barkley
Barkley was the top running back to watch entering the 2017 season, and the Nittany Lions 5-foot-11, 230-pound back has lived up to expectations in Penn State’s first two games. Barkley is averaging 9.3 yards per carry on the ground and has reached the end zone four times in games against Akron and Pittsburgh. The Nittany Lions junior running back has picked up 359 total yards, but he will need to prove himself against Big Ten programs like Michigan, Ohio State, and Iowa to plant himself firmly in this year’s Heisman race.
3. UCLA QB Josh Rosen
The Bruins 6-foot-4, 218-pound quarterback led UCLA to an epic comeback victory over Texas A&M in Week 1 and has the fourth most passing yards (820) in college football entering Week 3. Rosen is completing a career-best 67.9 percent of his passes through two games and has thrown nine touchdowns and no interceptions. UCLA’s junior quarterback will likely need to lead the Bruins to a Pac-12 title game and a win over crosstown rival USC to find himself atop the Heisman race come late November.
2. Louisville QB Lamar Jackson
Jackson is the top favorite to win the Heisman Trophy in terms of betting odds and rightfully so given his numbers through two starts. The Cardinals 6-foot-3, 211-pound dual-threat quarterback has thrown the seventh most yards (771) and has picked up the 19th most rushing yards (239) in the FBS through Week 2 and has logged wins on the road against Purdue and North Carolina. Jackson became the youngest player to win the Heisman Trophy last season and can certainly increase his odds this year with a statement win over No. 3 Clemson this Saturday.
1. Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield
Mayfield is coming off one of the most impressive performances of his collegiate career in a win on the road in Columbus this past Saturday and is completing 83.6 percent of passes in wins over Ohio State and UTEP. The Sooners star quarterback has the second best passer efficiency rating (228.8) in the FBS heading into Week 3 and has thrown for 715 yards with six touchdowns and no interceptions. Mayfield was a Heisman finalist in 2016 and his impressive numbers and win over Ohio State have vaulted him to the top of this list.