Another college football season means time to begin the Heisman Trophy watch.
Trying to predict who college football’s best player at the end of the season will be isn’t always easy. Though in 2018, we had a pretty good idea, even if it wasn’t the same guy who opened the season as favorite.
As we look ahead to 2019, quarterbacks are sure to dominate this list, but that obviously can change. Here we go, our preseason Heisman Trophy watch for 2019.
1. Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson, Soph.
To no surprise, Lawrence tops our Heisman Trophy watch. After guiding Clemson to a 15-0 mark and national title as a rookie, Lawrence is the best player on what’s still the top team in the country.
Many believe Lawrence is poised to better his numbers of 3,280 passing yards and 30 touchdowns from 2018. That’s possible, but the bigger focus should be on if he’s able to handle the pressure and expectations that have fallen on his shoulders.
2. Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama, Jr.
Tagovailoa spent a good chunk of 2018 atop the Heisman Trophy watch. Then, he battled injuries and Kyler Murray emerged to leave Tua second in the race.
However, Tagovailoa’s success from 2018 should not be diminished. He threw for 3,966 yards with 43 TDs and just six interceptions. He also completed a remarkable 69 percent of his passes and posted a passer rating of 199.4. And he rarely played a full game.
If Tagovailoa can stay healthy in 2019, the Crimson Tide will have a chance to take back the national title.
3. Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin, Jr.
This is a quarterback-dominated list, but Taylor certainly has a place to disrupt things on the Heisman Trophy watch. His 4,171 rushing yards are by far the most among any player in the country over the last two seasons.
Of the 27 college games he’s played, Taylor has rushed for more than 200 yards eight times. His 321-yard effort in a triple-overtime victory at Purdue last season is the stuff legends are made from.
The key for Taylor in 2019 will be to take care of the ball better and hope the Badgers’ somewhat inexperienced offensive line doesn’t hinder his progress.
4. Jalen Hurts, QB, Oklahoma, Sr.
Can Oklahoma produce a third straight Heisman Trophy winner? That’s actually a question worthy of an answer, Of course, we’ll have to wait until December to find out.
At the moment, Hurts has not technically won the starting quarterback job, but maybe Sooners coach Lincoln Riley is just trying to respect the nature of competition. But, Hurts’ experience from Alabama (5,626 career passing yards, 48 passing TDs, 1,976 rushing yards, 23 rushing TDs) should be what Oklahoma needs to move on from Kyler Murray.
It will be fun to watch.
5. Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon, Sr.
There’s usually that one player on the Heisman Trophy watch that starts low, but has the potential to finish high. That could be Herbert.
Many thought last year would be Herbert’s true coming-out party. While he threw for 3,151 yards and 29 touchdowns in 2018, four of his eight interceptions came in first three games. That turned some off to Herbert in terms of the Heisman Trophy watch.
The hype is not as strong for 2019, but it’s still quite possible that with a good season and other things falling into place. Herbert could be the first quarterback taken in the 2020 NFL Draft.