The two overwhelming favorites to win the Heisman trophy are Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa and Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence. It will be tough barring injury for them not to be in New York for the Heisman trophy ceremony. They play for two elite programs who just happen to be the favorites to win the championship.
My favorites for the trophy and some dark horse candidates are below.
Tua Tagovailoa + 250
Tua was the favorite to win the award for much of last season before Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray stormed ahead to win the program’s second consecutive Heisman Trophy.
Alabama has possibly the best receivers in the country in Jerry Jeudy, Jaylen Waddle, and Henry Ruggs III. Bama lost some key running backs, but as usual, Nick Saban has a group of backs ready to make their mark. Najee Harris looks to be the starter heading into camp. Harris led the team with 6.7 yards per career last year.
As you can see, Tua will have an unlimited number of weapons and much like last season he may not play in second halves of games due to huge leads for the Tide. Tagovailoa will have his chance to create his “Heisman moment” in games against Texas A&M, LSU, Auburn, and in the SEC Title game against most likely Georgia.
Trevor Lawrence + 250
Trevor Lawrence in only his freshman season helped guide Clemson to an undefeated season and a National Championship by destroying Alabama 44-16. He threw for 347 yards and three touchdowns in a title game that wasn’t even as close as the final score indicated. Lawrence looks ready to play in the NFL, but unfortunately for him he still has two years left at the college level. He could end up being the most coveted NFL quarterback prospect since Peyton Manning.
Clemson’s skill position players are off the charts with running back Travis Etienne and receivers Tee Higgins and Justyn Ross all back and poised for another title run. The Tiger’s toughest challenges will be against Texas A&M and a trip to the Carrier Dome to take on Syracuse who has been somewhat of a thorn in Clemson’s side over the past two years. Much like Tagovailoa, I could see Lawrence taking a seat early and often in the second half of games.
D’Andre Swift + 2000
I normally don’t consider running backs for the Heisman Trophy, as it has become a quarterback award over recent years. Since 2006, the only running backs that have won the award are Mark Ingram and Derrick Henry.
However, a few factors have me considering D’Andre Swift this year. First, he has NFL talent and even though he split careers a season ago with Elijah Holyfield he still ran for over a thousand yards and had 10 touchdowns. Georgia does have an elite quarterback in Jake Fromm, but he lost his top receivers and Georgia is inexperienced at the position.
Another major factor that has me looking at Swift is that he has one of the best offensive lines in all of college football blocking for him. Led by left tackle Andrew Thomas who will be playing on Sundays next year. Swift will have a lot of opportunities to impress voters with games against Notre Dame, Florida, Auburn, Texas A&M and possibly the SEC Title game.
Shea Patterson + 2500
Michigan has high expectations as usual and many feel this might be the season the Wolverines finally take down Ohio State. They have seven starters back on offense and a new coordinator Josh Gattis who arrived from Alabama. Gattis has promised a new up tempo and explosive offense that should cater to the talents of Patterson. In his first season wearing the maze and blue, Patterson had 2,600 yards passing and accounted for 24 total scores. The Wolverines have plenty of talent at the receiver position led by Donovan Peoples-Jones, Nico Collins and Tarik Black.
All three receivers should put up better numbers than a year ago considering the new offense in place. I’m thinking Michigan will have to go undefeated for Patterson to gain Heisman trophy consideration. They have to travel to Wisconsin and Penn State, but they do get Notre Dame, Michigan State and Ohio State in Ann Arbor. John Harbaugh will need Patterson and the new look offense to come up huge to finally take down the Buckeyes.
Dark Horse Pick
Khalil Tate + 5000
For six games in the middle of the 2017 season, Tate was the most explosive player in college football. Against Colorado, he rushed for 327 yards and four touchdowns on just 14 rushes setting a record for rushing yards by a quarterback in a game. He totaled over 1,200 yards on the ground during the six game stretch and led Arizona to a bowl game.
Heading into the 2018 season, expectations for Tate were through the roof, but an ankle injury slowed him down for much of the season and the team looked lost under new coach Kevin Sumlin. Arizona will need to win the Pac 12 Championship, and Tate will need to flash back to his 2017 form and finish close to the FBS record for rushing yards in a season by a quarterback which is 1,920 yards held by Jordan Lynch to be considered. Even that might not be enough to win the award.
All signs point to a showdown between Trevor Lawrence and Tua Tagovailoa for the Heisman trophy and for the National Title.
I slightly favor Lawrence to win the trophy. Clemson has a less challenging schedule and Lawrence is working with the same offensive coaching staff as last season and is comfortable in the offense. Tagovailoa on the other hand is working with his third coordinator in three seasons in Tuscaloosa.