The most prestigious award in college athletics, the Heisman Trophy, will be presented Saturday night in New York City. The three finalists that will be there are running back Derrick Henry of Alabama, running back Christian McCaffrey of Stanford, and quarterback Deshaun Watson of Clemson. Each candidate has led their respective teams to great seasons. While each of these guys are deserving, I believe the decision is ultimately between Henry and McCaffrey.
I remember before the season that everyone speculated if a running back could win the Heisman anymore. We can laugh about it now. Derrick Henry and Christian McCaffrey are two outstanding backs each with a case to win the coveted Heisman Trophy. Derrick Henry has followed in a line of great backs at Alabama and might be the best ever. He is simply sensational. He has tremendous power and speed, and when he gets started, tackling him is like stopping a freight train.
I have personally watched many of his games on TV this year and one in person and have simply been astounded watching Henry gash each SEC defense he comes up against week after week. He is simply a freak of nature. Henry has broken countless records in 2015 including the SEC record for most rushing yards in a season and the SEC record for most rushing touchdowns in a season. He will be remembered as one of the greatest talents to ever come through the Southeastern Conference and college football in general.
Henry is one massive and intimidating human being. The 6-3, 242 pound junior from Yulee, Florida, has rushed for 1,986 yards this season with 23 touchdowns. He leads the FBS in rushing yards this year, and that is in a conference that knows a little about defense. Like I've said, Henry is so powerful. He seems to enjoy contact and would just as soon run over you than burn you in a foot race. The man is an absolute animal.
For all the hits, the carries (46 and 44 the last two weeks), and the mental load of carrying the Alabama Crimson Tide's offense on his shoulders, Henry has done an admirable job. One of his most underrated qualities is his patience, his work ethic, and his calm demeanor. He is one of the biggest reasons why the Tide are in the CFB Playoff.
Henry would have my vote for the Heisman, but you can make quite the case for Christian McCaffrey as well. McCaffrey, a sophomore from Castle Rock, Colorado, has certainly had a breakout season in his 2nd year at Stanford University. McCaffrey broke Barry Sanders' NCAA record for all-purpose yards in a single season in 2015 with 3,496 thus far. He is Mr. Everything for Stanford. He has 1,847 yards rushing, 540 yards receiving, 1,109 yards on special teams, and even 39 yards passing. He's scored 15 touchdowns this year, which includes throwing two as well. He's arguably the most versatile player in all of college football. He is very quick and shifty.
Last weekend, McCaffrey really made a case for himself as worthy of the Heisman in the Pac-12 Title Game against USC. McCaffrey rushed for 207 yards in a 461 all-purpose yards outing against the Trojans on a national stage. I think that monster performance, along with breaking Sanders' record, really cemented McCaffrey as a Heisman finalist. It's just a shame his team is not in the playoff, but Stanford is really good, and McCaffrey is their best player.
Bottom line is that the Heisman is between Alabama's Derrick Henry and Stanford's Christian McCaffrey. The Heisman voting should reflect that as well on Saturday night. There are many talented players in the country with obviously Deshaun Watson of Clemson. Heck, I would've included Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield among the Heisman finalists, but that's just my opinion. I'm not going to be upset if Watson does indeed win. He is certainly a worthy candidate. Let's be honest though, Henry and McCaffrey are just a step above everyone else.