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Jabrill Peppers would cast Heisman vote for Deshaun Watson

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Heisman Trophy finalist Jabrill Peppers of Michigan doesn't have a vote for college football's biggest individual honor, but if he did, he wouldn't even put his own name at the top of the ballot.

2016 HEISMAN TROPHY


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He would instead give it to Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson over Louisville QB Lamar Jackson, Peppers told The Dan Patrick Show on Thursday, in part because Watson led the Tigers to a win over Jackson's Cardinals in October.

"Since (Watson) won that game (against Louisville), I would probably give him my vote," Peppers said. "Whenever you have two Heisman finalists facing one another -- it was a very, very good game -- but at the end of the day, Deshaun Watson still came away with the victory. That's who I'd definitely give my vote to, even though you can't knock what Lamar Jackson has done."

Peppers, Watson, Jackson and Oklahoma teammates Baker Mayfield and Dede Westbrook are the five finalists for the award, with Jackson considered the favorite to win. Peppers, considered a longshot, would be only the second player who played primarily on defense to win the Heisman. Former Michigan star CB Charles Woodson won the Heisman in 1997. This year's winner will be announced on Saturday night in New York at the Downtown Athletic Club.

The head-to-head win Watson holds over Jackson could weigh in the minds of voters, as it does for Peppers. Clemson topped Louisville, 42-36, in October, with Watson passing for 306 yards and five touchdowns, with 91 rushing yards. Watson also threw three interceptions. In what was Louisville's first loss of the season, Jackson threw for 295 yards and ran for 162.

Peppers isn't the only Heisman finalist willing to put someone else's candidacy above his own. Mayfield has endorsed Westbrook, his top receiving target, for the Heisman.

Patrick also asked Peppers whether he intended to apply for 2017 draft eligibility, but Peppers said he hadn't yet decided. As one of the top underclassmen in college football, the third-year sophomore has until a Jan. 16 deadline to apply for early draft entry.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.

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