Now that we have seen who will be the top stars in college football for the 2017 season, Gridiron Fanatic has decided to list five players that he believes will be the projected to compete for the Heisman Trophy 11 months from now. These five players have shown that they are key contributors for their perspective ball clubs and could lead their teams to playoffs next season.
1. Sam Darnold: USC Trojans
When USC Trojans head coach Clay Helton made the decision to name Sam Darnold the starting quarterback for the remainder of the season, it significantly changes the outlook on their 2016 campaign. Darnold lead the Trojans to their 1st Rose Bowl Title since 2009. With Clay Helton as head coach and Sam Darnold under center, it is now safe to say that the Trojans are back.
2. Jake Browning: QB Washington Huskies
Quarterback Jake Browning took the Huskies to a place that it had not been since the early 90s. The place that I am talking about is an opportunity to contend for a National Title. Even though they were not successful against Alabama in the semi-final round of the playoffs, the Huskies are expected to contend for the National Title once again.
3. Baker Mayfield: QB Oklahoma Sooners
After failing to return to playoffs this season, Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Baker Mayfield has decided to go back for his final season in Norman. Mayfield has demonstrated that he is more than capable of performing at a higher level against some of the best teams in college football. His outing against the Auburn Tigers is a testament to that.
4. Derrius Guice: RB LSU Tigers
When Heisman Trophy candidate Leonard Fournette missed a few games to nurse a nagging ankle injury, backup running back Derrius Guice stepped in and contributed immediately. With Fournette declaring for the 2017 NFL Draft, Guice will be the Tigers featured running back. Barring an injury, expect Guice to be one of the best tailbacks in the nation.
5. Saquon Barkley: RB Penn State Nittany Lions
Along with the USC Trojans, the Penn State Nittany Lions are now back in the conversation for teams that are capable of contending for a National Title. The man that played a huge part in that is running back Saquon Barkley. In 2016, Barkley ran for 1,306 yards and 18 touchdown scores. After watching the performance that he put on in last night’s Rose Bowl, Barkley will be one of college football most excited players to watch next season.
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