football Edit

Heisman watch: Comparisons to past greats

Comparison: This might be a surprising comparison but we see a lot of Watson in former Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford. Each quarterback has a big, live arm (maybe Watson's arm is even sharper), they are tall, angular quarterbacks and they work well in the spread offense. Bradford, the 2008 Heisman winner, threw for 4,721 yards and 50 touchdowns at Oklahoma in his sophomore season beating out Texas QB Colt McCoy and Florida QB Tim Tebow.
Overview: Watson has completed 241 of 344 passes (70.1 percent) for 2,944 yards with 26 touchdowns and 10 interceptions for the top-ranked Tigers. The former five-star dual-threat QB has also rushed for 642 yards and six scores.
Ezekiel Elliott
Ohio State
Comparison: Darren McFadden, a standout at Arkansas, is slightly taller and a little faster but a comparison to Elliott makes sense since the two backs have similar athleticism and explosiveness. Elliott might even be able to bounce off tacklers better. McFadden was a five-star prospect and the second-best athlete out of Little Rock (Ark.) Oak Grove in the 2005 class and he had tremendous success with the Razorbacks, where he finished second in the 2006 and 2007 Heisman races behind Ohio State's Troy Smith and Tebow. McFadden had 1,830 yards and 16 TDs in his second Heisman chase.
Overview: Elliott has rushed 232 times for 1,458 yards and 17 touchdowns, averaging 6.3 yards per carry (slightly more than Henry) but less than the Heisman frontrunner with 132.5 yards per game.
Baker Mayfield
Comparison: To compare Mayfield to a former Texas quarterback might be blasphemy but if the shoe fits -- Colt McCoy. Mayfield and McCoy are both gritty winners, leaders, guys who never received the credit they deserved on the high school level and quarterbacks who shined when the lights came on. Both Mayfield, a three-star from Austin (Texas) Lake Travis, and McCoy, a three-star from Tuscola (Texas) Jim Ned, have decent arms but more than anything they're playmakers who can lead a football team to victories. McCoy finished second in the 2008 Heisman race and third in 2009.
Overview: Mayfield is completing about 69 percent of his passes (226 of 329) for 3,209 yards with 33 touchdowns and five picks so far this season. He has also rushed for 183 yards and six scores.
Leonard Fournette
Comparison: Fournette has received some incredible comparisons and there was discussion earlier this season if he could become the best RB ever in the SEC. That kind of talk has been tempered with recent LSU losses but how about this for a comparison -- former five-star Adrian Peterson, arguably the top overall prospect in the era. The two backs have a similar running style, they're both big and physical, can run between the tackles but can also bounce it outside and get down the field. As a freshman at Oklahoma, Peterson finished second in the Heisman race behind USC QB Matt Leinart despite smashing a bunch of records with 1,925 rushing yards on 339 carries.
Overview: With 1,582 rushing yards, Fournette still leads all FBS even though he has come down to Earth in the last few weeks. The former five-star running back also has 17 touchdowns, averages 6.6 yards per carry and more than 158 yards per outing.
Adam Gorney
National Recruiting Analyst
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