The 2020 National Championship game is still fresh in the memory, but talk is already turning to the contenders for the 2021 Heisman Trophy. Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith became the first non-quarterback to win the prize since Derrick Henry in 2015. However, it’s gone to a QB in 17 of the last 21 years. Unsurprisingly, quarterbacks dominate the list of early front runners ahead of the new season.
Rattler the man to beat according to the odds makers
With another highly competitive race ahead, plenty of players will feel that they can be crowned the best player in college football in 12 months’ time. NJ betting sites including FanDuel offer betting odds on a range of CFB odds and specials, even during the off-season. They have Spencer Rattler as the current favorite at +600 in what looks an extremely open betting heat with 83 contenders listed on site.
The Oklahoma Sooners QB threw for over 3,000 yards in the 2020 campaign, including 28 touchdowns and 7 interceptions as his side went 9-2 and won the Cotton Bowl Classic with an emphatic 55-20 victory over Florida. Crowned the Big 12 Championship MVP, Rattler is understandably ahead of the market after recording figures of 14 completions on 26 attempts for 247 yards and 3 TDs at AT&T Stadium.
Daniels leads the chasing pack
JT Daniels (+800) missed a significant amount of the past season due to a knee injury, but he impressed in the four games he started for the Georgia Bulldogs in 2020. With former Cleveland Browns Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken set for a second season at UGA, it would be no surprise if Daniels took another big step forward. He threw for 1,231 yards and 10 touchdowns and has a talented set of attacking weapons at his disposal for the new year.
Clemson QB D.J. Uiagalelei saw some time under center when starter – and presumed first pick in the 2021 NFL draft – Trevor Lawrence was on the side lines. He remains something of an unknown quantity due to how much his predecessor dominated on the field, but the former five-star recruit will look to guide a Tigers team who have made four appearances in the National Championship game since 2015. He’s available at +900 to become the first Clemson player to win the Heisman.
North Carolina has never produced a Heisman winner before either, but Sam Howell (+1400) looks to be a contender for 2021. They will likely need to get the better of Clemson to win the ACC, but Howell comes into the year off the back of two impressive seasons. He threw for 3,586 yards and 30 touchdowns, rushing for another six. The Tar Heels went 8-4 in Mack Brown’s second season back in charge and if they continue to improve, then Howell could be in the conversation for major honours.
Young has big shoes to fill at Bama
With Mac Jones headed to the NFL draft, Bryce Young (+1000) looks set to take over as starter at Alabama. A dual threat QB, what Young may lack in size compared to some of the other Heismann candidates, he should make up for in his ability to deliver on the ground as well as through the air. With former Bama OC Steve Sarkisian now the head coach at the University of Texas, there will be a lot of change for the relatively inexperienced quarterback to adapt to.
Despite losing key pieces of the program this off-season, the Crimson Tide have a wealth of talent to fill those gaps. Few would rule out another good season after going 13-0 in the regular season before a 52-24 win over Ohio State in the National Championship game which sealed DaVonta Smith’s unstoppable run to Heisman glory.