Heisman Top 10: Big Ten Heisman Contenders in 2016


8. Nebraska QB Tommy Armstrong

Mike Riley’s arrival last season brought a dramatic change in offensive scheme at Nebraska. Quarterback Tommy Armstrong experienced some growing pains, throwing 16 interceptions. But Armstrong also showed some real promise, throwing for more than 3,000 yards with 22 touchdowns.

Recruited to run a zone-read system, Armstrong offers a skill set that deviates considerably from some of the quarterbacks Riley coached at Oregon State who stood in the pocket like statues. Armstrong rushed for 400 yards and seven touchdowns a season ago, and offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf told ESPN.com’s Mitch Sherman that the plan in 2016 is for Armstrong to be even more explosive on the ground.

7. Northwestern RB Justin Jackson

2015 stands as one of the best seasons in Northwestern history, and running back Justin Jackson served as a cornerstone for the Wildcats’ success.

Jackson toted the rock an astounding 312 times last season. The only two players with more carries were Derrick Henry and Christian McCaffrey, the No. 1 and 2 vote-getters for the Heisman Trophy.

Obviously, Jackson’s already shouldering a Heisman-sized workload. The next step is parlaying that into Heisman-sized statistics. He rushed for a decent 1,418 yards, but needs to threaten 2,000 if he’s to contend for the top honor in the land. Northwestern also needs a boost offensively as a team to help get Jackson in the end zone more than five times.