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The TDAM Heisman Trophy

Derrick Henry talks with Allie LaForce of CBS after winning the SEC Championship. (Source: Touchdown Alabama Magazine)

This Saturday night, the eyes of the college football world will focus on the bright lights of New York City. The Heisman Trophy will awarded for the 81st time to the best player in college football. The finalists will make their way to the Best Buy Theater in Times Square and sit on the front row while the ceremony finishes with the announcement of the 2015 Heisman Trophy winner.

The hype for the the trophy does not seem as large as it used to be. It could be that the College Football Playoff has taken most of the attention or it could be the 3,141 bowl games that are now in the sport. No matter what takes the hype away, the trophy is still the prestigious honor in college football and the Heisman winners fraternity will last as long as the sport does.

“The Heisman Memorial Trophy annually recognizes the outstanding college football player whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity. Winners epitomize great ability combined with diligence, perseverance, and hard work. The Heisman Trophy Trust ensures the continuation and integrity of this award.” – The Heisman Trust Mission Statement

On Sunday, the writers at Touchdown Alabama Magazine submitted their final Heisman ballots to find out who we would have taking home the trophy if it was up to us. We had each writer rank their top five college football players, assigning five points to the number one player, four points to the number two player, etc. Below is our site’s top five players and how they finished the 2015 season.

5. Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State -11 points

2015 season: 211 carries, 1658 rushing yards, 18 rushing touchdowns, 22 catches, 218 receiving yards, 1 touchdown

Dalvin Cook has finished his second straight 1,000-yard rushing season and has become the go-to option in Florida State’s offense. The sophomore running back helped the Seminoles to a 10-2 record, only finishing behind Clemson in the ACC. Cook currently sits at sixth in the nation in total rushing and is tied for fourth with 18 rushing touchdowns. He accounted for 36.7 percent of Florida State’s offensive yards and 27.1 percent of the team’s points. Cook sits at second in the country with 7.9 yards per carry and had the fourth longest run of the year with a 94-yard touchdown run against Wake Forest. Cook’s production numbers are at the top with any running back in the country and should be recognized for it.

4. Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma – 19 points

2015 season: 68.6 completion rate, 3389 passing yards, 35 passing touchdowns, 5 interceptions, 131 rushes, 420 yards, 7 rushing touchdowns

It is not often that you see the Burlsworth Award winner (top walk-on in college football) up for the Heisman Trophy but Baker Mayfield has been special this season. The junior quarterback was in a quarterback battle with Trevor Knight in the offseason but has surpassed all expectations, leading the Sooners to a Big XII title and a spot in the College Football Playoff. Mayfield leads the country – quarterbacks with 250+ attempts – in passing efficiency with a 178.9 rating. He is second to Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch in touchdown-to-interception ratio a 7 to 1. The Texas Tech transfer helped Oklahoma to three straight top-20 wins to close out the season. In those games, Mayfield combined for more than 750 yards of total offense and nine total touchdowns.

T-2. Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford – 33 points

2015 season: 319 rushes, 1847 rushing yards, 8 rushing touchdowns, 41 receptions, 540 receiving yards, 4 receiving touchdowns

Christian McCaffrey is the man in this race that no one would have predicted back in August. He has done everything for the Stanford Cardinal this year, leading them to a Pac-12 Championship and a Rose Bowl berth. He is second in the country in rushing yards and has averaged 5.8 yards per carry this season. However, even those numbers get overlooked when you see what he has done everywhere else on the field this season. On the offensive side of the ball, his team averaged 6.7 yards whenever he touched the ball. He was responsible for 16 offensive touchdowns, including two touchdown passes. Did I mention he is also one of the best return men in the country? He broke the all-time collegiate record for all-purpose yards previously held by the great Barry Sanders. McCaffrey currently has 3,496 all-purpose yards on the season after putting up 461 yards in the Pac-12 Championship Game. That performance on Saturday included over 200 rushing yards and three total touchdowns (1 passing, 1 rushing, 1 receiving). The opening week loss to Northwestern definitely hurt Stanford’s chance at a playoff bid but it may have an equal effect on McCaffrey’s Heisman chances. He could be the third Stanford player in seven years to finish second in the Heisman voting (Andrew Luck in 2011 and Toby Gerhart in 2009).

T-2. Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson – 33 points, 1 first-place vote

2015 season: 69.5 completion rate, 3512 passing yards, 30 passing touchdowns, 11 interceptions, 163 rushes, 887 yards, 11 rushing touchdowns

Clemson has had a dream season so far in 2015 and it has a lot to do with the play of sophomore quarterback Deshaun Watson. Head coach Dabo Swinney will be the first to tell you that the Tigers have not been perfect this season but their undefeated record still stands and it is because of Watson’s play this year. He is third in the country with a 69.5 percent completion rate and ranks in the top 15 in both passer efficiency rating an passing touchdowns. And those are just his passing numbers. Watson has rushed for more than 100 yards in four of the last five games, including wins against top-10 opponents Florida State and North Carolina. His performance in the ACC Championship Game may have won him this award and it would be tough to argue. He finished the night with a 62 percent completion rate, 420 yards of total offense and five total touchdowns against a North Carolina defense that had not given more than two touchdowns to a single player all season. Watson has shown that he has the ability to throw it by defenses and find his receivers in the smallest openings. When he cannot do that, he will take off and beat you with his legs. Watson may be the most talented player in all of college football and Clemson will get to keep him for at least another season.

1. Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama – 49 points, 9 first-place votes

2015 season: 339 rushes, 1986 rushing yards, 23 rushing touchdowns, 10 receptions, 97 receiving yards

It is no surprise that the Heisman favorite runs away with the voting on this site but it may be tough to argue against Derrick Henry winning the Heisman on Saturday night. He leads the country in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns, breaking SEC records in both categories. He is averaging 5.9 yards per carry and has become the workhorse for the Crimson Tide over the last two weeks of the season. Against Auburn and Florida, henry combined for 90 carries for 460 rushing yards and two touchdowns. The junior running back accounted for 37.9 percent of Alabama’s offensive yardage and 31.1 percent of the Tide’s points. His ability to take over a game showed in the regular season finale at Auburn when Henry took the ball on 14 consecutive plays, ending with a touchdown to seal the game. His explosive speed has shown in games like Mississippi State and Wisconsin while his size and strength showed in the Iron Bowl and SEC Championship Game. His record-setting season has come against a strong schedule that included eight top-50 rushing defenses and three in the top 15. Henry is the favorite in a stacked Heisman race and it probably does not hurt to have the name “Alabama” sitting next to his name either.


Others receiving votes: Keenan Reynolds, QB, Navy (3), Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU (1), Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis (1)

Below is the full list of how each writer voted in the poll. Click on their name to find other stories by each writer.

Caleb Stephen Thomas Derek Brandon Jess Ivan Justin Jenn Larry
Watson Henry Henry Henry Henry Henry Henry Henry Henry Henry
Henry Mayfield McCaffrey Watson McCaffrey Watson Mayfield McCaffrey McCaffrey Watson
Cook McCaffrey Watson McCaffrey Watson McCaffrey McCaffrey Watson Watson McCaffrey
Fournette Watson Mayfield Cook Mayfield Mayfield Watson Mayfield Mayfield Cook
McCaffrey Cook Cook Mayfield Lynch Reynolds Reynolds Cook Cook Reynolds

Caleb Turrentine is a contributor at Touchdown Alabama Magazine. Follow him on Twitter, @CalebTurrentine.

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