Mandel's Heisman Top 5: Nick Chubb has one man to beat after Week 3

Only once in the past nine seasons has a running back won the Heisman (Mark Ingram in 2009), but this season's brightest stars so far play that position.

1. Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU. As I wrote right after the game, it's not the stats that tell the story about Fournette (though 387 yards and six touchdowns in two conference games is a heck of a start). Much like Reggie Bush in 2005, I find myself constantly marveling at the aesthetics of Fournette's big runs.

2. Nick Chubb, RB, Georgia. The sophomore had another big day in Georgia's rout of South Carolina, racking up 159 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries. Sharing the carries with Sony Michel, he only has 56 attempts -- but he's averaging 8.4 yards per carry.

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3. Paul Perkins, RB, UCLA. The guy continues to fly under the radar despite the fact he led the Pac-12 in rushing last season and appears well on his way to doing the same. He gashed top-20 foe BYU for 219 yards on 26 carries.

4. Trevone Boykin, QB, TCU. After a quiet opener against Minnesota, Boykin has started putting up the video game numbers we expected, going 21-of-30 for 454 yards and five touchdowns and rushing for another against SMU.

5. Jordan Howard, RB, Indiana. When UAB disbanded its program last November, its best player found his way to Bloomington. After shredding Western Kentucky for 203 yards on 31 carries, Howard is already at 507 for the season.

Stewart Mandel is a senior college sports columnist for He covered college football and basketball for 15 years at Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter @slmandel and Facebook. Send emails and Mailbag questions to