Race to the Heisman: Jalen Hurts Shines in Week 1

Getty Oklahoma QB Jalen Hurts

The 2019 college football season started off with a boom. With the start of the new year, we got to see old faces we’ve come to love, and new faces who quickly captured our hearts.

Transfer quarterbacks like Jacob Eason shined, while mainstays such as Trevor Lawrence had a few hiccups in their opening game of the season. Below we break down which players put themselves in prime position to strike a stiff-arm come early December.

The Race to Heisman rankings will be modified on a weekly basis based on performance, but aren’t based off of a lone week. These rankings are, however, how we perceive the Heisman voting to play out in the long run, taking into consideration a player’s recent performance. 

Top 5 Heisman Rankings Post Week 1

5. Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson

Travis Etienne

GettyClemson RB Travis Etienne

Travis Etienne is not the Clemson star you expected to see on this list if you based your opinion off of the offseason hype. While Trevor Lawrence receives most of the accolades, and rightfully so, it is Etienne who shined in week one.

Etienne is a home-run hitter from the running back position who can score from anywhere on the field. Though Clemson may close out games before halftime this season, Etienne has the ability to rack up stats in bunches.

Unfortunately for the Clemson tailback, Lawrence will likely eat into his Heisman votes as the season wears on.

4. Justin Fields, QB, Ohio St.

Duel-threat QBs reign supreme in college football, and even more so when it comes to locking down a Heisman. Since 2006, eleven quarterbacks have won the Heisman Trophy, nine of which were legitimate threats in the run game.

Fields will undoubtedly face more stellar competition than what he faced at FAU in week one. Yet, if his near 300-yard, five touchdown performance vs. the Owls was any indication of what’s to come this year from the young QB, he will continue to climb these rankings.

3. Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin

We all knew Jonathan Taylor could run the ball, what many fans and NFL scouts wondered was what could he bring in the passing game. Taylor, who accumulated just 16 receptions over his first two season in Madison, reeled in his first two receiving touchdowns of his college career in week 1. Taylor finished the game with 183 total yards and four total touchdowns.

2. Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama

GettyAlabama QB Tua Tagovailoa

Tua does Tua things. It may not be flash, it may not be headline grabbing, but blink once and Tua will fill out the stat sheet. Tagovailoa did just this vs. Duke in week 1. After coming out the gates slow, Tua responded by throwing for 336 yards and three touchdowns, with just five passes falling incomplete.

Tua would have likely been your 2018 Heisman Trophy recipient had it not been for an injury suffered in the SEC Championship a year ago. A now healthy Tua will look to complete the journey this time around, and hoist the hardware come this December.

  1. 1. Jalen Hurts, QB, Oklahoma

  2. Fittingly, Tua gets jumped in the post week-one Heisman rankings by the same player that he himself jumped on the Alabama depth chart. Hurts accounted for six total touchdowns in his Sooners debut and showed improvement as a passer, totaling 332 yards through the air.
  3. First it was Baker Mayfield, then it was Kyler Murray, now it’s Jalen Hurts time in Norman. Lincoln Riley’s offense has essentially become a plug and play scheme, and a quarterback’s best friend. If Hurts can continue to show improvement as a passer, while simultaneously using his running back-like skills on the ground (176 yards and 3 rushing touchdowns), he will undoubtedly punch a ticket to New York for the Heisman ceremony, and could cement a 3-peat for OU quarterbacks.

Expect to see Hurts’ NFL Draft stock get a major boost over the coming months. Not bad for a guy who many believed would have to change positions to have any sort of a chance at an NFL career.

Just Missed the Cut:

    • Sam Ehlinger, QB, Texas
    • Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
    • Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
    • D’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia

READ NEXT:  OBJ ‘Ready to Go’ for Week 1

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