Written by: Coleman Bahr – Staff Writer (@ColemanBahr)
We just finished one of the craziest opening weekends in recent memory, and a few players already have put their names on my Heisman radar. This list mainly features players who have already established a solid resume, but I will include one player who had a jaw dropping debut.
| Christian McCaffrey (RB) – Stanford University
Christian McCaffrey was impressive in his debut, but I wouldn’t say I was blown away. His stat line looks fantastic with 22 carries for 126 yards, and 7 catches for 40 yards while tallying two rushing scores of 30 yards or more. However, he picked up 60% of his rushing yards on his two touchdown scampers, so his outing was far from consistent. But, it was only week one, and Stanford played a decent power five opponent in Kansas State. Next week the Cardinals take on the USC Trojans, so McCaffery and the Cardinals will have their work cut out for them. USC was unable to stop the Crimson Tide rushing attack last week as they piled up 242 yards on the ground, so it will be interesting to see if the Trojans can make some quick adjustments before facing one of the best running backs in college football.
| Leonard Fournette (RB) – Louisiana State University
LSU dropped a heartbreaker to Wisconsin, but it did not limit Leonard Fournette’s production. He piled up 138 yards on 23 carries, although he failed to reach the end zone in a low scoring contest. The touchdowns will come easier this week against the Jacksonville State Gamecocks, and LSU should pick up an easy win this weekend. Fournette may not see the field in all four quarters of this contest, but 200 yards, and at least two scores is a feasible goal for him in this one.
| J.T. Barrett (QB) – Ohio State University
J.T. Barrett did all he could in a 77-10 dismantling of the Bowling Green Falcons. He threw for 349 yards on 21 completions, picking up six touchdowns in the air, and one on the ground. While it is hard to take that performance with too much weight as it was Bowling Green, it is still good to see him do what is expected of him against these lowly opponents. Next week he gets Tulsa so we should see another beatdown from these Buckeyes.
| Dalvin Cook (RB) – Florida State University
Dalvin Cook took the backseat to Deondre Francois in the opener, but Cook was still able to put up a solid performance in a comeback win against Ole Miss. Cook only picked up 23 carries for 91 yards, but he still tallied close to 200 yards from scrimmage thanks to 101 yards receiving. It was disappointing to see him not only fail to pick up a touchdown, but also fumble the ball on the one-yard line despite not being touched. Cook has an easier game this week against Charleston Southern, and he should be able to find daylight all game long against this FCS school. It will be interesting to see the Seminoles’ play calls going forward with Francois absolutely dominating Ole Miss in his college debut, but I still expect a healthy serving for Dalvin Cook going forward.
| Deshaun Watson (QB) – Clemson University
Deshaun Watson had an ugly opening game, but I know what he is capable of so he still makes the list. Watson only completed 19 out of 34 pass attempts for 248 yards and an interception, and he also picked up 21 yards rushing on 11 eleven carries. Despite all of that, he still was able to scrape away a victory from the Auburn Tigers, but I expect better things moving forward. Watson and the Tigers should roll in their next matchup against the Troy Trojans, and I expect Watson to iron out his mistakes from week one, re-establishing his spot as one of the elite college quarterbacks.
| Deondre Francois (QB) – Florida State
A few days ago you may not have had the slightest idea of who Deondre Francois is, or what team he plays for. One sensational debut later, he is quickly rising on everyone’s Heiman list. The fact that he threw for 419 yards and two touchdowns, while rushing for 59 is incredible. But the fact that he did it against #11 Ole Miss in comeback fashion makes it even more noteworthy. His 478 total yards of offense rank seventh most in FSU history for a single game, but the most impressive thing to me was his ball security as he committed zero turnovers despite chucking the ball over 50 times. His next opponent is of much less difficulty against Charleston Southern, and he should look to build on his momentum from last week.