How Does Ohio State Quarterback J.T. Barrett Stack Up With Other Early-Season Heisman Trophy Candidates?

By Tim Shoemaker on September 30, 2016 at 1:05 pm
Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett is a Heisman Trophy contender.

If the season ended today, Lamar Jackson would win the Heisman Trophy.

The Louisville quarterback has dazzled so far this season and burst onto the national scene. The third-ranked Cardinals are 4-0 and have a 63-20 curb stomping of Florida State on their resume as they prepare for this weekend's showdown at No. 5 Clemson.

Jackson is completing nearly 60 percent of his pass and has thrown for 1,330 yards and 13 touchdowns this year while also rushing for 526 yards and 12 additional touchdowns. After doing the math, that's 25 touchdowns Jackson is responsible for this season. The number of teams — not including his own — with more: One. 

There's no doubt Jackson has been college football's best player through the first month of the year and, as mentioned above, if the season ended today the sophomore quarterback would be the clear-cut Heisman Trophy winner.

But, as we all know, the season does not end today. In fact, it's only just getting started.

Ohio State redshirt junior quarterback J.T. Barrett is someone who isn't necessarily talked about right now for the Heisman Trophy, but that's mostly because Jackson dominates the headlines and for good reason. But with a lot of football still left to be played, Barrett is right in the next tier of Heisman contenders after the first month of the season.

The redshirt junior signal caller has thrown for 650 yards and 10 touchdowns while also rushing for 159 yards and three additional scores. Those numbers pale in comparison to Jackson, but Ohio State has also played one fewer game than Louisville. 

”My main thing is winning. That's what I'm about. If winning gives me a Heisman Trophy, then I'm OK with that. But I'm not about to do anything outside myself in order to get the Heisman Trophy.“– Ohio State QB J.T. Barrett

It's more appropriate to compare Barrett's numbers to those who are in a similar situation, those currently running a distant second behind Jackson for college football's most coveted individual prize.

Stanford's all-everything performer Christian McCaffrey has certainly lived up to all of the preseason hype he received. The Cardinal are 3-0 and McCaffrey is second in the country with 211.7 all-purpose yards per game. McCaffrey has 436 rushing yards, 119 receiving yards with four touchdowns.

Donnel Pumphrey is a name nobody had on their Heisman Trophy watch lists at the beginning of the season, but the San Diego State running back has exploded onto the college football scene with a brilliant opening month. Pumphrey leads the nation in rushing with 599 yards and has seven touchdowns. The biggest question with Pumphrey going forward is whether or not his numbers will be jaw-dropping enough to keep him in serious contention. 

Greg Ward Jr. is another name that has been tossed around in the Heisman Trophy conversation. The Houston quarterback has battled a shoulder injury this year and already missed a game, but in four starts Ward has 1,325 passing yards and 178 rushing yards with 13 total touchdowns.

Then, of course, everybody's Heisman Trophy favorite at the beginning of the year, Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson, has an opportunity to put his name back in the conversation with a big performance Saturday. Watson had a slow start to the season, but it'd be foolish to rule him out of the conversation at this point. 

As of right now, the award is Jackson's to lose. But the Heisman Trophy has prematurely been awarded in September before only to be revoked in October. The message? There's plenty of football remaining.

Barrett has as good a chance as any right now to be that guy, though if you ask him about the Heisman Trophy it seems to be the thing furthest from him mind. 

"My main thing is winning. That's what I'm about," he said. "If winning gives me a Heisman Trophy, then I'm OK with that. But I'm not about to do anything outside myself in order to get the Heisman Trophy."

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