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Dave Syvertsen, Ourlads' Senior Draft Analyst
09/18/2020 1:50PM ET

1 – Tua Tagovailoa – QB/Alabama

It’s hard to imagine there was a quarterback competition at Tuscaloosa this past summer.  Tua has been at the forefront of an Alabama team that is playing on a completely different level than everyone in the country.  His 31:2 touchdown to interception ratio in addition to 4 rushing scores has given the Crimson Tide arguably its best ever quarterback play under the Nick Saban era.  Against Citadel, he helped engineer another 50+ point performance, their 7th of the season.  Plain and simple, Tua is the catalyst to the most dominant offense in the nation for a team that almost everyone believes will win the National Championship.  It will take something very unexpected, namely an injury, to knock him off the top of this list.

2 – Kyler Murray  - QB/Oklahoma

One of the most unique stories in all of college football, Murray, a 1st round pick of the MLB Draft this past summer, is second in line for the Heisman.  If there is anyone in the same stratosphere at Tua, it is Murray.  The nation’s top offense is led by the nation’s top scorer.  He added 5 touchdowns in Oklahoma’s latest win against Kansas.  Murray now has 34 touchdowns via the air and 10 more on the ground.  Each game can present its own highlight reel for the short, well-built, explosive junior.  How quickly he progressed as a passer in Lincoln Riley’s scheme has been the reason why this offense continues to be at the top post-Baker Mayfield.  If Tua slips at any point, Murray will be there waiting.

3 – Jonathan Taylor – RB/Wisconsin

After coming up 23 yards shy of the 2,000-yard mark as a freshman, Taylor is quickly approaching that mark with one final regular season matchup plus a bowl remaining.  He is averaging  a country-best 170 yards per game, more than 30 yards more than the second player on the list.  In addition to being the nation’s leading rusher, Taylor has crossed the goal line 15 times and leads all running backs in yards per carry among those that have over 150 attempts.  His 321-yard performance in Wisconsin’s 47-44 win over Purdue has brought his already-dominant November to another level.  If he ends the season with more of these games, he could sneak his way near the top of this list.

4 – Gardner Minshew II – QB/Washington State

Being in the driver’s seat of a Mike Leach offense will always have its advantages, but Minshew is taking this to a new level over the second half of this season.  He leads the country in passing by nearly 500 yards with an impressive 36:7 touchdown to interception ratio.  While he does throw the ball 14 times more per game than anyone, his performances have made them one of the hottest teams in the nation.  Minshew just recently torched Arizona in a 69-28 win, throwing  for 473 yards and 7 touchdowns.  He has completed 35+ passes in 5 straight games and all of a sudden the 10-1 Cougars are in line for a Pac 12 Championship appearance if they beat Washington this upcoming Friday night.

5 – Travis Etienne – RB/Clemson

The season’s statistics won’t jump off the screen, as Etienne has “just” 1,157 yards on the ground and 56 yards as a receiver.  However anyone that watches the Clemson offense knows that he is their most explosive offensive threat that simply doesn’t get the touches that some of the other Heisman contenders do.  Clemson has 6 wins by a margin of 30+ points, which means the second half snaps for Etienne just haven’t been there.  However in limited action, he still has 17 rushing touchdowns, good for #2 in the nation.  His 8.5 yards per carry lead the nation among backs that have over 150 carries.  His performance this past weekend was just another layer of what we have seen all year - 9 carries / 81 yards / 2 touchdowns.  On a team that is heading towards the National Championship, Etienne’s value and performance to their success warrant a spot on this list.