We have reached the halfway point of the 2021 College Football season and are coming off an incredible Week 6 with ridiculously exciting finishes, incredible performances and a No. 1 team going down.
We know the beats per minute are high, but time to take the pulse of the Heisman landscape, which is as packed as ever with viable candidates.
The Athletic released its second straw poll among its staff today and Michigan State RB Kenneth Walker III has taken over first with Texas RB Bijan Robinson second, Cincinnati QB Desmond Ridder third, Alabama QB Bryce Young fourth and Ole Miss QB Matt Corral fifth.
Walker ran for 232 yards on 29 carries, including a school-record 94-yard TD run that clinched the Spartans’ win over Rutgers and their 6-0 start. He leads the nation with 913 rushing yards to go with nine ground TDs. Also, the former Wake Forest back has a national-best streak of 315 carries without a fumble dating to 2019 and PFF College named him their top performing back of the week.
Meanwhile, Robinson rushed for 137 yards and this amazing touchdown on Saturday in the epic Texas-Oklahoma Red River Rivalry. He now has rushed for 789 yards and eight TDs with 169 yards receiving and two more scores.
Ridder guided unbeaten Cincinnati to a romp over Temple with a business-like 259 yards and three scores. He now has 1,304 yards and 12 TDs, quarterbacking the No. 3 team in the country.
Alabama’s Young was on the wrong end of Texas A&M’s dramatic comeback, but the freshman is still impressing and threw for a career-best 369 yards in the loss and three scores. He is 11th nationally with 1,734 yards and third nationally with 20 TD passes. This ESPN article posits, among other points, it is his award to lose.
The Ole Miss-Arkansas game was just as incredible as the Corral-led Rebels out-lasted the Razorbacks, 52-51. In a balanced offense, Corral passes for 287 yards and two scores while rushing for 94 yards and two more TDs. He now has 1,497 yards passing with 12 TDs and no interceptions with 255 yards and eight scores on the ground.
Ohio State QB CJ Stroud quietly has Ohio State 5-1 and still well in the mix for a CFP run following his 406-yard, 5-TD game last week in a blowout of Maryland.
SaturdayBlitz has Stroud 4th on its Heisman Watch list, one ahead of Ridder and one back of Walker III. The list shows Corral at No. 2, Young at No. 1. Bleacher Report, by the way, also has Young and Corral 1-2 on its top 5.
RGIII had Georgia DT Jordan Davis second on his Heisman list while fellow Dawg DL Nakobe Dean got votes in the Athletic poll. Some observers are ready to give the award to the Bulldogs’ defense, but we’re not aware that’s yet within the rules, however.
When we dim the lights to look at the dark horses, a new name has entered the fray and that is USC WR Drake London, who CBS’s Dennis Dodd had at No. 8 on his list. He leads the country with 64 receptions and is second with 832 receiving yards.
Iowa’s Spencer Petras is leading the No. 2 team in the country, but hasn’t cracked into much Heisman hype just yet. He’s thrown for 1,138 yards with nine TDs.
Kentucky RB Chris Rodriguez Jr. just led the 6-0 Kentucky Wildcats to a 42-21 win over LSU, rushing for 147 yards and a score on just 16 carries while catching one TD. He has 761 yards on the ground in 2021.
Coastal Carolina QB Grayson McCall still has the Chanticleers unbeaten at 6-0 with 1,478 passing yards and 14 TDs against one interception. Similarly, Wake Forest QB Sam Hartman has 14 TDs and three picks while throwing for 1,615 yards, completing 63.8% for the 6-0 Demon Deacons.
Heisman winners in the NFL continue to show, dotting the league with big performances.
Kyler Murray kept Arizona as the NFL’s only unbeaten team, moving Arizona to 5-0 last week. He leads the NFL in completion percentage (75.2) and is sixth in passing yards (1,512).
Derrick Henry continues to pace the NFL in rushing with 640 yards and seven TDs as he tries to become just the second Heisman winner to lead the NFL in rushing three straight times. The other is Earl Campbell (1978-80).
Lamar Jackson turned in another stunning performance on Monday Night Football to move Baltimore to 4-1 somehow. He threw for a career-best 442 passing yards and had over 500 yards of total offense. He is eighth in the NFL in rushing with 341 yards and fifth in passing yards (1,519).
Eagles rookie DeVonta Smith led the Eagles in receiving again last week and leads Philadelphia overall with 25 receptions and 314 receiving yards. This article discussed what he has in common with Philly icon Allen Iverson.
Joe Burrow came close to taking the Bengals to a 4-1 start before they fell in OT to Green Bay. Still, he threw for 281 yards with two TDs against two interceptions despite being banged up.
Baker Mayfield has the Browns at 3-2, also coming close to taking his team to 4-1. He threw for 305 yards and four TDs in the 5-point loss at the L.A. Chargers.
Henry posed with a prep running back who broke his single-game high school record.