Derrick Henry, Christian McCaffrey, Deshaun Watson Named Heisman Finalists
Alabama running back Derrick Henry, Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey and quarterback Deshaun Watson of Clemson were announced Monday as the 2015 Heisman Trophy finalists. With no clear leader running away from the field, this is expected to be one of the closest races in recent years.
Derrick Henry, the bruising Alabama running back, is considered a slight favorite and for good reason. All he’s done so far this year—with at least one more game to go—is tie the SEC record for rushing touchdowns in a season and break Herschel Walker’s SEC single-season rushing record (and did so on 46 fewer carries). He needs just 14 yards to become the first SEC back ever to top the 2,000-yard mark. Henry has almost singlehandedly carried the Alabama offense down the stretch, carrying the ball 90 times for 460 yards in his last two games. He would be the first running back and first Alabama player to take home the trophy since Mark Ingram won in 2009.
Christian McCaffrey has been the do-it-all running back and kick return specialist for Stanford, rewriting record books in the process. In last week’s Pac-12 title game, the junior accounted for a school record 461 all-purpose yards while rushing for, catching and throwing a touchdown. It was McCaffrey’s 11th game this season with 200+ yards. In the victory, he actually broke Barry Sanders’ record for single-season all-purpose yardage (although it must be noted that Sanders set the record in 11 games, while this was McCaffrey’s 13th). He leads the nation in all-purpose yards and his next-closest competition is over 1,000 yards behind. McCaffrey is Stanford’s fourth Heisman finalist in the last seven years but would be the first Cardinal player to win since Jim Plunkett in 1970.
Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson is simply the best player on the nation’s best team. The sophomore is fourth nationally in total offense (4,399 yards) and set an ACC title game record with 420 total yards in the championship game win over North Carolina. Watson is just the third player in ACC history with 40 touchdowns in a season and needs only 11 yards to pass Tajh Boyd for the Tigers’ single-season offense record. John Heisman coached at Clemson from 1900 to 1903, but Watson would be the first Tiger to bring home the trophy named for the former coach.
Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield, Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds and Florida State running back Dalvin Cook were all in contention, but did not garner enough votes to earn a trip to New York.
The Heisman Trophy winner will be announced December 12th.