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Franchise Heisman Watch: Monday’s announcement, and Saturday’s ceremony, now just a formality

Franchise Heisman Watch: Monday’s announcement, and Saturday’s ceremony, now just a formality

Heisman Trophy finalists, from left, Oklahoma’s Dede Westbrook, Clemson’s Deshaun Watson, Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers, Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield and Louisville’s Lamar Jackson stand for a photo with the Heisman Trophy before attending the Heisman Trophy award ceremony, Saturday, Dec. 10, 2016, in New York. Jackson won last year’s Heisman, but Mayfield is widely expected to win this year’s award. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

The real votes are due Monday.

But in this week’s Franchise Heisman Watch, the votes already have been tabulated.

For the fifth week in a row, Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield is the unanimous leader for the 2017 Heisman Trophy.

After leading the Sooners to a 41-17 victory over TCU in the Big 12 Championship game and helping OU earn the No. 2 spot in the College Football Playoff, Mayfield is a virtual lock to be announced as the 83rd Heisman winner on Saturday night (7 p.m. on ESPN) at the Marriott Marquis in New York City.

Official Heisman votes are due Monday at 4 p.m., and the Heisman finalists — those who will travel to New York for this year’s ceremony — will be announced during ESPN’s “Monday Night Countdown” broadcast at 5 p.m.

Mayfield also received 11 of 12 first-place votes in last week’s ESPN Heisman Watch.

There are 929 official Heisman voters, which include 870 media members in six different regions in 49 states (Alaska has no vote), New York City and Washington, D.C., plus 58 living former Heisman winners and one aggregate fan vote.

Read about how the Heisman voting process works:

Read about the how the Heisman Trust constructs its electorate:

There is only minor suspense now.

  • Will Mayfield break Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith’s all-time record for highest vote percentage (91.6, set in 2006)?
  • How many finalists will the Heisman Trophy Trust invite to Time Square (the minimum is three, but that depends on where the biggest break in the voting falls; could be three players or as many as six).
  • And who finishes as this year’s runner-up?

The Franchise has seven official Heisman voters on air, including three full-time hosts: Dylan Buckingham, Lauren Rew and John Hoover. Since mid-October, Franchise hosts and producers have submitted unofficial ballots, and Mayfield has received every first-place vote each of the last five weeks. Including all 13 this week.

Mayfield is on pace to shatter his own record for NCAA passer efficiency rating (currently at 203.8). But he’s much more than just efficient. He has accounted for 278 total points (passing and rushing touchdowns), which leads the nation. He also sits atop college football with a .710 completion percentage, 11.76 yards per attempt and 16.56 yards per completion, and ranks second in the nation in touchdown passes (41) and fourth in total offense per game (357.7).

This week, Stanford running back received all but one second-place vote from Franchise voters to finish a strong second. Love ranks second nationally with 164.4 rushing yards per game is third in the country with 8.32 yards per carry. Love has rushed for 1,973 yards and 17 touchdowns, and has rushed for more than 100 yards 11 times (he missed one game due to a sprained ankle and was limited to 69 yards the following week).

Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson, the 2016 Heisman winner, is third among Franchise voters this week. Jackson, who has 1,443 yards and 17 touchdowns rushing to go with 3,489 yards and 25 touchdowns passing, leads the nation in total offense (by 30 yards per game) and ranks fifth with 254 total points responsible for.

Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor, Penn State running back Saquon Barkley, Clemson quarterback Kelly Bryant and San Diego State running back Rashaad Penny also received votes in the final Franchise Heisman Watch.

The Franchise Heisman Watch

  1. QB Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma … 36 (13)
  2. RB Bryce Love, Stanford … 25
  3. QB Lamar Jackson, Louisville … 5
  4. RB Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin … 4
  5. RB Saquon Barkley, Penn State … 3
  6. QB Kelly Bryant, Clemson … 1
  7. RB Rashaad Penny, San Diego State … 1

Columns

Hoover wrote for the Tulsa World for 24 years before joining The Franchise, where he's now co-host of "Further Review" on The Franchise Tulsa (weekdays 12-3, fm107.9/am1270) . In his time at the World, Hoover won numerous writing and reporting awards, including in 2011 National Beat Writer of the Year from the Associated Press Sports Editors for his work covering the Oklahoma Sooners. Hoover also covered Oklahoma State, Arkansas, Oral Roberts and the NFL as a beat writer. From 2012 to 2016, Hoover was the World's lead sports columnist. As a columnist, Hoover won national awards in 2012 and 2014 from the National Athletic Trainers Association for reporting on sports medicine and in 2015 won first place in sports columns from the Oklahoma Society of Professional Journalists. After receiving a journalism degree from East Central University, Hoover worked at newspapers in Ada, Okmulgee, Tahlequah and Waynesville, Mo. He played football at Ada High School and grew up in North Pole, Alaska. Hoover and his family live in Broken Arrow.

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