The Heisman Trophy is the most prodigious award in all of College Football, being gifted to the most outstanding player that embodies excellence and diligence in all aspects of life. This trophy also coincides with winning and team success. For the past two seasons, the Heisman Trophy has been captured by an Oklahoma Sooners Quarterback, Baker Mayfield in 2017 and Kyler Murray in 2018. Each of these individuals was also taken #1 in the ensuing NFL Draft following their Heisman season.
We took a look at which five 2019 candidates could follow a similar path to these Sooners.
Dark Horse Candidates:
The following players are poised to put up huge numbers in 2019 but, did not make their way into our top 5.
- Oklahoma QB Jalen Hurts
- Wisconson RB Johnathan Taylor
- Nebraska QB Adrian Martinez
- Ohio State QB Justin Fields
- Ohio State DL Chase Young
Each of these players has a chance to make a run at the Heisman Trophy. Hurts will be joining a new program that will be handing him the offensive after a few years of uncertainty and competition held him back in Alabama. RB Johnathan Taylor had a huge 2018 season with upwards of 2000 yards and will be one of the more dominant backs this season. Fields and Martinez will battle at the top of the Big 10 and will both put up big numbers. Martinez will be building off a strong 2018, in which he completed 64% of his passes and had 25 total touchdowns. Fields will be in his first year taking over for Dwayne Haskins but, will also have Urban Meyer by his side. It is very rare that we see a defensive player take home this honor but, Chase Young is one of the best defensive players in the nation and will likely put up huge sack totals this season.
#5. Oregon QB Justin Herbert
Herbert made a tremendous jump in his Junior season, being able to start 13 games and throwing for an impressive 3151 yards, 29 touchdowns, and only 8 interceptions, leading the Ducks to a 9-4 record. He was regarded as a top prospect before making the decision to stay at Oregon for another season, a decision that shook up the next two NFL drafts. Herbert was being targeted by QB needy teams, like the NY Giants, and will only look to improve his draft stock with a solid 2019. The Oregon star is currently ranked highly amongst the top prospects in college football. Mel Kiper has him ranked at #6 on his Big Board while Todd McShay listed him at #20 in his latest rankings. Herbert will look to build on a stellar junior campaign while his Ducks will be competing at the top of the Pac-12 Conference once again.
#4. Texas QB Sam Ehlinger
Texas Longhorns QB Sam Ehlinger has made news in recent months because of his opinion about the mistreatment of college athletes and tweets that were made. Although not everybody agrees with his tweets and outspoken behavior, there is no denying his talent on the football field. Ehlinger had a huge 2018 season in which he threw for 3,292 yards on 64.7%, and had 25 touchdowns compared to just 5 interceptions. The Longhorns finished 10-4, this was good for 2nd in the Big 12. Ehlinger had a lot to do with the Longhorns success, leading them to victories over ranked opponents like USC, TCU, Oklahoma, and Iowa State, who were all top 25 teams at the time. He will look to put up big numbers and capture quality wins once again in 2019, making him a potential Heisman candidate.
#3. Jake Fromm QB Georgia
Jake Fromm was regarded by many to be NFL-ready after only two years at the University of Georgia. He has decided to stay for another season, inserting himself into the Heisman conversation. Fromm had back to back seasons with 2500+ yards passing and will only continue to improve. In the two years, he has 54 combined touchdowns, compared to just 13 interceptions. He brings to the table reliability and leadership, while also possessing a clutch trait and can lead big-time drives late in games. Fromm gets overlooked at times because of other rising Quarterbacks (see #1 & 2) but, will be right up there with the elite signal callers in the nation when 2019 comes around. Fromm and his Bulldogs will be one of the elite teams and will be battling amongst the best programs in the SEC. Putting up big numbers against the elite competition will only help Fromm’s chances of taking him college football’s most outstanding award.
#2. Tua Tagovailia QB Alabama
Tua is a no-brainer to be on this list, it was just a matter of where he would rank amongst the best QBs in college football. After bursting on the scene late in 2017, Tagovailia set the NCAA on fire last year. He has thrown for a whopping 54 touchdowns as opposed to only 8 interceptions since taking over for Jalen Hurts as the starter. Alabama has been a winning machine and Tua has only embodied their winning mentality and culture. He will likely remain at the top of the Heisman rankings all season long, the only reason he is not in the top spot is that he was outgunned by another rising star in early January.
#1. Trevor Lawrence QB Clemson
Lawrence took over as the Clemson starter just a year ago. He dominated the entire 2018 season for the Tigers, propelling them to a National Title, as well as a 15-0 record. Lawrence completed 65.2% of his passes for 3,280 yards with 30 touchdowns to just 4 interceptions. He tore defenses apart all season long and we don’t see a thing changing in 2019. Lawrence was an incredible high school star, breaking all of Deshaun Watson’s records and being named a 5-star recruit before taking his talents to Clemson University. Lawrence has been decorated with awards his entire life. Why not add a Heisman Trophy to that collection? Lawrence will be the clear-cut favorite for the award after an outstanding performance at the biggest stage in all of college football. We saw him throw for 347 yards and 3 touchdowns, as only a true freshman, in the title game against Alabama, an NFL factory for players on the defensive side of the ball. We expect to see Lawrence take this momentum into next season and dominant once again. There will be a tremendous amount of pressure and a huge microscope on Lawrence but, we predict that he will respond to this pressure and take home the Heisman Trophy award in 2019.