4. FLORIDA STATE RB DALVIN COOK
Another 2015 standout whose statistics deserved a long look from Heisman voters, Dalvin Cook trucks into his junior season fresh from putting up 1,691 yards rushing and 19 touchdowns, with another 244 yards and one score off receptions. Even more impressive, Cook did so playing on an injured hamstring much of the season.
Cook went into Florida State’s Peach Bowl loss leading the nation in yards per carry among ball-carriers with at least 100 totes. Sean Maguire’s injury and a solid defensive game-plan by Houston limited Cook in the finale, but an offseason with a clearer quarterback picture for the Seminoles should bolster Cook’s 2016 Heisman case.
3. STANFORD RB CHRISTIAN McCAFFREY
Some might argue — quite convincingly — that Christian McCaffrey deserved to win the 2015 Heisman Trophy. The do-everything Stanford dynamo set an NCAA record for all-purpose, and really drove home the impact of his season by putting forth with his two best games in the Pac-12 Championship and the Rose Bowl Game.
McCaffrey almost assuredly won’t match his 2015 output of touchdowns via the run, pass, reception, kickoff return and punt return. That quintfecta’s been achieved only twice before in college football history, by Reggie Bush in 2005 and C.J. Spiller in 2009.
For McCaffrey to again be in the mix for the 2016 Heisman, he’ll have to get those goal-line touches that often went to teammate Remound Wright. With Stanford breaking in a new quarterback, McCaffrey should be leaned on even more in 2016.