We wanted a way to identify and predict the Heisman winner as the season progresses. To do this, we analyzed the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterbacks from this decade to see if there were consistent trends in their stats. Not surprisingly, the best indicator for a quarterback to win the Heisman is how their stats compare to the rest of the players in college football. Essentially, the more dominant a player is compared to his peers, the more likely he is to win the Heisman — pretty common sense. You can read more about the Elite Quarterback Score here
After Week 3, Jalen Hurts still has a commanding lead in the EQBS with an impressive score of 1.8. While others, mainly Tua Tagovailoa and Joe Burrow, are making it interesting, Hurts’ EQBS continues to improve. If he were able to maintain a 1.8 EQBS, it would be the second-lowest score this decade – behind only fellow Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray at 1.6.
It is worth noting that, like many of these quarterbacks, Hurts has not faced a great defense. Of the teams Hurts has faced so far, the average defensive ranking is 119 (excluding FCS South Dakota). Starting in week 4, the competition will get much tougher, with the remaining teams boasting an average defensive ranking of 45 (including two Top 25 teams).
For comparison’s sake, Tagovailoa’s future opponents’ average defensive rank is 47th (three Top 25 teams) while Joe Burrow is 57 (4 Top 25 teams).
Week 6 will be one to watch, as the top 3 quarterbacks will all be facing Top 25 Teams:
- Jalen Hurts vs. #12 Texas
- Tua Tagovailoa vs. #17 Texas A&M
- Joe Burrow vs. #9 Florida
How these QBs perform this week will go a long way in determining who will win the Heisman.
Welcome to the Top 10
Ian Book, Notre Dame
Last Week: 64.5 (#42)
This Week: 17.7 (#9)
Coming off an early bye in Week 2, Book came out strong against New Mexico, scoring 6 total touchdowns. This performance vaulted him into the Top 10 this week. Even more impressive is that he is doing this after playing only two games. He is one of only two quarterbacks in the top 10 with only two games played. The other is Purdue’s Elijah Sindelar, who was inactive last week due to a concussion. The true test for Book will come this week as Notre Dame travels to Athens. Georgia is currently ranked #3 overall and #9 in total defense.
Sean Clifford, Penn State
Last Week: 16.2 (#8)
This Week: 34.0 (#17)
Clifford’s stint in the Top 10 was short lived, as Penn State struggled against Pitt team in Week 3. Coming off a 4 touchdown performance in Week 2, Clifford went scoreless, completing only 47.6% of his passes.
Trevor Lawrence, Clemson
Last Week: 59.9 (#41)
This Week: 31.5 (#14)
Trever Lawrence remains the betting favorite to win the Heisman and Week 3 went a long way towards to make that a reality. After throwing for 2 only touchdowns combined in the first two weeks, he threw for three and rushed for another versus Syracuse. He still has a long way to catch up to Hurts, Tua and Burrow, but Clemson’s schedule is very favorable for the rest of the season.
Quentin Harris, Duke
Last Week: 46.0 (#31)
This Week: 25.8 (#13)
After facing Alabama in Week 1, where Harris did not score a touchdown, he has scored at least 4 touchdowns in both Weeks 2 and 3. It is amazing what not playing Alabama will do. Hard to parse out if Harris is truly improving or just playing inferior opponents.
Anthony Brown, Boston College
Last Week: 26.6 (#13)
This Week: 42.7 (#24)
Before last week, the last time Kansas won a road game versus a Power 5 school, Phil Fulmer was employed by Tennessee – as a head coach. Kansas has been historically bad, so it’s no surprise that Anthony Brown’s EQBS would take a hit by losing to the Jayhawks. Brown managed to complete just 50% of his passes for 195 yards and 1 touchdown against the 65th-ranked defense in the country.
Josh Jackson, Maryland
Last Week: 28.0 (#14)
This Week: 47.8 (#32)
After a beat down of Syracuse in Week 2, Maryland followed with a 20-17 loss to Temple. After 7 total touchdowns his first two games, Jackson threw only one versus Temple, completing a season low 39.5% of passes.