Man, what a week in college football. #4 Alabama proved they belonged with a dominating win over #2 LSU while perennial Cinderella #13 Memphis got destroyed by Navy. Unbeatens like #7 Michigan State, #8 TCU, and #24 Toledo were upset. While the rankings became clearer, the race for the Heisman trophy became murkier than ever. If you asked anyone last week, the frontrunner was LSU sophomore sensation Leonard Fournette. Fournette ran for 200 plus yards in three straight games and reached 1,000 yards in just 5 games. He was a near lock for the award, but his horrific performance against Alabama may have knocked him out of the race. Fournette looked incredibly mortal, running for 31 yards on 19 carries and a garbage time touchdown against Alabama’s stout defensive front, dwindling his Heisman chances. TCU QB Trevone Boykin and Memphis’s Paxton Lynch did the same, with Boykin throwing 4 interceptions in a loss to Oklahoma State, and Lynch’s Tigers getting blown out by Navy.
In the midst of all of this chaos, Baylor WR Corey Coleman has stayed productive and consistent. Of course, that is undervaluing his incredible season, one of the best in college football history. Coleman, who was number one on NFL.com’s “College Football's Most Freakish Athletes” during the offseason, has backed up that label with spectacular play, and deserves to be the frontrunner to the Heisman trophy. Coleman’s speed, route running skills, explosiveness, work ethic and sticky hands have earned him 58 catches, 1178 yards and 20 touchdowns through 8 games this year. Coleman is on pace to score over 30 touchdowns this year, more than the NCAA record of 27, and ten times the amount that Notre Dame WR Tim Brown had when he won the Heisman in 1987. Only 14 teams in college football are averaging more touchdowns per game than Coleman himself. The University of Texas has fewer passing touchdowns combined this year and last year than Coleman, this year alone.
Despite this, there was talk that the loss of Baylor QB Seth Russell for the season would bring Coleman's production back down to earth, but the change at QB ultimately didn’t matter at all. Against Kansas State this week, Coleman caught 11 balls for 216 yards and 2 touchdowns. After the game, in which he caught an 81 yard TD, Coleman was averaging just above 20 yards a catch, and 5.16 yards per route run. To put it simply, every time he runs a route, he averages a 5 yard gain. He has also been targeted on 38.5 percent of Baylor’s passing plays. These are some incredible stats. Opposing defenses know how good he has been, and they have been aggressively trying to hold him in check, but they simply cannot stop the guy. After Coleman destroyed the West Virginia defense, WVU coach Dana Holgorsen said that "(Coleman is) the best player in college football. You can put me on record with that.” In any sport, you rarely hear high praise from a rival coach after the player gashes his secondary, but that’s how special this kid is.
While only two receivers have ever won the Heisman, Tim Brown and Desmond Howard, it is abundantly clear that Coleman has earned the right to strike a pose at the end of the season. But, recent history concludes he probably won’t, simply because of the dominant quarterbacks and running backs in college football today. However, it would be a crime if he is robbed of the award because of an old trend. So listen up, Heisman voters. Corey Coleman is here, and he deserves your vote for college football's most prestigious award.