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Kaboom! Magazine.com 2017 College Football Preview: Heisman Contenders & Dark Horses

Kaboom! Magazine.com 2017 College Football Preview: Heisman Contenders & Dark Horses

After a summer full of Mayweather/McGregor, Wonder Woman greatness, Golden State Warriors history, Rihanna’s wild thoughts, and let’s not leave out OJ, we finally have some excitement coming that we can all tailgate for. The start of the 2017 college football season is right around the corner. Last season we saw the birth of a golden Trojan in Hollywood, a dual-threat signal caller become the new Heisman trophy winner in Louisville, Harbaugh put the AMAZING back into the amazing blue in year 2, Alabama and Clemson gave us another national championship classic, and all the chaotic college football moments you’ve learned to love in between. In year 4 of the college football playoff system, expect more teams in 2017 to have national championship goals only adding even more chaos to the already chaotic format. Can Alabama rebound? Is it Clemson title to lose? Can USC bring the national championship back to the west coast? Is Washington ready to go to another level? Is Penn State the safe choice? Who will be No. 1 when all the smoke clears? there are so many questions that need to be answered. We will answer these questions and many more in our 2017 Kaboom! Magazine College Football Preview. Lace up your cleats and let’s see if your team has what it takes to make all of your dreams come true. Today we focus on the players that are planning a trip to New York to hoist the Heisman trophy at season’s end. We also talk about the players that may come from out of nowhere and steal the show and the Heisman trophy along with it. If 2017 is anything like 2016, than buckle your safety belts because you’re in for a very wild ride.

NCAA Football: Heisman Trophy Presentation

2017 Heisman Contenders:
Lamar Jackson hopes to be the next Archie Griffin, but he going to have to post up even more impressive numbers this season if he wants to rewrite the history books. Here are some other players you will be keeping your eye all season long that would love nothing more than to make Mr. Jackson 2nd best.


Sam Darnold, USC:
Darnold has it all. He passed for 31 TDs and nine interceptions as part of a remarkable run that carried the Trojans to a victory in the Rose Bowl, and that came with a 67.2 completion percentage. Expectations are high, and yes, Darnold is our pick for first-team All-American at quarterback. It’s part of a continual dilemma with the other quarterback on this list.


Lamar Jackson, Louisville:
Jackson is the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, and he put nearly 5,000 yards of total offense with 51 total TDs. He also comes with experience that should help negate a late-season slide. Quarterbacks impact the game the most, and no quarterback impacts the college game quite like Jackson, who might be the most-unheralded returning Heisman winner ever. He won’t disappoint for the Cardinals, who have the same stake in the ACC race as everybody else.


Saquon Barkley, Penn State:
Size, speed, quickness. Barkley has it all. He’s an amazing talent, and college football fans are lucky to see him for one more year. Barkley rushed for 1,496 yards and 18 TDs to lead the Nittany Lions to the Big Ten championship last season, and expectations are even higher for Penn State in 2017. Barkley is the biggest reason for the hype.


J.T. Barrett, Ohio State:
Barrett is 26-4 as a starter for the Buckeyes and has compiled 100 total TDs, and he’s back for one more run under new offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson. Barrett is one of the most-decorated players in the game, and he’s being undervalued considering he’s almost always in the outskirts of the Heisman conversation.

NCAA Football: Alabama at Arkansas

Bo Scarbrough, Alabama:
Scarbrough is big, bad and stands to inherit lead-back duties for Alabama in a crowded backfield. He’s averaged 6.4 yards per carry the last two years. We just need to see Scarbrough do it for a full season.


Heisman Dark Horses:
Let’s go away from those well-known superstars and their front-runner statuses in the early predictions. What about the sleepers, the dark horses, the undervalued playmakers who could explode onto the scene and get a Heisman invite in 2017?

Miami Beach Bowl - South Florida v Western Kentucky

Quinton Flowers, South Florida:
Flowers has no problem carrying an entire team on his back and lead them to big victories. Relatable to another Florida great Tim Tebow, Quinton is capable of putting up Heisman Trophy-caliber numbers. That’s welcoming news for first-year coach Charlie Strong.


Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State:
The opportunity for more is there with Rudolph, a by-definition efficient quarterback with 49 TDs and 13 interceptions the last two seasons as a full-time starter. If he can take the Cowboys to the College Football Playoff once and for all……New York, New York!

Penn State-McSorley's Evolution Football

Trace McSorley, Penn State:
McSorley’s go-for-broke style is a joy to watch unfold, and that was good enough to get the Nittany Lions to the Rose Bowl last season. He’s a winner, a leader and a perfect fit in offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead’s fast-paced attack.


Jake Browning, Washington:
Browning won’t sneak up on anybody this year after throwing for 43 TDs and nine interceptions and leading the Huskies to the College Football Playoff. That’s fine, too. He should continue to get better under Chris Petersen.


Justin Jackson, Northwestern:
Jackson’s 224-yard outburst in the Pinstripe Bowl victory against Pitt is a big reason why Northwestern is a chic sleeper pick in the Big Ten West Division. Jackson’s been consistent throughout his record-setting career, and the rewards will keep coming in 2017.


Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma:
Mayfield is a two-time Heisman Trophy finalist, and he’s looking to lead the Sooners to another Big 12 championship, this time with Lincoln Riley as head coach. Mayfield’s experience and play-making skills around a new supporting cast will be needed now more than ever.

NCAA Football: Pittsburgh at Oklahoma State

James Washington, Oklahoma State:
Washington has scored 10 TDs each of the last two seasons and averages 19.2 yards per catch. Much like predecessors Dez Bryant and Justin Blackmon, Washington has the potential to take the Cowboys’ offense to the next level in 2017. No receiver will be more fun to watch.


Derrius Guice, LSU:
Guice is the most physical running back in the country and the key to Ed Orgeron’s first year at LSU. He’s averaged an astonishing 7.8 yards per carry the last two seasons. We caught a glimpse of that late last season when he rushed for 758 yards in four games. He’s the real deal.

2017 Kaboom! Magazine.com Heisman Trophy Finalists Predictions:
Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma
Saquon Barkley, Penn State
Sam Darnold, USC
Lamar Jackson, Louisville

2017 Kaboom! Magazine.com Heisman Trophy Winner Prediction:
Sam Darnold, USC