The Heisman Trophy ceremony might be a long ways out, but it’s never too early to start looking at the Heisman Trophy. It also isn’t too early to look in a bet if you spot value. An early bet on Joe Burrow would have netted a nice prize if you were lucky enough to get in on him. He wasn’t anywhere near the top, or considered by many people to win the Heisman Trophy. Even the experts weren’t giving Burrow much credit early on.
As he continued to pile on the touchdowns and lead the LSU Tigers through their schedule, it was impossible not to take note of Burrow. By the time the day came to announce a Heisman winner, it was a foregone conclusion that Burrow was going to win. Anyone that follows college football could have told you who was going to win the Heisman.
Joe Burrow held the edge over Jalen Hurts, Justin Fields, and Chase Young to win the annual award given to the best college football player. The other players who went to the Heisman Trophy ceremony were merely there for the party and photo opts. Everyone knew what was going to happen. So, the question is going into 2020, can a surprise contender with long odds emerge to win again?
There’s going to be one or two players from that group that are in Heisman discussions who people are ignoring at the moment. They’ll likely continue to ignore them until they begin to pile on the numbers. For some guys, they may never get attention until December, though. Take for instance running back Kenneth Gainwell of Memphis.
He is going to put up monster numbers against inferior competition in the AAC, though you’re likely not going to hear much from the media. That said, a running back like Rashaad Penny ran over defenses when he was with San Diego State and the Heisman committee passed over on giving him an invite to New York. There was a bit of controversy regarding that and I could see a similar fate for Gainwell.
Two favorites to win the Heisman Trophy last season will be back in college for the 2020 campaign. Trevor Lawrence, who came up short against Burrow and LSU in the National Championship, is going to be the most talked about college football player. He already has been a focal point, but he’s going into the most important season of his collegiate career.
It’s an NFL draft prep year for Lawrence, as he looks to put his name on the No. 1 pick in the 2021 draft. If Lawrence doesn’t win the Heisman, it may be irrelevant with regard to the NFL, though. He looks like the best Day 1 NFL quarterback, and probably could have skipped this year and gone to the NFL and played well if it wasn’t for eligibility rules.
His greatest threat when it comes to the Heisman Trophy is going to be Justin Fields from Ohio State. Between Lawrence and Fields, we have out front-runners to win the Heisman Trophy in 2021. We’ll see if the next Joe Burrow can play spoiler, though. Head below for an early look at Heisman Trophy odds and our Heisman prediction.
Trevor Lawrence or bust?
2020 Heisman Trophy Winner
Justin Fields +400
Trevor Lawrence +400
Kedon Slovis +1000
Spencer Rattler +1000
Sam Ehlinger +1200
Mac Jones +1400
Chuba Hubbard +1600
Jamie Newman +1600
— BetOnline.ag (@betonline_ag) February 28, 2020
Justin Fields (QB) – Ohio State Buckeyes
Depending which sportsbook you’re looking at, either Trevor Lawrence or Justin Fields is the favorite to win the Heisman Trophy. There can’t be any arguments made there. Lawrence and Fields will likely be neck and neck in the betting odds until we start playing meaningful games deep in the season. It’s just about a guarantee that Fields is going to put up jaw dropping numbers again. He put up insane numbers in the Big Ten and is going to have more weapons at his disposal in 2020.
Fields passed for 3,273 yards with 41 touchdowns and just 3 interceptions. His ability to avoid turning the ball over had to be the most impressive aspect of his game. It’s one of the most important attributes when NFL scouts are looking at a quarterback. Poor decisions in the NFL add up to losses. Quarterbacks can get away with that in college here and there, especially on a team like the Buckeyes who can afford one mistake and still win. The NFL isn’t so forgiving. Given that Fields has proven that he isn’t a turnover machine gives him an advantage.
Along with Fields’ ability in the pocket, he can run with the football and is a perfect QB for the RPO offense at Ohio State. Fields rushed for 484 yards and scored 10 touchdowns on the ground to add to his total of 51 all-purpose TD’s. And note that this was done in his first season as a starting quarterback. Fields sat on the bench at Georgia as the backup to Jake Fromm in 2018. Upon his transfer to Ohio State, Fields reached his full potential in Columbus.
Could we see even more from Fields in 2020? It’s possible that the Ohio State offense looks even sharper. Former Oklahoma Sooner, Trey Sermon, is heading to Columbus as a graduate transfer. He wasn’t the No. 1 running back in Norman, and still rushed for 385 yards on 7.1 yards a pop. Give him more carries and Sermon is going to put up huge numbers, allowing Fields to go to work while defenses stress about the runners in the backfield.
Ohio State will win a lot of games and Fields is going to put up a lot of points. Wins and statistics usually have to go hand in hand to win the Heisman Trophy. Both are going to come to fruition in 2020. It didn’t feel like we were watching a player who was making his debut as a starter last season. Fields looks like a safe choice to win the Heisman.
Trevor Lawrence (QB) – Clemson Tigers
The projected No. 1 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft is naturally a Heisman favorite for the upcoming season. He was also a Heisman candidate going into last season, but ultimately finished 7th in voting. Considering Lawrence’s numbers didn’t improve from the previous season, and his team didn’t win the National Championship like the previous season, I’d say it wasn’t what Clemson or Lawrence envisioned. Having said that, he did nothing to hurt his draft stock and is the most attractive NFL prospect at quarterback.
Lawrence connected for 30 touchdowns and 4 interceptions with a completion percentage of 65.2 as a freshman. Last season as a sophomore, Lawrence threw 36 touchdowns and 8 interceptions with a completion percentage of 65.8. He added more touchdowns, but tacking on four more interceptions than his freshman season wasn’t ideal. Lawrence ran with the ball a lot more, though. He rushed for 563 yards and 9 touchdowns as opposed to 177 yards and a touchdown the year prior.
He will miss one of his favorite targets in the passing game in 2020. Tee Higgins, the most dangerous wide receiver at Clemson, will be catching passes from an NFL quarterback this fall. Somebody will step up to replace Higgins, but it might take a minute for Lawrence to find a groove. Lawrence is going to continue to impress and play like a Heisman candidate, though. He’s going to be invited to New York and going to be one of the favorites to have his name called.
Numbers wise Lawrence is likely going to have a similar season again. And all that got him 7th in Heisman voting a season ago. If he played at Ohio State, the numbers would skyrocket in their offense. By that alone, Fields is going to have an advantage on Lawrence. If Ohio State and Clemson have similar seasons, the tiebreaker will likely go to Fields when the numbers are broken down. I give the edge to Fields over Lawrence. If this was about who is going to have more success in the NFL, I’d go with Lawrence without hesitation.
Spencer Rattler (QB) – Oklahoma Sooners
This might be your first introduction to Spencer Rattler. Jalen Hurts will be hoping to make an NFL team in 2020, so that leaves a void at quarterback for Oklahoma. The Sooners always find a way to replace a star quarterback in Norman. They replaced Baker Mayfield with Kyler Murray and then went the transfer route again, as they landed Hurts from Alabama. All three went to Oklahoma after playing at different schools previously. Rattler is going to break the mold, as he was recruited by Oklahoma originally and is positioned to be their starter in 2020.
You put any Oklahoma quarterback up on the board to win the Heisman Trophy and they’re going to attract money. They have developed into a quarterback factory and continually find guys to put up big numbers. Maybe other than the Blake Bell era, Oklahoma has plugged quarterbacks into their system since Sam Bradford was in Norman. and they always find a way to produce. In other words, Rattler will get Heisman money at the sportsbooks. The public is well aware that Oklahoma knows how to get numbers for their QB.
Rattler chose Oklahoma over USC in 2017. He was a highly sought-after 5-star recruit out of Arizona at the time, who also had an offer from Alabama. Rattler was the top QB in the state and ranked 13th nationally. Smart choice to go to Oklahoma, where Lincoln Riley will likely develop him into the next best thing in Norman. That said, it’s his first season as a starter, and we’re not expecting him to do more than Hurts last season. Hurts fell short for the Heisman, so it makes sense that Rattler will, too.
This isn’t to say that Rattler isn’t a player to keep an eye on. Fields and Lawrence are going to be out of the way going into the 2021 season. With them out of the picture, the door is going to be wide open for Rattler to win the Heisman next season. Unless they get injured in 2020, Rattler is going to have an uphill battle to the Heisman Trophy in the upcoming season.
Sam Ehlinger (QB) – Texas Longhorns
I had a lot of expectations for Sam Ehlinger and the Texas Longhorns in 2019. I’m not the only one. After the Longhorns manhandled Georgia in the Sugar Bowl, there was some hope in Austin that Texas football was back. Ehlinger said Texas was back following the 28-21 win over the Bulldogs, but he and his Longhorns were playing a team that didn’t care to be there.
Texas came down to earth when the regular season began this past season. They finished with a record of 8-5, failing to beat LSU, Oklahoma, TCU, Iowa State, and Baylor. Nope, Texas football wasn’t back at all. It was just back to being a mediocre football team that can’t beat the better teams like in the Vince Young era.
Ehlinger passed for 32 touchdowns and 10 interceptions on 65.2% completions in 2019. He also ran for 662 yards and 7 touchdowns on the ground. This was about the same kind of production from the previous season. Ehlinger threw 25 touchdowns with 5 interceptions the previous season. He threw 7 more touchdowns, though his interceptions increased doubly. He’s not much of a speedy runner, but for a guy that doesn’t have the fastest wheels, Ehlinger covers a lot of ground. Tim Tebow found yards on the ground being tough and difficult to bring down. Ehlinger is a similar mold when he puts his head down and runs.
Texas might be better than their 8-5 record from last season, but I think we already know what we’re going to get from Ehlinger. The way I see it, Ehlinger has reached his peak and we’re not going to see him blow anyone away in 2020. He’s going to be good, just not Heisman good, and doesn’t deserve to be talked about with Lawrence and Fields. Ehlinger will attract money because Texas has a lot of public support. However, you should probably look elsewhere if you want a good value bet to win the Heisman.
Jamie Newman (QB) – Georgia Bulldogs
Somebody has to replace Jake Fromm, and Georgia is circling Jamie Newman to be the next starting quarterback at Georgia. Newman is a Wake Forest transfer who will go to Athens as a grad transfer. He was an underrated quarterback at Wake Forest, and didn’t get much attention as a Demon Deacon. Newman elevated a program that didn’t have the most talent. Because of him Wake Forest had a solid season with a record of 8-5. For Wake Forest that’s a successful season.
Newman is going to have a lot more weapons to work with at Georgia than he did at Wake Forest. The Bulldogs have some promising young receivers coming up through the pipeline. We got a sneak peak of George Pickens in the Sugar Bowl against Baylor. Pickens destroyed a good Baylor defense, as he caught 12 balls for 175 yards and a touchdown. The freshman was given the opportunity to be the go-to receiver for the first time in his career with others taking the bowl game off. Expect Pickens to take the next leap forward, and that should benefit Newman greatly.
But back to Newman, who made the most out of his situation with 3-star talent around him at Wake Forest. Newman passed for 26 touchdowns and 11 interceptions on 60.9% completions. He is a bit of a scrambler, but prefers to stay in the pocket. Newman rushed for 180 yards and 6 touchdowns to add to his resume. That was his first season as the full-time starting quarterback from the summer to the fall.
A lot is going to be asked of him in Athens, and the competition level goes up considerably from the ACC to the SEC. However, he is going to benefit playing on a solid all-around offense. Georgia will stick to their identity and run the football hard. Newman should be solid, but not enough to threaten Lawrence or Fields for the Heisman. I want more than +1400 to consider betting Newman.
A guy that is currently outside of the top-5 in Heisman odds at BetOnline, but I think is going to have a monster season is Chubba Hubbard of Oklahoma State. He already did last season and could have easily won the Heisman if he played on another team. However, I believe he will finally get the attention and respect he deserves in 2020.
The Canadian will be back in the saddle after rushing for 2,094 yards and 21 touchdowns for an average of 6.4 yards per carry in 2019. He is on the Team Canada track team for good reason. Hubbard, who currently has +1600 odds, is a decent enough outsider to win the Heisman. If you’re looking for a much longer shot, maybe consider taking a look at Purdue wide receiver, Rondale Moore.
After an electric freshman season that saw Moore go for 1,258 receiving yards with 12 touchdowns, including 213 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns, Moore went into his sophomore campaign with plenty of hype. He wasn’t healthy, though, and only played in four games. When he was playing, Moore was playing injured for the most part. If he can stay healthy, Moore is definitely going to be a factor in the Big Ten. At +6600 odds, Moore is probably worth a sprinkle.
Having said all that, the most likely scenario is that Justin Fields is going to be your Heisman winner. It’s between him and Lawrence, with Fields likely getting the edge because of the staggering numbers he’ll pile up in that Ohio State offense again. Lawrence is the better NFL prospect, but expect the Heisman Trophy to go to the Buckeye.