A Memo to East Coast Sports Writers: Rashaad Penny is INDEED a Heisman Finalist

Credit: MWC

After 12 weeks of college football, it is safe to say it has been a very exciting season overall.

For the San Diego State Aztecs, they stand at 9-2 overall, and 5-2 in the division.

They have very notable wins against two Pac-12 schools, Stanford and Arizona State. It has been a very successful season for the Aztecs in 2017.

Despite all their accomplishments this year, they unfortunately will miss out in the Mountain West Conference championship game, as Fresno State clinched the west division last week. The Aztecs have one regular season game remaining, hosting New Mexico this Friday.

With a win, the Aztecs will finish the season with a 10-2 record overall, their second straight season with double-digit wins. With that record and resume, the Aztecs will be in a good position to participate in a notable bowl game. My guess is they go to the Arizona Bowl in Tucson, Arizona.

2017 has been an exciting one, and Rashaad Penny has been debatably the most electric player in all of college football. He just secured his second Walker Camp National Offensive Player of the week award, after his performance against Nevada. He carried the ball 24 times for 222 yards and two rushing touchdowns, scored on a 70-yard punt return for a touchdown, and also took a 100-yard kickoff return for another touchdown. WOW. He compiled 429 all-purpose yards in the contest, the most in SDSU history, and the 9th most in FBS history.

Against Arizona State, he carried the ball 18 times for 216 yards, including a 95-yard touchdown run. He also had 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, a receiving touchdown, and 353 all-purpose yards.

Let’s look at some of Penny’s statistics compared to other running backs in all of FBS.

Penny has a large lead in all-purpose yards in the FBS.

All-Purpose Yards

Rashaad Penny – 2,462 all-purpose yards. (223.82 yards/game)

Saquon Barkley (Penn State) – 2,070 all-purpose yards. (188.18 yards/game)

Bryce Love (Stanford) – 1,756 all-purpose yards. (175.6 yards/game)

Love and Barkley have been getting constant Heisman Trophy consideration throughout the year. It is almost guaranteed one of the two, if not both, will be invited to New York as a finalist.

Credit: Times of San Diego

Now let’s look at the rushing leaders in FBS.

Rushing Leaders

Rashaad Penny – 1,824 yards

Bryce Love (Stanford) – 1,723 yards

Jonathon Taylor (Wisconsin) – 1,657 yards

Another statistic Penny leads the country in. Bryce Love has played in one less game than Penny, although their rushing yards per game only differs slightly.

Yards Per Game

Bryce Love – 172.3 rush yards/game

Rashaad Penny – 165.8 rush yards/game

Jonathon Taylor – 150.6 rush yards/game

Penny and Love have that category locked down by a wide margin.

Let’s look at scoring.

Scoring

Devin Singletary (Florida Atlantic) – 150 (25 TDs)

Rashaad Penny – 132 (22 TDs)

Saquon Barkley – 114 (19 TDs)

Rashaad Penny has had 17 rushing touchdowns (T-3rd in FBS), two kickoff return touchdowns, one punt return touchdown, and two receiving touchdowns. Penny does it from every aspect. He is near the top of the leaderboard in just about every category related to rushing, kick returning, and scoring.

Another thing to look at his yards per carry. Penny is ranked 8th in FBS with 7.21 yards per carry. Of the top eight in yards per carry, six are running backs, and Penny has over 100 rushes more than four of the seven ahead of him. He is the only one of the top eight in the category to even have at least 200 rushes. Averaging over seven yards a carry across 253 rushes is incredible. I mean simply just watch Penny play. He is electric, fast, and powerful.

(Credit: Eli Lerner’s Vlogs: Youtube.com)

Last season, we saw Donnel Pumphrey get snubbed from even an invitation to the Heisman ceremony. The all-time leading rusher, and the 2016 FBS leader in rushing yards, barely got any recognition from the Heisman committee. This year we have seen similar recognition with Rashaad Penny. At times his name has been posted underneath the Heisman race. It’s alarming to see his name completely left off some networks’ Heisman Trophy race.

He is the leader in rushing yards, leader in all-purpose yards, second in total touchdowns, third in rushing touchdowns, has three return touchdowns, four 200+ rushing games, nine 100+ rushing games, is a finalist for the Doak Walker award, and has won the Walker Camp National Offensive Player of the week award twice this season.

The east coast writers have notoriously been known to ignore the best player in FBS, if they reside on the west coast. Marshall Faulk and Gino Torretta anyone? It is debatably the biggest Heisman snub off all time. The writers and voters on the east coast need to wake up and stop ignoring the players on the west who absolutely deserve to receive recognition in the Heisman race.

Credit: AP Photo

Who cares if Penny plays for a Group of Five team. His statistics against the two Pac-12 teams they played: 18 carries, 216 yards, one rushing touchdown, one receiving touchdown, 99-yard kickoff return touchdown against Arizona State. Versus Stanford: 32 carries, 175 yards, one rushing touchdown.

Penny has already been snubbed as the Doak Walker Award finalist, which goes to the best running back in FBS. Chosen instead were Bryce Love, Saquon Barkley, and Jonathon Taylor, who all are mentioned above. Penny has put up better numbers than all three of those running backs in 2017 in many different categories. Although Love averages more rushing yards a game and per carry than Penny, Love doesn’t return any kickoffs or punts. Penny does, and he is debatably just as good, if not better, as Barkley in that aspect. Freshman Taylor has been amazing this year for Wisconsin, however Penny is above him on every single offensive leaderboard.

Penny was also left off the Maxwell award list, which goes to the best collegiate player of the year. On that list was Love, Barkley, and Baker Mayfield, the quarterback from Oklahoma. Mayfield has been quite possibly the best performer on the field this year, but his antics, character, and off the field behavior have been far from good.

The Heisman committee has the opportunity to not ignore Rashaad Penny, like the Doak Walker and the Maxwell award both did. Penny deserves an invitation to New York. So to those who have any impact on the Heisman Trophy voting, do your damn job, and give credit where credit is due.

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Grant Muenchow

Born and raised in San Diego. Undergrad at Cal State University, Northridge. Sports, Music, & Travel.


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