Alabama star DeVonta Smith shocked the world—and preseason oddsmakers—when he turned the primary receiver to win the Heisman Trophy since Desmond Howard did so in 1991. It was one thing of a refreshing deviation from the latest norm of the nation’s finest passers holding a monopoly on the award. However with a number of younger quarterbacks primed to take a leap in 2021, don’t count on that development to proceed for lengthy.
Right here’s a glance at a number of candidates poised to make a run at the 2021 Heisman Trophy.
Spencer Rattler, QB, Oklahoma
Place your bets quickly, of us. The Spencer Rattler hype practice is simply leaving the station, and his odds to win faculty soccer’s most coveted particular person award are prone to solely enhance. Rattler seemed the a part of a freshman at the beginning of his first season at the helm of the Oklahoma offense (5 interceptions in his first 4 video games) however he turned a nook afterward—and so did the Sooners. Rattler posted a 67% completion proportion and threw for 9 touchdowns on only one interception in his last 4 video games, together with a dominant efficiency in a Cotton Bowl blowout win over Florida.
Going into his second season because the starter in Norman, Rattler can have the assistance of his prime two receivers from 2020 in Marvin Mims and Theo Wease. There’s been a litany of Oklahoma signal-callers to enter Norman as a promising younger participant and depart it because the Heisman Trophy winner. Don’t be shocked if Rattler is simply the following within the lineage.
Sam Howell, QB, North Carolina
Howell formally put the school soccer world on discover in 2020. After a freshman season during which he threw 38 touchdowns and simply seven interceptions, Howell upped his effectivity and his willingness to run. He even broke Trevor Lawrence’s ACC report with 67 profession landing passes in his first two years.
The previous four-star recruit from Monroe, N.C., has been a mannequin of consistency in his freshman and sophomore seasons. However simply because he was risk-averse doesn’t imply he was a recreation supervisor. Solely Memphis quarterback Brady White racked up extra passing yards than Howell over the past two seasons.
Howell and North Carolina can have an opportunity for vengeance towards Notre Dame, which dealt UNC considered one of its three ACC losses in 2020, in late October. If the junior can lead the Tar Heels to an early assertion win over the Preventing Irish, his case as a Heisman favourite might solely take off from there.
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D.J. Uiagalelei, QB, Clemson
It’s “subsequent man up” for Clemson after the departure of Lawrence for the NFL draft, however don’t count on the Tigers to take an enormous step again at the quarterback place. Uiagalelei, a former five-star recruit out of Bellflower, Calif., comes as marketed. At 6-foot-4, 250 kilos, the freshman stepped in for Lawrence throughout his COVID-19 absence in 2020 and did extra than simply handle the sport. He threw for 342 yards and two scores in a win over Boston School (his first begin). Then every week later towards Notre Dame, Uigalelei lit up the Preventing Irish for 439 yards and two extra touchdowns.
It was a tricky selection between Uiagalelei and his Alabama counterpart Bryce Younger for this record, however the Clemson passer has seen extra important recreation time in his younger profession. Uiagalelei clearly has all of the bodily instruments and assets round him to succeed, even in his second yr. However he’ll have some huge footwear to fill in Lawrence’s wake.
D’Eriq King, QB, Miami
King turned some heads when he determined to return for one more faculty soccer season with Miami. After spending 4 seasons at Houston, the senior transferred to play with the Hurricanes and led them to a AP top-10 rank (later squandered by back-to-back losses to finish the yr). His 2020 season ended within the second quarter of Miami’s Cheez-It Bowl loss to Oklahoma State, the place he suffered an ACL damage that required surgical procedure.
King hasn’t fairly recaptured the magic of his 2018 season that launched him into the Heisman Trophy dialog when he totaled 50 touchdowns and greater than 3,600 whole yards. That’s to not say he hasn’t been productive—he was practically as environment friendly final season as he was in that electrical third season at Houston. If King desires to indicate he’s nonetheless a member of school soccer’s elite, he’ll have the right probability to do it throughout a Week 1 date with Alabama.
Breece Corridor, RB, Iowa State
Breece Corridor is prepared for the second. A strong freshman season in 2019 put Corridor on the shortlist of finest returning rushers within the Massive 12. However the sophomore outdid all expectations by piling up 1,572 yards speeding in 2020, the perfect mark within the nation.
Sure, the Heisman has sometimes been a quarterback’s award, and whereas Smith broke that barrier this season, Corridor completed simply sixth in voting regardless of his breakout yr. That mentioned, he has the perfect potential of anybody to change into the primary operating again to win since Derrick Henry did so in 2015.
The Cyclones got here oh-so-close to profitable the Massive 12 for the primary time in class historical past final season. With quarterback Brock Purdy (amongst different starters) returning for one final go, there’s purpose to imagine that the Iowa State offense—and Corridor—can solely enhance off final yr’s historic season.
Defensive participant to observe
Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU
Stingley would possibly simply be essentially the most recognizable defensive participant in faculty soccer at the second, and that’s a part of why he’d have the perfect shot to tug off the unbelievable. However past the hype, Stingley has been the most effective younger defensive gamers within the nation over the past two years.
LSU’s down yr defensively didn’t assist Stingley in 2020. He missed some important time attributable to varied accidents, and whether or not he was on the sphere or not, the depleted Tiger protection couldn’t cease a lot of anybody. Stingley completed with simply 5 passes defended and no interceptions in his second yr as a starter.
Defensive coordinator Bo Pelini’s departure at the tip of the season implies that Stingley can have his third coordinator in as a few years. However his electrical first yr in Baton Rouge provides hope that he can return to change into not only a chief on the LSU protection, however the most effective ballhawking defensive backs within the nation.
Different gamers to observe
Bryce Younger, QB, Alabama
JT Daniels, QB, Georgia
Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas
Kedon Slovis, QB, USC
Brock Purdy, QB, Iowa State