The Heisman Trophy is awarded to the best player in college football but that doesn’t always mean they were the favorite to in the award heading into the season. Whether it is Jameis Winston or Johnny Manziel winning it as freshmen or RGIII winning at Baylor, the unknown names sometimes come out on top. Here are some of the players that can win the award with odds of 25/1 or worse:
Jarrett Stidham, QB, Auburn
Current odds: 25/1
Stidham was actually on this same list last year but qualifies again because of the odds. In his first year at Auburn, after playing at Baylor and junior college, Stidham threw for 3,158 yards and 18 touchdowns. With him at quarterback, the Tigers were able to finish with a 10-4 record and made an appearance in the Peach Bowl.
Auburn has a typically tough schedule with Washington, LSU, Mississippi State, Georgia and Alabama on the docket. All these games will help him get the eyes of Heisman voters. He can start off the season as a frontrunner with solid games against Washington and LSU within the first three weeks of the season.
The schedule is tough, but if they can win eight games in the regular season, Stidham could be in contention for the award. If the defense can keep up with the offense, Stidham should be able to win enough games to help him get some consideration for postseason awards.
Rodney Anderson, RB, Oklahoma
Current Odds: 25/1
While Baker Mayfield got all the headlines last year, Anderson had a solid season as the starting running back for the Sooners. Anderson finished with 1,161 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns on 6.2 yards per carry. His running abilities helped Oklahoma get to the College Football Playoff and this year he will be the focal point of the offense.
The Big 12 may be down with Oklahoma State losing key players and TCU needing to take a step forward. They won’t have a lot of great games for Anderson to show off his skills, but they do play UCLA and Florida Atlantic along with their Big 12 schedule.
With the Big 12 not being the most competitive and their non-conference schedule, which features two decent, but not great, teams, Oklahoma could get through the season unscathed if they play at their best. They will need new starting quarterback Kyler Murray to really step up and produce, as well as their defense to play at an average level too.
A.J. Dillon, RB, Boston College
Current Odds: 25/1
Dillon made headlines on National Signing Day when he flipped his commitment from Michigan to sign with Boston College. In his freshman season he rushed for 1,589 yards and 14 touchdowns. The Eagles went 7-6 last season with Dillon and are hoping he can lead them to new heights this season.
The non-conference schedule features Notre Dame, which would be a good game to show out in. There is a stretch of games that could get Dillon a lot of attention featuring games against N.C. State, Louisville, Miami, Virginia Tech, Clemson and then Florida State.
While that is ample opportunity to make an impression, the downside is that Boston College may not have the talent to beat those teams. An unwritten rule of the Heisman Trophy is that the player winning the award has to play on a winning team and the Eagles will be lucky to get to 6-6.
Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
Current Odds: 33/1
Oregon went 7-6 last year, but Herbert was only able to play eight games for the second consecutive season. When he stays healthy he has the ability to play well and be a star. He threw for 1,983 yards and 15 touchdowns, while only throwing five interceptions last season.
The Ducks’ schedule is pretty light so Herbert will have to make the most of the few big games he will play in. Games against Washington and Stanford will help decide the Pac-12 North. Games against Stanford and Arizona will pit Herbert against other Heisman contenders in Bryce Love and Khalil Tate respectively.
With the easier schedule, the Ducks should be able to win enough games to get Herbert the Heisman, if he puts up the stats. A key thing to note is that Herbert will have to deal with his third different coach in three years after Mark Helfrich was fired and Willie Taggart left for Florida State within the last two years.
D’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia
Current Odds: 33/1
Swift worked his way into getting carries as a freshman in a backfield that included Nick Chubb and Sony Michel. With limited touches, he was able to rush for 618 yards and three touchdowns on 7.8 yards per carry. He helped Georgia get to the National Championship as a freshman and now will see most of the workload at running back.
South Carolina, LSU, Florida and Auburn are all on the schedule this season enabling Swift to have some time on national television. They are also the frontrunners to win the SEC East, giving him another game to pad his stats and be in the spotlight.
Georgia lost a lot from their team last season but should be able to recover for another solid season. Their recruiting has been great and there aren’t many threats to their SEC East title. Ultimately, Georgia’s record shouldn’t hold Swift back from winning the Heisman.
Deondre Francois, QB, Florida State
Current Odds: 33/1
Florida State’s season went south as soon as Francois was lost for the season in the opener against Alabama. In 2018 Francois was able to throw for 3,350 yards and 20 touchdowns, while only throwing seven interceptions. This is especially impressive given that his offensive line was not good at all. During that season the Seminoles went 10-3 with a win over Michigan in the Orange Bowl.
Playing Notre Dame and Florida is as good as it gets for the nonconference schedule while playing Virginia Tech, Louisville, Miami and Clemson in conference should give him a chance to showcase his skills. The first game of the season against Virginia Tech can get him going on the right path for the Heisman, as they are a solid team, even though they lost a lot from their defense last season.
With a new coach in Taggart, Florida State will have to make adjustments for this season. They can win a lot of games but if they don’t fit into Taggart’s new system, they could lose as many as five or six games. Francois will need to help transition to the new coaching staff and lead the team to better results than last season to win the Heisman.