FSU's standout running back Dalvin Cook may well be the most explosive player in college football. But he won't be in New York City to be recognized as such. The Heisman finalists were just announced, and they consist of Alabama's Derrick Henry, Clemson's Deshaun Watson, and Stanford's Christian McCaffrey.
Cook was a noticeable omission due to his big-play ability throughout the season. He ran for 150.73 yards per game this year against defenses tougher than those faced by Henry, the current favorite to win the award. Henry's 152.77 rushing yards per game came on roughly seven more carries per contest, which helps explain how Cook averaged a full two yards more per rush than Henry (7.86 to 5.86) this year.
Cook's explosiveness and penchant for big plays trump Henry's across the board. Cook had more rushes of 20+ yards, 30+ yards, 40+ yards, 50+ yards, 60+ yards, and 70+ yards than Henry, and Cook had a rush over 80 yards as well (Henry did not).
And Cook performed best when it mattered most. Against FBS teams with a winning record, Cook averaged a nation's best 194.33 yards per game (8.15 YPC) to Henry's 159.5 (5.89 YPC). I haven't mentioned McCaffrey because, frankly, he can't touch Cook in any of the aforementioned categories, as the former's impressive all-purpose numbers are bolstered by his role as a kick returner. McCaffrey also has just eight rushing scores-- compared to Cook's 18.