For the second year in a row I was fortunate enough to represent the capital region in upstate New York in the voting process for college football’s Heisman Memorial Trophy. Below was the official ballot I cast for this year’s award. Three things are important to remember 1) Official voters can only cast a ballot for three players 2) My voting process follows that of which is required by each Heisman voter. The award asks voters to cast their ballots to the athletes  is awarded annually to the most outstanding player in college football in the United States whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity. Winners epitomize great ability combined with diligence, perseverance, and hard work. 3) Every single college football player in the country is eligible for the award, regardless of the level of play (sorry Elijah Ibitokun-Hanks from Albany and Brandon Shed from Hobart you guys did not make my ballot this year)


FIRST PLACE VOTE: Louisville Quarterback Lamar Jackson

Lamar Jackson deserved to win this year’s Heisman trophy. I tweeted back in September that it was the single most domintant performance by ANY collegieate athlete I had ever witnessed in person when he tore up my beloved Syracuse Orange in the Carrier Dome. Jackson became the first player in FBS history to throw for over 400 yards and run for over 175 yards in a single game. Jackson’s also the first player ever in FBS history to rush for over 1,500 yards and throw for 3,300 yards. I understand it is not all about stats. Jackson’s Cardinal was a contender for the ACC title until late November. Jackson led his team to a blowout victory against then nationally ranked Florida State and almost pulled off a win in Death Valley. Congratulations to Lamar Jackson for winning this year’s award.


SECOND PLACE VOTE: Oklahoma Quarterback Baker Mayfield  

If Heisman voters were allowed to vote for four players, Baker Mayfield would have gained my fourth vote last season. Unfortunately that’s not the case and Mayfield was left off my ballot. Mayfield gained every week on what I consider to be my own personal Heisman tracker.  Mayfield lead  the country in passing efficiency, at (197.8) completion percentage (71.2) and yards per pass attempt (11.1). The biggest moment for me to put Baker Mayfield on my Heisman ballot was his final performance against Oklahoma State. Mayfield lost his best offensive weapon WR Dede Westbrook during the game. It did not matter. Mayfield continued to have success leading his Sooner team to a Big 12 title while going for 288 yards through the air and 3 touchdowns. Mayfield had a chance to show his worth to his team without Westbrook and he delivered in the team’s biggest game of the season.


THIRD PLACE VOTE: Florida State Running Back Dalvin Cook

For some college football fans they may find my third place vote as the most surprising. My third place vote was placed for Florida State running back Dalvin Cook. I was genuinely surprised to see Cook’s name tied for 10th in the balloting. In the biggest games of the season, Cook had his biggest performances. Cook ran for a 169 yards and 4 touchdowns in a prime time win over Clemson. In a game in October, he destroyed a South Florida team who has been garnering national poll votes all season with a 267 yard and 2 touchdown game. Plus in a win against Florida he again had a monster performance with 153 yards and a touchdown. What hurt Cook’s Heisman campaign was that two other players from his conference (Jackson at Louisville, Watson at Clemson) gained much more national attention? Cook’s stats for rushing yards and touchdowns ranked both in the top six nationally. Dalvin Cook had a better season than last season and deserved to get more votes this year the Heisman.

Why no Watson, Westbrook, Peppers, or others?

Deshaun Watson is a good quarterback. I had him third on my Heisman ballot last year. I’m genuinely confused as to why voters gave him so much more credit this year. Watson ranked third in the country in interceptions. His best numbers came in games Clemson needed to rally in late (NC State and Pittsburgh). Find a game or a moment where DeShaun Watson looked like the 2nd best player in the country. South Carolina? That’s not a very good Gamecocok team. I couldn’t put him on the ballot but I understand Heisman voters may have linked Clemson’s return bid to the college football playoffs with Watson’s play. Jabrill Peppers is similar to Manti Teo’s bid in 2013 but with truly less production. I understand Peppers’ role on Michigan but that does not necessarily make him a more outstanding football player than others. It just means he is being used differently. There’s a strong argument that Peppers may not even be the best player on the Wolverines’ defense (All American Jourdan Lewis could be). Dede Westbrook is the third best receiver in the country so I could not vote for on my ballot. Western Michigan’s Corey Davis and Washington’s John Ross III have been better players. Ross III is the same reason why I kept Jake Browning off my list. If Browning did not have Ross, where would the Huskies be this season?

Do you have any other questions of players I voted for or excluded from my ballot? Let me know below.