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The easy pick would be Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson, the 2016 winner. But that’s no fun, and besides, returning Heisman winners face incredible pressure to duplicate — or play even better — in their follow-up act. We trust Jackson will have a solid season, but we will highlight others in our list of favorites.

Sam Darnold

QB, Southern California: This is my preseason pick. Darnold exploded onto the scene as a freshman and led the Trojans to a Rose Bowl victory over Penn State. Expectations are much higher this season, but he should put up big numbers on a team capable of making the playoff.

Baker Mayfield

QB, Oklahoma: Mayfield’s 2016 statistics make him a frontrunner. He led the nation in completion percentage (70.9) and yards per attempt (11.1) while throwing 40 touchdowns to only eight interceptions. He will produce plenty of highlights.

Saquon Barkley

RB, Penn State: The best running back in college enters with national buzz after leading the Nittany Lions’ revitalization. He shares the spotlight with quarterback Trace McSorley, but Barkley gives Penn State a 1-2 punch few offenses can match.

Jake Browning

QB, Washington: Browning will battle Darnold for top billing in the Pacific-12, but Browning’s production should stack up with contenders. He earned Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year honors last season as a sophomore after throwing 43 touchdowns.

Derrius Guice

RB, Louisiana State: Guice was LSU’s most productive running back last season, not Leonard Fournette. Guice rushed for 1,387 yards and 15 touchdowns. He is the focal point of the offense now.