With the 2015 college football season in the books, it’s never too early to look ahead to 2016. A familiar name, Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson, is the current Heisman Trophy favorite per Bovada, leading an impressive field.
— Andrew Greif (@AndrewGreif) January 19, 2016
While there aren’t any big surprises, one thing is worth mentioning. With 2015 winner Derrick Henry entering the NFL Draft, Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey, not DeShaun Watson received more Heisman votes in 2015 than any player returning to college football in 2016.
Still, to the the extent that 2015’s vote will matter at all in 2016, the vote between Henry, McCaffery and Watson was very close. Watson, who finished in third, was actually closer to Henry’s winning vote total than fourth place finisher Baker Mayfield was to Watson’s.
Also, the fact that Watson is the quarterback for a team that figures to once again be in National Championship contention only helps his chances, as quarterbacks have won all but three of the 21st Centuries Heisman Trophies. Henry in 2015, Mark Ingram in 2009, and Reggie Bush in 2005 (now vacated) are the only non quarterbacks to win since Y2K.
Watson’s Clemson Tigers went 14-0 before losing the National Championship Game to Alabama. He finished the season with 4,104 passing yards, 35 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions. On the ground, he rushed for 1,105 yards and added 12 touchdowns.
Barring an injury, it would be very surprising if Watson was not at least one of the Heisman finalists in 2016.