With the regular 2015 college football season coming to an end soon, a candidate for the Heisman Memorial Trophy has to be chosen before the Dec. 12 announcement.
The Heisman Memorial Trophy Award, usually known as the Heisman Trophy or The Heisman, is awarded annually to the most outstanding college football player in the United States. His performance must exhibit the pursuit of excellence with integrity. The winners often also epitomize great ability combined with diligence, perseverance and hard work.
There are numerous candidates for this year’s Heisman Trophy, but there were only two top candidates who are running backs – University of Alabama’s Derrick Henry, and Louisiana State University’s Leonard Fournette.
Before the season started, no one really thought these two candidates would be in the top running for the award because all eyes were still on junior running back Ezekiel Elliott from the Ohio State University.
Elliot was entering the 2015 season as one of the best, if not the greatest, running backs in college football. He was the nation’s leading returning rusher, coming off a season of 1,878-yard rushing yards along with 18 touchdowns.
His talents last season helped Ohio State win the college football’s first College Football Playoff national championship, which also included Elliott winning the offensive MVP award in both the Sugar Bowl and College Football Playoff national championship game.
Now that it seems as if Elliot has “cooled off” and the 2015 season is coming to an end soon, voters seem to still sway back and forth between the two powerhouse running backs, Henry and Fournette.
At the beginning of the 2015 college football season, Fournette seemed to have taken the lead in the race for the Heisman Trophy. He is one of the top players in college football, and he is only a sophomore.
In his first year as a freshman, he had a record of rushing 1,034 yards and had 10 touchdowns. This season, he currently has 214 carries for 1,474 rushing yards and 17 rushing touchdowns.
He ranks second in the LSU single-season rushing yards and leads the nation in rushing yards and yards per game. The New Orleans native also became the fastest player in LSU history to reach 1,000 rushing yards in the fifth game of the season.
Fournette seemed to have risen to the top of all his opponents at the beginning of this season until LSU Tigers made a visit to Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, which is where his challenging opponent and also Heisman Trophy seeker Derrick Henry and the University of Alabama Crimson Tide stopped him cold in a regular season game.
On Nov. 7, 2015, the Crimson Tide defense held Fournette to limited yards, while Henry ran for 210 yards and also had three touchdowns. In the end, Alabama came out with the victory over LSU with a score of 30-16.
This game seemed to be the turning point for Fournette and the rising point of Alabama’s running back Derrick Henry. No one thought Fournette could be stopped, but Alabama’s Crimson Tide defense proved those theories wrong.
With another 31-14 lost to the Arkansas Razorbacks on Nov. 14, 2015, the event put another dent in Fournette chances to win this year’s Heisman Trophy. Fournette had only 91 yards and a touchdown against the opposing team.
As a sophomore, Henry finished the year with 990 rushing yards on 172 carries. He averaged 5.8 yards per carry along with 11 rushing touchdowns.
This season, the dynamic running back was a full-time starter for the Alabama Crimson Tide offense. He is ranked fifth nationally for rushing for 1,254 yards and averages 139.3 yards per game. He averages 173.6 yards per game against ranked teams and 137.2 yards per game against rushing defenses ranked in the top 40.
According to ESPN.com, Henry is currently in the lead for the Heisman Trophy with 44 votes. Fournette is right behind Henry in second place with 32 votes. Ezekiel Elliott, the running back from Ohio State, is currently in fourth place with only 14 votes.
With only one loss against the Ole Miss Rebels this season, one can only expect that Henry looks to capitalize on his lead in the running for the Heisman with the remaining games of this season.