Trevor Lawrence and Tua Tagovailoa are the 2019 Heisman favorites, but will they stay there? College Football Expert Jason Radowitz gives his top two picks for the prestigious award.
Picking the Heisman is already tough. Going into the 2019 season, there are some easy “favorites” for the award. Let’s get straight to the point. The Heisman Award is given to a player with the most outstanding performance on the season. This player best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity. Winners epitomize great ability combined with diligence, perseverance, and hard work … and they’re an offensive player, mainly a quarterback, sometimes a running back.
The 2019 Heisman Future Betting Favorites:
Trevor Lawrence (Clemson) +200
Tua Tagovailoa (Alabama) +350
Justin Fields (Ohio State) +1200
Adrian Martinez (Nebraska) ; Jake Fromm (Georgia) ; Jalen Hurts (Oklahoma) ; Justin Herbert (Oregon) ; Sam Ehlinger (Texas) +2000
Should you pick a top three Heisman favorite?
Top Three Favorites: Bryce Love (RB) (Stanford) ; Tua Tagovailoa (Alabama) ; Jonathan Taylor (RB) (Wisconsin)
The Winner: Kyler Murray (Oklahoma)
Kyler Murray was the 12th favorite on the list to win the Heisman before the start of the season. There were 8 quarterbacks projected to have a better chance at winning the Heisman over Kyler Murray who picked up right where Baker Mayfield left off.
Top Three Favorites: Sam Darnold (USC) ; Saquon Barkley (RB) (Penn State)
Tied for third: Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma) ; Lamar Jackson (Louisville)
The Winner: Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma)
It really depends on which sportsbook was used to look at these odds. But overall, those four players were the clear favorites. JT Barrett would’ve been next. Baker Mayfield, as a favorite, won the Heisman trophy.
Top Three Favorites: Deshaun Watson (Clemson) ; Christian McCaffrey (RB) (Stanford) ; Leonard Fournette (RB) (LSU)
The Winner: Lamar Jackson (Louisville) (Was 110/1 Odds!!!)
Nobody expected this. Lamar Jackson was not on the first page when betting futures! He quickly rose to the occasion and became the favorite as the season progressed.
I can go down the list to 2009. The favorites at the beginning of the year DO NOT win the Heisman.
2015 Heisman: Derrick Henry (Pre-Season Odds were +2500)
2014 Heisman: Marcus Mariota (Pre-Season Odds were +700)
2013 Heisman: Jamesis Winston (Week 2 Odds were +600)
2012 Heisman: Johnny Manziel (Week 8 Odds were +1200)
2011 Heisman: Robert Griffin III (Pre-Season Odds were +2800)
2010 Heisman: Cam Newton (Week 3 Odds were +2000)
2009 Heisman: Mark Ingram (Week 4 Odds were +3300)
Who will win the Heisman?
As much as I would love to pick Trevor Lawrence of Clemson or Tua Tagovailoa Alabama to win the Heisman award this upcoming season, history has shown that those two players specifically do not have a good chance of winning the award.
Personally, I’m not taking a running back to win the Heisman this season or basically ever again. Quarterbacks will usually win this award. The trend will continue to be quarterbacks. Look at the last two seasons. We’ve had running backs run for nearly 2000 yards and not get an invite to New York. Plus, most of these running backs share the backfield with a top quarterback. Clearly, the quarterback will always outshine the running back when it comes to the Heisman award.
If a player is going to win the Heisman award, their team better be winning and winning a lot. If it’s not going to be Tua Tagovailoa or Trevor Lawrence, we have to look at teams that have a solid chance at making it to the College Football Playoff. This team doesn’t need to be playing in the College Football Playoff, but sure as heck need to at least be in the New Year’s Six Bowls.
The team with the Heisman needs to be projected to win at least nine games on the season.
2018: Kyler Murray’s Oklahoma were projected to win 10 games.
2017: Baker Mayfield’s Oklahoma were projected to win 9.5 games.
2016: Lamar Jackson’s Louisville were projected to win 9 games.
2015: Derrick Henry’s Alabama were projected to win 9.5 games.
2014: Marcus Mariota’s Oregon were projected to win 10.5 games.
2013: Jameis Winston’s Florida State were projected to win 10.5 games.
2012: Johnny Manziel’s Texas A&M were projected to win 7.5 games. (OUTLIER!)
(Unfortunately, I was unable to find Vegas odds from 2009-2011.)
In the last six seasons, heisman winners were not projected to win but their team was projected to win at least nine games on the season.
Here are teams projected to win at least nine games this season in college football.
Clemson (11.5), Alabama (11) , Georgia (11), Ohio State (10.5) , Oklahoma (10.5), Boise State (10), Army (10), UCF (9.5), Michigan (9.5), Texas (9.5), Washington (9.5), Memphis (9.5), Utah (9.5), Florida (9), LSU (9), Appalachian State (9).
If you look closely at the winners of the Heisman in the last 10 seasons, each player played in a Power Five Conference.
Boise State, Army, UCF, Memphis, Appalachian State
The bigger picture:
Clemson, Alabama, Georgia, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Michigan, Texas, Washington, Utah, Florida, LSU
There’s 11 teams that potentially have the Heisman winner.
Earlier, we agreed that Clemson and Alabama quarterbacks will not win the Heisman due to being favorites to win the Heisman. I still believe the Heisman is a quarterback award now, meaning Alabama and Clemson running backs don’t have a chance either!
At Utah, Cameron Rising, a transfer from Texas, is being denied eligibility until next season. A four-star prospect transferring to Utah tells you everything you need to know about Utah’s quarterback Tyler Huntley. He’ll have a solid season, but he’s not expected to have a Heisman-like season. Especially if a player is transferring to your program thinking he can out-shine the current quarterback. That leaves us with eight.
My 2019 Heisman Picks:
Jalen Hurts – Oklahoma +2000
Jalen Hurts! If you recognize the name, it’s because you do. Hurts transferred out of Alabama to play one final year at Oklahoma, where the last two Heisman winners played! Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley just has his way with quarterbacks and bringing the most out of them. They rise to the occasion and perform at their highest ceiling. Before Tua Tagovailoa took over as quarterback for Alabama, Hurts had two brilliant seasons under Nick Saban at Alabama, winning a National Championship. His completion rate was over 60 percent at Bama and he threw just 10 interceptions while accumulating almost 5,000 yards passing. Hurts has been humble throughout his time in college football. He has one last rodeo. He could face Alabama in the National Championship.
I mean … the last two Heisman winners played for the Oklahoma Sooners. It’s never happened where three players from the same team have won the Heisman back-to-back-to-back. This could be a first. Or history could repeat itself. Hurts is on my radar for sure.
Jacob Eason – Washington +5000
This is my underdog guy! Jacob Eason, a transfer from Georgia in 2017. Sat out the 2018 season. He’s ready to go for 2019. You’re going to look at his stats and well… not be impressed. In 2016, Eason threw for 2,266 yards as a Freshman Starter for Georgia. After sitting out a full season at Washington, Eason was able to watch Jake Browning’s final season with Washington, where he threw for 2,900 yards. Browning was up and down in his entire career. The former five-star recruit came into weird circumstances at Georgia, with a new head coach and inexperienced teammates around him. In his third career game, Eason was asked to throw 55 passes to the inexperienced receivers around him. It was a learning experience for Eason for sure. Washington seems like the perfect fit for Eason. He will thrive under Washington Head Coach, Chris Peterson.
Plus, with Oregon back on the map this season, the Pac-12 will start to earn respect this season. More viewers = more chance to Eason!
Possible candidates but not my favorites:
Justin Fields – Ohio State +1200
Scary situation here. Tate Martell, who originally committed to Ohio State, transferred to Miami to play with the Hurricanes … only to not get the starting job. Justin Fields, recently transferred from Georgia to play at Ohio State, and new head coach Ryan Day, just recently said that the QB job isn’t officially Justin Fields’. It’s one or two things here, Day is trying to keep Fields a secret as long as he can or former Kentucky quarterback, Gunnar Hoak could be seriously competing for the starting job. Doesn’t sound like the perfect situation in Ohio State. But clearly, whoever is quarterback at Ohio State has a chance to win the Heisman. We’ll continue to monitor their QB situation.
Jake Fromm – Georgia +2000
The media loves Jake Fromm. They’re pinning him as the sleeper for this award. Last season, Fromm delivered 2,749 yards passing, 30 touchdowns along with six interceptions. In a tough SEC, Fromm didn’t have many shining moments last season. I don’t expect anything more to be honest. Fromm surpassed 300 yards throwing just once all year, against Alabama where he played his tail off until Alabama stormed back into that game. Whatever their record will be … his stats won’t be enough to win the Heisman.
Kyler Murray threw for 4,000 yards to win the Heisman. Fromm threw for almost 1,500 yards less and 10 less touchdowns. Fromm also struggled against Texas in the All-State Sugar Bowl. Texas playing in the Big 12, a conference known for not very good defense.
Sam Ehlinger – Texas +2000
Ehlinger flashes moments of stardom. Last season, he had four games throwing for over 300 yards passing. On the year, he threw for 3,292 yards, 25 touchdowns, throwing five interceptions.
Here’s the problem. He’s too inconsistent. Earlier last season, Ehlinger had a stretch of poor play where Texas was able to sneak by worse teams. If he’s going to win the Heisman, he’s got to play like he played towards the end of last season. I believe he’ll be too inconsistent to receive the Heisman award.
Shea Patterson – +3000
There’s so much buzz around Shea Patterson of Michigan, even after losing to Florida 41-15 in the Peach Bowl last year. Ohio State’s Urban Meyer retired from coaching, leading many to believe that Michigan is the front-runner to win the Big 10. If Michigan is able to win the Big 10, Shea Patterson will easily be the front-runner for the Heisman. That would be an incredible feat. Again, what scares me are his stats. They’re not eye-popping at all. Last season, he threw for 2,600 yards, good for 60th in college football. He threw for 22 touchdowns along with seven interceptions. He, like some of the other candidates, can make plays with his feet too. But those stats will not bring a Heisman to Michigan and Patterson.
Joe Burrow – LSU +4000
LSU exceeded expectations last season. They were projected win 7.5 games on the year. Instead, they won 10. This was largely due to Joe Burrow’s emergence at LSU’s new quarterback after transferring from Ohio State. LSU’s defense played a large part as well but Burrow’s decision making and big play ability put him on the Heisman watch. LSU has always been known for their running backs. They have plenty of guys in the backfield ready for some workload. Burrow won’t be able to put up Heisman-like stats for LSU, but he might be able to put up enough wins for a trip to the College Football Playoff. I’m sure he’d prefer that anyway.
Feleipe Franks – Florida +10000
Franks competes in the SEC. Late last season, he made great decisions with the ball, throwing. He also has the ability to beat you with his legs. If you go on FanDuel to put your futures bet for the Heisman through, Franks isn’t even listed. Again, playing in the SEC, he will not be able to put up the numbers that would win him the Heisman award. Florida will have a tough year ahead, playing the first game against Miami. They’ll escape Alabama this season, but they’ll go up against LSU, Georgia, Auburn, and Miami. His numbers will have to stand out in a tough competition against elite college football defenses.
Trevor Lawrence – Clemson +200
Tua Tagovailoa – Alabama +350
Of course, Lawrence and Tagovailoa have a chance to win the Heisman award. I’m not going to leave them off this list! Previous history shows that favorites don’t normally win the Heisman award. I love history. I love analytics.
I hope you appreciate this break down of the 2019 Heisman Futures. You don’t have to agree with me! Let me know your thoughts on Twitter @Jason_Radowitz. I love a good friendly debate!