All’s quiet on the college football front as teams wait for National Signing Day to approach, and that means it is time to start looking forward next season. More specifically, let’s talk about the Heisman race. I know it’s only January, but it is never too early to start thinking about the best player in college football, and I’m pretty sure I know who it will be.
This year’s Heisman race came down to Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey, Clemson’s Deshaun Watson, and the winner, Derrick Henry, who played for Alabama. All three are great players, but don’t plan on seeing any of them take home the hardware next year (especially Derrick Henry since he’ll be in the NFL next season).
The next Heisman winner will be coming from none other than LSU. Leonard Fournette is more talented than anyone in college and I don’t think it’s a debatable topic. No one brings his combination of size, speed and power. Fournette has the type of talent that comes around maybe once or twice every ten years, and he has looked like a man among boys in his two seasons at LSU.
At the halfway point on the season, Fournette seemed to have run away with the Heisman already, but his numbers dropped significantly after November came around. He became an afterthought and people bashed him following his disappointing performance against Alabama. That is a huge mistake to do. Fournette could not have done anything to stop this problem.
Fournette was the only real option in the offense this year and teams figured it out. LSU could not throw the ball or protect the passer. With LSU having Brandon Harris return under center for a 3rd year, he may finally get comfortable and return to his 5-star form, and he will be aided by the progression of receiver Malachi Dupre. If this happens, LSU will have a respectable passing attack, forcing teams to take people out of the box and help in pass defense. That could mean Fournette would be dealing with 6 people covering the run and 4 defenders worrying about the passing attack. If this really happens, then teams are going to watch Fournette consistently go for 200 yards.
He dominated this season for the most part and was on pace for a record breaking season, and I don’t see that changing much next season. What will really put him over the top this year will be his involvement in the passing game. As a freshman, Fournette was extremely efficient as a pass catcher out of the backfield. Although he mostly ran the ball this season, LSU has made it known that Fournette will be seeing an increase in that role this upcoming season.
Another thing to watch out for is his return game. Fournette did not play the role this past season, but as a freshman he starred in it, with his most notable performance coming against Notre Dame, where he went for 107 yards on the first kickoff.
Truthfully, Fournette has the same skill set as the Heisman runner-up Christian McCaffrey, but he’s a better athlete and player. His performance next season will be the one you talk about for years to come. He is my pick to be next year’s Heisman winner.