Heisman hopefuls: Six finalists vie for college football's top honor

The year's six best college football players are in New York Saturday for their big night. The finalists for the 79th Heisman trophy are Jordan Lynch of Northern Illinois, Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M, AJ McCarron of Alabama, Tre Mason of Auburn, Andre Williams of Boston College and Jameis Winston of Florida State.

CBS Sports college football analyst and former NFL linebacker Brian Jones told the “CBS This Morning: Saturday” co-hosts that Winston is the overwhelming favorite.

“Let’s be honest, this is an offensive award, so defensive guys need not apply. Jameis Winston, if not for the off-the-field issues, he would win in a landslide and probably still will,” he said.

Jones said that while most people haven't heard of Lynch, he is still in the running because “this young man is fantastic.”

“He’s one of five quarterbacks to have at least 20 passing touchdowns and 20 rushing touchdowns,” he said. “He had three or four 200-yard rushing games at the quarterback position. They won four straight … They had a record 25 straight MAC wins until they lost in the MAC Championship versus Bowling Green.”

Last year Manziel was the first freshman ever to win the Heisman and he'd be the first player to win twice since Archie Griffin in 1975. Jones said that he is a “phenomenal” football player.

“His numbers – his passing numbers – are better than they were a season ago when he was the Heisman winner, so it’s good that he’s here because he’s had another fantastic year,” he said.

Meanwhile, Alabama had a stunning last-second upset loss against Auburn just two weeks ago, but Jones said it doesn’t kill McCarron's chances.

“He’s here because of a lifetime achievement award. You look at his records, the guy’s won three national titles … and he’s a fantastic football player as well,” he said. “He has had an incredible career, but the numbers they’re not, gaudy Heisman-like numbers.”

A big part of the Alabama upset was Auburn's Mason, and Jones told the co-hosts that he “has been outstanding as well.

“If you look at their offense, it’s been heavy run. Tre Mason last week during the SEC Championship game, over 300 yards rushing, and they pounded Alabama."

  • Shoshana Davis

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