Just within the last few weeks, Bovada pulled their Heisman Trophy odds from the board after it was becoming visibly clear just how much of a landslide favorite Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield was becoming. That does not appear to be changing as we enter conference championship weekend, but Auburn would like to throw one more name out there for your consideration before you cast that Heisman Trophy vote.
Auburn shared an image on Twitter to campaign for running back Kerryon Johnson as a Heisman contender.
Johnson ranks 23rd in the nation with 1,276 rushing yards, but 9th in the nation in rushing yards per game (127.6 ypg). Only four more running backs have more rushing touchdowns than Johnson; FAU’s Devin Singletary, San Diego State’s Rashaad Penny, Washington’s Myles Gaskin, and Kentucky’s Benny Snell Jr. (Ohio quarterback Nathan Rourke also has more rushing touchdowns than Johnson). But if you look at those names just mentioned, you may notice that none of them include either of the running backs most commonly attached to the Heisman Trophy race; Stanford’s Bryce Love or Penn State’s Saquon Barkley. Johnson has more rushing touchdowns than each, but Barkley has more all-purpose touchdowns this season. And none of the players mentioned here are in the thick of a playoff hunt, although Love will play for the Pac-12 championship this weekend and Barkley could be heading to a New Years Six bowl game.
One thing Johnson has on his side is his performance in some huge games in November. Johnson rushed for 167 yards and added 66 receiving yards and a touchdown in a win against previous No. 1 Georgia. This past weekend in the Iron Bowl, Johnson rushed for 104 yards and a score in a 26-14 win against another previous No. 1 Alabama.
It is going to be too late for Johnson to make up enough ground to catch Mayfield, but a late surge to receive an invite to New York as a finalist may not be totally out of the question. Still, even that feels like it might be tough to come by unless Johnson has a 200-yard day against Georgia in the SEC Championship Game. And even that may not be enough.
He’s a heck of a player, though.