Heisman Trophy Focus Shifts to Quarterbacks After Week 1

Week 1 in college football is in the books and there are a lot of developing storylines.  Alabama again looks like the real deal, Texas again doesn’t.  Oregon State and UCLA lost their starting quarterbacks early, while Michigan thought they had found their savior at QB, only to see they haven’t. David Shaw and his offensive staff derailed Bryce Love’s Heisman campaign, or maybe San Diego State’s defense is just that good against the run.

But, the biggest storyline to come out of Week 1 is the emergence of top quarterbacks as the marquee players in the country.  Bryce Love, the All American running back from Stanford, was held to 29 yards rushing, shifting the Heisman focus from him to the top QB’s in the country.

1)  Will Grier, West Virginia:  Grier made Tennessee’s defense look silly at times, going 25-34 for 429 yards and five touchdowns.  This, too, in a game where West Virginia dropped a couple too.  We know the Vols have been down the last few years, but this was a decent opponent to kick off Grier’s Heisman run.  He is the favorite, has the hype around him,  and has the tools on offense to put up big numbers all season.  Is he the best quarterback in the country?  Absolutely not.  But as his gaudy numbers grow in Dana Halgorsen’s offense, so will his legendary status.

2)  Justin Herbert, Oregon:  Oregon’s offense looked pedestrian compared to past year, but Herbert still looked like a superstar.  In a game where his receivers dropped five passes, Herbert completed 10-21 passes for 281 yards and five touchdowns.  He tacked on another with a three yard run.  Many feel that he is the best quarterback in the country, and nothing that happened Saturday changes that notion. If you want to see what a future NFL star looks like, check out his fourth down dart for a 33-yard touchdown late in the first quarter.  On 4th and 4, Herbert beat two defenders for a dandy, sending Autzen Stadium into a frenzy.  This kid has all the intangibles — touch, feel, leadership — for greatness.

3)  Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State:  Ohio State put up 77 on lowly Oregon State, so these numbers might be a little misleading.  Regardless, 22-30 for 313 yards and 5 touchdowns isn’t a bad start.  Haskins looks like an upgrade at QB for the Buckeyes, which is saying something since J.T. Barrett set several school records.  Haskins is big, physical, and possesses all the gifts to become as good as he wants to be.  While he needs to work on his accuracy, this guy plays on a team that looks like it can contend for a national title.  If Ohio State runs the table, expect Haskins to be right in the Heisman discussion at the end of the season.

4)  Kyler Murray, Oklahoma:  It’s hard to assess just how good this guy is because he played less than a half of football.  But, while in the game, he went 9-11 for 209 yards and two touchdowns.  Arguably the best athlete at his position in the country, Murray will have to climb an uphill battle to win the Heisman this year.  Only twice in the storied career of the Heisman, have different players from the same school won in back-to-back years.  Not saying Murray can do it, but the odds are against him.  Regardless, Oklahoma will be in the national championship discussion all season, and if they win some big games this guy is going to get a lot of attention.

5)  Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama:  This guy will get all the media attention because of Alabama’s No. 1 ranking.  Not sure what to make of his first outing against overmatched Louisville, but Tagovailoa went 12-16 for 227 yards and he rushed for another.  The scenario around him is really interesting.  He is going to get a pass on a poor performance or two because he rallied ‘Bama past Georgia in the national title game last year.  It could be the first year in the history of the trophy that a guy wins it off a signature moment from the year before.

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