Jabrill Peppers is now No. 2 in ESPN Heismanology and his odds in Vegas are skyrocketing

Submitted by Maizen on November 1st, 2016 at 12:55 PM

I have a feeling if Michigan runs the table and Peppers has big games against Ohio State and in the B1G championship he's going to win the award. Feldman and Mandel noted on their podcast this week that Lamar Jackson has really been stat padding in garbage time of games this year and with their schedule down the stretch (and the FSU game meaning less now that they are 5-3) he's in danger of losing his stranglehold in the race.

Each week, ESPN polls all of its Heisman Trophy voters and asks them to file a sample ballot. ESPN college football announcer Joe Tessitore reveals the top five candidates every week in “Heismanology.” Previously, Peppers came in at No. 3 behind Deshaun Watson and Lamar Jackson.

But this week, Peppers made a significant jump after another all-around effort. Peppers came in at No. 2 behind only Jackson.

Tessitore explained why Peppers got the bump.

“We have been tracking Jabrill Peppers the last few weeks calling him ‘the great divide candidate.’ Voters either put him first or second or leave him off the ballot entirely.” Tessitore said. “Not any longer with Peppers. He now appears on 79 percent of the ballots, so he takes the big jump to second.”


According to Bovada, the Heisman field is shrinking and Jabrill Peppers is gaining steam pic.twitter.com/Z2HJ23hEk6

— Ben Axelrod (@BenAxelrod) October 31, 2016


Mr Miggle

November 1st, 2016 at 1:26 PM ^

put up big numbers and his team had a very good season.

Woodson didn't put up big numbers, but once he started to get considered a serious contender he steadily gained support. He made big plays and was clearly our MVP, then had his signature moment against OSU. That it capped an undefeated regular season was critical. I doubt he wins otherwise.


November 1st, 2016 at 2:58 PM ^

Team success is a huge factor, and so is beating your rivals, but video game numbers are still probably the most weighted factor.  A more recent comparison is probably Robert Griffin winning in 2011 with absurd numbers despite playing for a non-traditional power and having a good but not great team season.

It's clear that Jackson is the favorite with a similar season as RG3 had in 2011, but Peppers has a chance, like Woodson, if he has huge games against OSU and in a potential Big10 title game.  This past weekend was ideal for him, obviously.  Several highlight worthy plays (the sack, the TD, the spin move in the backfield to turn TFL into a 6 yard gain, the 2pt return), an otherwise stacked stat sheet, and a win against a rival.  If he does that or more against OSU in a win, he'll have a real shot.


Hail Harbo

November 1st, 2016 at 1:53 PM ^

Pepper's is exceeding the standard set by Sir Charles.  Prior to Saturday's game Peppers had already far exceed the number of offensive touches Woodson had.  Peppers has already matched Woodson's TD total, and has equaled the number of PR for TD.  In other words, Peppers cannot possibly do less than Woodson this season, and with four games left to play, should reasonably exceed what Woodson accomplished.

But to the larger point, Woodson was a gimmick for Michigan's offense.  Woodson playing on offense was akin to being a trick play.  Peppers, on the other hand, is a legitimate part of the Michigan offense.  

What Peppers needs this is year is what Woodson received in 1997, voter education.  In 1997 there was a campaign to educate the voters about the HT, that it was about the most outstanding college football player, not the best college QB or best college wide receiver.  That education campaign meant Woodson was found to be the most outstanding college football player over future NLF HoFers Peyton Manning and Randy Moss.


November 1st, 2016 at 4:20 PM ^

Volume is not a good argument for Peppers. Shortly after Woodson, Champ Bailey played offense regularly for Georgia and participated in significantly more plays, compiling bigger stats. He didn't sniff the Heisman, because he had neither the spectacular highlights nor the huge plot-changing difference plays that Woodson did. 

Peppers could take 30 offensive snaps and it wouldn't help if he just chipped away in five-to-ten yard chunks without changing the game. To win, he needs gamechanging moments. Punt returns are one, as are looooong runs like the one at Rutgers, and defensive turnovers/stops (like the 4th down stop this past weekend). 


November 1st, 2016 at 3:09 PM ^

 He plays a different position on defense (LB) and offense (QB) so stats between him and Woodson can't really be compared.  He gets sacks and TFLs and rushing TDs, whereas Woodson got INT, PBUs, pick 6s.  

I think if it does have an effect, however miniscule, it might hurt that a Michigan defensive player is the last to win it and only one in a long time.  Might seem too "coincidental" to voters to do it again? Dunno, I don't really think it hurts or helps him meaningfully.


November 1st, 2016 at 2:45 PM ^

First, ESPN is leading the hype train for Peppers--the same ESPN we roundly criticize for over promoting people all year long, yet we are on board if it's one of our guys? Second, Peppers is the best athlete in college football--but that isn't the only criteria for the Heisman, nor is playing 10 positions. Those are awesome qualities, but the Heisman is about production, and that's why unless Jabril scores some more touchdowns in the big games coming up, he will not win. To be clear, Jabril is electric, awesome, will be in the top three players picked in the draft, and I agree with everything our coaches say about him--but so far IMO he doesn't have the production he will need to win. And I think ESPN is actually slightly over-promoting him. 


November 1st, 2016 at 2:59 PM ^

"The Heisman Memorial Trophy annually recognizes the outstanding college football player whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity. The winners of the trophy epitomize great ability combined with diligence, perseverance, and hard work."

Which part of this translates to "the Heisman is about production"?


November 1st, 2016 at 3:00 PM ^

"The Heisman Memorial Trophy annually recognizes the outstanding college football player whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity. The winners of the trophy epitomize great ability combined with diligence, perseverance, and hard work. The Heisman Trophy Trust's mission is to ensure the continuation and integrity of this award."

Regardless of the historical tendency of the voters to go for flashy statistics, pretty clearly the stated intention of the Trophy is not "about production". The comment that part of the strategy for Peppers to win the Heisman includes educating the voters about the real intention of the award is spot on.

ESPN may be over-promoting Peppers based on your definition of the award's purpose, but not based on the purpose stated by the Heisman Trustees.


November 1st, 2016 at 3:06 PM ^

Took the words out of my mouth.  I'd argue he's not even the best defensive player we have.  I think Lews is.  That said, you're totally correct.  Amazing athlete - probably the best in the college game right now... but just because you're versitle doesn't mean you should win the Heisman. 

I dig the press and it's good for the program, but you really hit the nail on the head.  I think if you take the maize and blue glasses off you'll see he really shouldn't win the Heisman.


November 1st, 2016 at 3:22 PM ^

he's one of the best special teams players in the country, and an insanely effective offensive player (averages 8 yards per touch and his usage as a decoy is arguably even more effective).  So...it's not just versatility, it's incredible effectiveness at all those different positions.

Maybe the question to ask is how much worse would a team be without said player? Very tough to say how much worse we'd be at defense we'd be without him.  We'd certainly be worse at offense but since he doesn't play that many plays, it's not a massive decline.  We'd be worse at ST but it's not a high leverage aspect of the game.

Louisville's offense would be a lot worse, probably, without Jackson.  So him playing such a high leverage position gives him the edge for sure, but Jabril is not just a defensive player and it's hard to quantify his contributions in all three phases. 

Sten Carlson

November 1st, 2016 at 3:30 PM ^

Again, another comment that makes me wonder about Michigan fans.  Maize and Blue glasses are what are causing many (myself included) to think that Peppers has a legitimate shot at being name the Outstanding College Football Player?  Ok, if you say so.  But to say he, "shouldn't win the Heisman" considering his body of work is as of yet incomplete is ludicrous, and to me, a bit sad. 

Sometimes I think Michigan fans try so hard not to seem like "Homers" that they tip the balance too far, IMO, and disparage their players and team like no other fan base I've seen.  Sure, take a "wait and see" attitude, or even say, "I doubt it ..." but to say he "shouldn't win" and if you think he should you're a delusional Homer is pretty sad, IMO.

I Like Burgers

November 1st, 2016 at 1:27 PM ^

Yeah, saying his odds are skyrocketing is a bit of a stretch.  He, along with Deshaun Watson, moved from 15/2 to 9/2 while Lamar Jackson stayed an overwhelming favorite at 1/3.

A more accurate description would be that Vegas sees it as a three-man race now with Jackson still the heavy favorite.


November 1st, 2016 at 1:03 PM ^

Sir Charles had one against OSU.  With everybody in the world watching he made the punt return in the game of the year to help us secure the B1G championship and the Rose Bowl berth.  

Peppers needs to do something like that and certainly he's capable.  If he has "a moment" against OSU and we win I think it's likely he wins the award.


November 1st, 2016 at 1:20 PM ^

Can you imagine if he wins it, and one of the things voters reference over and over in him doing so is his amazing run-back for a defensive two-point conversion against MSU? Basically, he will have won the award because Mink Dantorrio was trying to make a loss look less bad. Seriously, if that happens, I will stand shirtless and greased-up at the corner of Stadium and Main and touch myself (metaphorically, of course). It will be the greatest slap in the face to Sparty ever... 


November 1st, 2016 at 1:17 PM ^

Agreed, he's in position, but he definitely needs to do something on a big stage to remind people how versatile he is.  Even then it's gonna be tough.  Lamar Jackson's on pace for like 3,800 passing yards, 1,500 rushing yards, and almost 60 touchdowns.  Could set a record for most total TDs in a season.  I wouldn't say it's likely for Peppers even if he does do something like return a punt.


November 1st, 2016 at 1:21 PM ^

Is the heisman voting after the BIG champsionahip game? Regardless, heismans are won in November, and I am sure Harbaugh knows this and will do his part to put him in the best position to win. I think he going to go play on another level this month. This is going to so fun to watch


November 1st, 2016 at 3:25 PM ^

but he also needs Jackson and Louiville to stumble.  Jackson is so far ahead that the only way he loses it is if he has a couple bad games that cause Louisville to lose one or two more. A loss last Saturday would have been a start.  If he throws a pick to lose it instead of a TD to win it, it'd be a little more reasonable for Peppers right now.  But there is a huge gap currently.