Alabama running back Derrick Henry, Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson and Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey are the finalists for the Heisman Trophy.
The announcement came Monday night.
Henry and McCaffrey will be trying to break a streak of five straight quarterbacks winning college football’s top honor when the trophy is presented Saturday night in New York.
Mark Ingram of Alabama in 2009 was the last running back — and only Crimson Tide player — to win the Heisman. Since 2000, 13 of the 15 Heisman winners have been quarterbacks.
Among those missing out on a trip to New York City was Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield, LSU running back Leonard Fournette, who was the early season favorite, and Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds.
Henry seems to be the favorite in a Heisman race that tightened over championship weekend. He ran for 189 yards and a touchdown on 44 carries in the Alabama’s Southeastern Conference championship game victory against Florida on Saturday.
Later that night, McCaffrey had 461 all-purpose yards with touchdowns running, receiving and passing as Stanford beat Southern California in the Pac-12 title game and Watson had 420 total yards and accounted for five touchdowns in Clemson’s Atlantic Coast Conference championship game win against North Carolina.
Close Heisman voting has been uncommon in recent years. The last three winners — Marcus Mariota, Jameis Winston and Johnny Manziel — all won by comfortable margins.
The last time there was real suspense at the Heisman presentation was 2009, when Ingram received only 1 percent more of the vote than Stanford’s Toby Gerhart. By percentage, that ranks as the closest Heisman vote in history.