1. QB Spencer Rattler (Oklahoma)
Vegas Odds: 11-2
Rattler is the Heisman favorite heading into 2021. Last year’s numbers were solid: 3.031 yards, 28 TDs, 7 picks, but he’ll need to do far more than that to lock up the hardware. Not a traditional Sooner running QB, so he’ll need to put up big numbers with his arm, and accuracy needs to improve.
To win the Heisman, He needs to pile up the numbers in the first month with 4 creampuffs to start the season (Yes, Nebraska counts as a creampuff now), keep the talk on him all year. 4,000 and 30 are mandatory, and the Sooners can’t lose more than one game. The regular season finale against Iowa State should provide him the best possible stage as the year winds down.
2. QB Sam Howell (North Carolina)
Vegas Odds: 15-1
Howell’s numbers were outstanding in 2020… 3586 yards, 30 TDs, 7ints. 5 more TDs on the ground. Year three looks to be a monster.
Several things need to happen fot Howell to win the Heisman.. One, the Tar Heels need to take advantage of a light schedule; it’s basically Miami, Notre Dame, and NC State. He won’t be able to have a bad week, especially against those three teams. His numbers will need to be stupid; 4000+, 35 TDs, singe digit picks. He needs Rattler and the other top candidates to struggle at some point.
3. QB JT Daniels (Georgia)
Vegas Odds: 12-1
There’s no question that JT Daniels is going to put up Heisman type numbers in 2021. His problem is a team problem; Georgia is a perennial SEC bridesmaid. Always playing second fiddle to the ‘Bamas and Floridas and LSUs of the world. Hard to get noticed in that role. There are two things he has going for him in 2021. One: they open up against Clemson. Easily the biggest game in the early weeks of the college football season, and literally the perfect stage from which to launch a Heisman campaign (or, being a double edged sword, to end one early). Two: No ‘Bama on the regular season schedule. In fact, if they beat Clemson, there’s no reason to think they won’t win out. Undefeated SEC team with a QB who puts up big numbers? Daniels may actually have the easiest road to New York… if he shows out against the Tigers.
4. QB Brock Purdy (Iowa State)
Vegas Odds: 35-1
Purdy was one of the nations most underrated QBs in 2020, but neither he nor the Cyclones will sneak up on anyone. He won’t put up the numbers that Rattler or Howell will… not when he’s sharing the backfield with the best running back in the Nation. So he’ll need to be virtually perfect all year. Oh, and the Cyclones need to go undefeated… and he needs to outshine Rattler when they go head to head. In the end, he may have to settle for team achievements; when two stars share a team they tend to steal votes from each other.
5. QB DJ Uiagalelei
Vegas Odds: 7-1
Remember a few years ago when no one knew how to say Tua’s last name? By the end of the year, we all knew… and soon we’ll all know how to say Uiagalelei. But is he a legit threat to win the Heisman? He was impressive in his two games in 2020, especially against Notre Dame. Keep in mind, though, he was basically jumping into a lineup that could have put up points against most NFL teams. He has things going for him…. like Daniels, the showdown with Georgia gives him the perfect chance to start… or end… his Heisman run early. It’s doubtful there’s another team on the schedule that will challenge him… or Clemson… after that. However, Trevor Lawrence’s shadow is huge… and even if he somehow outperforms Lawrence the whispers of ‘system QB’ may doom him… at least this year.
6. QB D’Eriq King
Vegas Odds: 18-1
Sometimes a good story is as important as performance when it comes to the Heisman. Argue the validity of that if you want, but in today’s world the Heisman can be a bit American Idol-ish in that aspect. (See Ron Dayne, Doeg Flutie, etc) And King has a hell of a story. Unfortunately, he’s also facing a brutal schedule. There is a path to the Heisman, but it”s a long shot. It starts with an upset over Alabama to start the season… one based on a spectacular performance by him. He’ll need to do his damage early as the season ends with a bunch of bad teams in a row… good for numbers, but numbers won’t get him there.
7. QB Bryce Young (Alabama)
Vegas Odds: 9-1
In the college football world of 2021, possibly the biggest Heisman resume point isn’t performance based at all. It would read like this: “He’s the starting QB for Alabama, Ohio State, or Clemson. Need proof? The three QBs starting at those schools are all near the top of the Heisman list, in spite of the fact that between the three of them they boast a grand total of two career starts. Fortunately for Young, he’s on that list. So if ‘Bama does what ‘Bama does, he’ll be in that conversation come December. That’s not to say he won’t deserve it; There’s a reason the kid is on that list.
8. QB Kedon Slovis (USC)
Vegas Odds: 20-1
It’s hard for Pac-12 players to win the Heisman; their games often end long after folks on the East Coast and in the Midwest are in bed. There was a time when USC was an exception to that rule, but as the conference has faded from relevance, that rule is no more. That being said, Slovis is going to put up massive numbers, and it’s not impossible that the Trojans could make a run at the playoff. He’s surrounded by talent, especially at WR. He’ll have to be pretty much perfect all year, and he’ll need not one, but a number of Heisman moments to even land a seat in New York.
9. QB CJ Stroud (Ohio State)
Vegas Odds: 10-1
See Bryce Young above. While there’s no question Stroud has a world of talent… again, he’s the starting QB atone of the 3 semi-pro teams that rule the landscape… he literally has never taken a snap in a college game. But he’ll be working with possibly the best receiver group in a generation… possibly ever. There are literally at least 6 guys in that group who will probably be first round draft picks. If the Buckeyes go undefeated… which they probably will… there’s almost no way he’s not in the conversation.
10. QB Matt Corral (Ole Miss)
Vegas Odds: 20-1
Corral may be the most viable darkhorse candidate in the 2021 Heisman race. Ole Miss is an SEC school with a huge fan base… the kind of base that can generate an online buzz. He was brilliant for a good portion of 2020, although when he melted down…. man, did he melt down. Of course, he’s still a long shot… he would not only need to put up stupid numbers… which under Lane Kiffin he should… but the Rebels will need to pull of some upsets… like several of them… and he’ll need to be spectacular in all of them.
11. RB Isaiah Spiller (Texas A&M)
Vegas Odds: NL
While Spiller may not be the best back in the country… that designation goes to Breece Young, at least heading into 2021, he will probably be the most productive. His numbers weren’t gaudy in 2020…. just over 1,000 yards, 6+ ypc, 20 receptions… the Aggies offense will center on him in 2021 with the departure of QB Kellen Mond. (Is it me, or did it feel like he was the Aggies QB for a decade or so?). It’s not unrealistic to think Spiller could push that magic 2,000 yards mark. If the Aggies make a push to the playoff, and maybe knock off ‘Bama… Spiller could raise that trophy.
12. RB Breece Hall (Iowa State)
Vegas Odds: 40-1
Hall is, without question, the best RB in the country in 2021. 2020 numbers: 1,572 yards and 21 touchdowns,g 5.6 ypc. And that’s as a part of a balanced offensive unit, not one where he gets fed the ball on 60% of snaps. Is there still a path to the Heisman? A slim one. He’ll need to be dominant.. we’re talking in the neighborhood of 2,000 yards. And he’ll need a number of highlight reel runs…. long, game breaking plays. It wouldn’t hurt if he dominated against the Sooners, and like team mate Purdy, he’ll need the Cyclones to reach the playoff. In the end, it’s unlikely. It’s a QBs world in college football, and with a QB candidate on his team, he’ll most likely end up splitting votes.
13. WR Chris Olave (Ohio State)
Vegas Odds: NL
It’s possible that Chris Olave is the best QR in college football in 2021. The problem is that as stated above, he’s a part of a historical WR corps. While he could easily be a top 5 draft pick, there just won’t be enough catches for him to put up Heisman numbers. Add in a QB who’s never actually thrown a pass in a game, and yeah. There is one possible scenario that could land him in New York: A young QB will often lean on a go to receiver. Often that’s not a good thing overall, but it could mean huge numbers for Olave. Throw in the fact that being a Buckeye he’ll basically be nationally televised almost every week, and while the odds are long, he may have a better shot than some of the guys Vegas has ahead of him.
14. QB Jayden Daniels (Arizona State)
Vegas Odds: 30-1
Daniels has all of the same issues Slovin is facing over at USC, without the bit of name brand recognition the Trojans still have. The Sun Devils have the look of one of those surprise teams in 2021, however, and he will probably have some buzz around him if they do. He would need all of the other QBs ahead of him on the list to stink it up at some point.
15. QB Michael Penix Jr. (Indiana)
Vegas Odds: NL
If Penix played anywhere but Indiana, he’d be higher on this list. But he’s a Hoosier. As such, the only real path to New York is for him to lead the Hoosiers to a spot in the playoff… and that means they have to beat the Buckeyes. And even that might not be enough; he’ll need to shine… all year, every week. And even then we’re talking lotto odds.
16. QB Grayson McCall (Coastal Carolina)
Vegas Odds: NL
To start, let’s be honest… McCall being on this list is nonsense. Yeah, Coastal is a great story; before 2020, most of us barely knew this school existed. They were basically one of the little directional schools or a state that’s not actually a state (Ball State, App State, Western Michigan, etc.) His numbers should be outstanding, but that will be in large part because the only Group of 5 school they play is Kansas. A more interesting discussion would be whether he’ll get a seat in New York to watch someone else win.
Categories: NFL Power Rankings and Picks