Jonathon Brooks is the best Heisman contender on the team
Texas’ best player in the win over Kansas last weekend was redshirt sophomore running back Jonathon Brooks. The breakout third-year back rushed for a career-high 217 yards (with 240 total yards from scrimmage) and two touchdowns in the 26-point win over Kansas in Week 5.
Brooks is on a tear in the last three games. He’s had a huge part in Texas winning the last three games, especially when he shouldered the load on offense when the Longhorns weren’t converting on many opportunities in the first 35 minutes against the Jayhawks over the weekend.
Brooks made a huge play for the Longhorns when he rushed for a 54-yard touchdown early in the second half. That wound up being the game-winning score for the Longhorns.
His efforts wound up helping Texas to a whopping 336 rushing yards as a team against Kansas, which is tied for the third most in a single game in the Sark era on the 40.
While there was ample respect for Brooks’ ability based on what he showed in limited reps the last two seasons, I don’t think many people envisioned him having this type of start to Big 12 play for the Longhorns. He’s emerged as the most productive running back in the Big 12 this season, which was massive to help Texas fill the gaping void in the backfield left by the departure of the standout RB duo of Bijan Robinson and Roschon Johnson.
In fact, Brooks leads all Big 12 running backs in rushing yards this season with 596, which is also good for third in the FBS. He also leads all Big 12 running backs in rushing touchdowns this season with five.
Brooks has filled the role of the bell cow back that Sark so famously utilizes in his offensive scheme. He’s well on his way to continuing Sark’s streak of 1,000-yard running back seasons, as Brooks is averaging around 120 rushing yards per game and just over one touchdown.
Not only has Brooks been imperative to the Longhorns’ offense this season, but he’s emerged as one of the most effective and efficient running backs in the Power Five.
I know Ewers is the name most commonly mentioned among Texas’ Heisman contenders this season, and rightly so. Ewers is off to a great start this season after transforming his game and leadership ability during the offseason. But Brooks should be getting more consideration for the honors after what he’s done against solid competition early this season.
He’s posted insane rushing stats (ranking top five in the Power Five among RBs in rushing yards, yards per carry, and rushing touchdowns) while Texas has faced the 13th toughest schedule in the FBS (according to the ESPN FPI).
You won’t find Brooks’ name among the candidates listed in most Heisman odds pools at this point of the season, which is pretty crazy given his production in the last few weeks. But Brooks has the makings of a dark horse Heisman contender if he keeps producing at the level he has for the Longhorns in the last three games.
Brooks leads all Power Five running backs (minimum 60 rushing attempts) in rushing grade this season.
Texas also looks to be a national contender this season, which is necessary to give a player like Brooks the platform he needs to garner real Heisman hype.