Heisman Trophy watch 2017

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The college football season starts sooner than you think. The first games are Aug. 26. Here’s an look at 21 potential names in the race for the 2017 Heisman Trophy, given annually to the most outstanding player in college football. (Players are listed in alphabetical order).

Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State, Junior

Barkley was a key part of Penn State's
(Credit: AP / Phoebe Sheehan)

Barkley was a key part of Penn State's Big Ten championship team last season, leading the conference in yards from scrimmage (1,898), total touchdowns (22) and rushing touchdowns (18) while finishing second in rushing yards (1,496).

J.T. Barrett, QB, Ohio State, Senior

As long as the Buckeyes remain in the
(Credit: AP / Jay LaPrete)

As long as the Buckeyes remain in the College Football Playoff conversation, Barrett (2,555 passing yards, 24 passing TDs, seven INTs, 845 rushing yards, nine rushing TDs in 2016) will be in the Heisman race.

Jake Browning, QB, Washington, Junior

Browning, who led the Huskies to the College
(Credit: AP / Joshua Bessex)

Browning, who led the Huskies to the College Football Playoff last season, finished sixth in Heisman voting after throwing for 3,430 yards, 43 touchdowns and nine interceptions and rushing for four scores.

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Shane Buechele, QB, Texas, Sophomore

Buechele threw for 2,958 yards, 21 TDs and
(Credit: AP / Ricardo B.Brazziell)

Buechele threw for 2,958 yards, 21 TDs and 11 INTs last year but could take a big leap forward season with Tom Herman as his head coach.

Nick Chubb, RB, Georgia, Senior

Chubb ran for 1,130 yards and eight TDs
(Credit: AP / John Bazemore)

Chubb ran for 1,130 yards and eight TDs last year in his first season back from a major knee injury.

Sam Darnold, QB, USC, Sophomore

USC went 9-1 after Darnold took the starting
(Credit: AP / Jae C. Hong)

USC went 9-1 after Darnold took the starting job in mid-September as a freshman. He finished the season with 3,086 passing yards 31 TDs and nine INTs.

Jacob Eason, QB, Georgia, Sophomore

Eason, a former five-star recruit, could garner some
(Credit: AP / JOHN ROARK)

Eason, a former five-star recruit, could garner some attention if he can improve on a freshman season in which he threw for 2,430 yards, 16 touchdowns and eight interceptions.

Nick Fitzgerald, QB, Mississippi State, Junior

Fitzgerald was solid as Dak Prescott's replacement, leading
(Credit: AP / Rogelio V. Solis)

Fitzgerald was solid as Dak Prescott's replacement, leading the SEC in total offensive yards (3,798), rushing touchdowns (16) and 100-yard rushing games (eight) to go with his 2,423 passing yards and 21 passing TDs.

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Deondre Francois, QB, Florida State, Sophomore

Francois led all freshmen quarterbacks with 3,350 passing
(Credit: AP / Karl B DeBlaker)

Francois led all freshmen quarterbacks with 3,350 passing yards in 2016 with a 20-7 touchdown-to-interception ratio and five rushing TDs.

Royce Freeman, RB, Oregon, Senior

Freeman is a powerful runner who rushed for
(Credit: AP / Andy Nelson)

Freeman is a powerful runner who rushed for 1,836 yards and 17 TDs in 2015 but suffered a down year in 2016 (945 yards, nine TDs).

Derrius Guice, RB, LSU, Junior

LSU's backfield shouldn't miss a beat with Guice
(Credit: AP / Hilary Scheinuk)

LSU's backfield shouldn't miss a beat with Guice (1,387 rushing yards, 15 rushing TDs) replacing former Heisman contender Leonard Fournette.

Jalen Hurts, QB, Alabama, Sophomore

The dual-threat Hurts threw for 2,780 yards, 23
(Credit: AP / Chris O'Meara)

The dual-threat Hurts threw for 2,780 yards, 23 touchdowns and nine interceptions and rushed for 954 yards and 13 more scores as a freshman in 2016.

Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville, Junior

The Cardinals' electrifying quarterback will try to repeat
(Credit: Getty Images / Andy Lyons)

The Cardinals' electrifying quarterback will try to repeat as Heisman winner. Jackson finished with 3,543 passing yards, 30 passing touchdowns, 1,571 rushing yards, 21 rushing touchdowns and seemingly one or two highlight-reel plays per week.

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Derwin James, S, Florida State, Sophomore

Yes, we know defenders have almost no shot
(Credit: AP / Joe Rondone)

Yes, we know defenders have almost no shot at actually winning the Heisman. If there is one player who could buck that trend this year, it's James, the Seminoles' ultra-versatile defender who missed nearly all of 2016 with a torn meniscus.

Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma, Senior

Mayfield finished third in last year's Heisman voting
(Credit: Getty Images / Brett Deering)

Mayfield finished third in last year's Heisman voting after taking fourth place in 2015. He completed 70.9 percent of his passes in 2016 for 3,965 yards, 40 touchdowns and eight interceptions while adding six rushing scores.

Trace McSorley, QB, Penn State, Junior

McSorley (3,614 passing yards, 29 passing TDs, eight
(Credit: AP / Phoebe Sheehan)

McSorley (3,614 passing yards, 29 passing TDs, eight INTs, 365 rushing yards, seven rushing TDs) led Penn State to an 11-3 record and the Big Ten championship last season.

Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA, Junior

Rosen struggled before undergoing shoulder surgery in November,
(Credit: AP / Ross D. Franklin)

Rosen struggled before undergoing shoulder surgery in November, but a new offensive coordinator may be just what he needs to get back to get back to how he played during his breakout freshman season (3,669 yards, 23 TDs, 11 INTs).

Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State, Senior

Rudolph was only the player in the country
(Credit: AP / Sue Ogrocki)

Rudolph was only the player in the country last year to have at least 4,000 passing yards and less than five interceptions.

Bo Scarbrough, RB, Alabama, Junior

Scarbrough rushed for 283 yards and four touchdowns
(Credit: Getty Images / Kevin C. Cox)

Scarbrough rushed for 283 yards and four touchdowns in two College Football Playoff games and at 6-2, 232 pounds, is reminiscent of the Crimson Tide's most recent Heisman winner: Derrick Henry.

James Washington, WR, Oklahoma State, Senior

Mason Rudolph's favorite target had 1,380 receiving yards
(Credit: AP / Eric Gay)

Mason Rudolph's favorite target had 1,380 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns last year and could be the third receiver since 2014 to be a finalist.

Mike Weber, RB, Ohio State, Sophomore

Weber (1,096 rushing yards, nine TDs) has drawn
(Credit: AP / Jay LaPrete)

Weber (1,096 rushing yards, nine TDs) has drawn some comparisons to former Buckeye Ezekiel Elliott with his well-rounded playing style.

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