Since 1935, the Heisman Trophy has been awarded to college football’s most outstanding player. The first Heisman was University of Chicago running back Jay Berwanger. “The Flying Dutchman” was known for his versatility, accruing passing, rushing, kicking, and return stats during his playing career, while contributing in every other way feasible. Berwanger was also the first player drafted in the first ever NFL draft in 1936.
Good luck topping that resume.
Of the last 17 Heisman winners, 15 have played quarterback and the other two were Alabama running backs Mark Ingram and Derrick Henry. In the last 11 seasons, only one senior has earned the nation’s most coveted award; that was Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield last season.
This year, the award is up for grabs with no clear front-runner to win the award. OddsShark recently released these odds for every player with the best chance to win the 2018 Heisman Trophy.
The Early Favorites
1. Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin (+750)
- Taylor rushed for 1,977 yards in 2017, the second most yards ever by a freshman. After a 6th place finish in last year’s Heisman voting, Taylor is poised to break a lot more records, and maybe win a Heisman, too.
2. Bryce Love, RB, Stanford (+800)
- The 2009 USA Track and Field Athlete of the Year has found a niche in football. Love rushed for the 15th most yards ever last year (2,118 yards), and tacked on 19 TDs on the way to a Heisman runner-up finish. Expect Love’s 7.8 yards per carry career average to translate into a huge senior season for The Cardinal.
3. Jake Fromm, QB, Georgia (+1200)
- With one year under his belt, the SEC Freshman of the Year is ready to take over the Bulldogs offense graduating dynamic duo Sony Michel and Nick Chubb. ‘Running Back U’ is poised to become ‘Fromm U’ as long as the sophomore quarterback doesn’t have lingered effects from a broken non-throwing hand.
4. Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon (+1800)
- Before breaking a collarbone halfway through 2017, Herbert racked up 10 total touchdowns and a 3-1 record. After his injury, the Ducks lost four of their next five. Herbert returned, and Oregon finished 2-1, losing their bowl game to Boise State. The high-flying Oregon offense should eat up the Pac-12 under Herbert in 2018.
5. Will Grier, QB, West Virginia (+2000)
- While diving for a touchdown against Texas last season, Grier broke the middle finger on his throwing hand, ending his, and effectively, West Virginia’s season; WVU lost it’s last three by a combined 58 points. Only once in 2017 did Grier not throw for at least 300 yards. Expect huge numbers from the senior in 2018.
1. Tua Tagovailoa or Jalen Hurts, QB, Alabama
- Jalen carried the Crimson Tide to the CFP championship game, and Tua won it for them. Nick Saban keeps everything close to sleeve in Tuscaloosa, but one quarterback will more than likely be the full time starter when SEC play begins. Whoever that is likely leads the nation’s top program to another playoff berth, and Heisman nomination.
2. Kelly Bryant or Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
- 247 Sports lists freshman Trevor Lawrence as one of the greatest quarterback prospects of all-time; their composite score of 0.9999 earned Lawrence the No. 1 overall prospect nationally in 2018. Kelly Bryant threw for 13 touchdowns and added 11 more on the ground in 2017. Bryant owns the job, for now, but expect the highly touted Lawrence to be in the mix for the Tigers.
1. Trace McSorley, QB, Penn State
- No Saquon? No problem for James Franklin’s Nittany Lions. Through two seasons as the starter, Trace McSorley already owns seven Penn State records including total offense and total touchdowns, both in a season and a career. If Penn State wins the Big Ten, it’s because McSorley is leading the nation in a few categories, earning a Heisman bid.
2. Khalil Tate, QB, Arizona
- It’s time to take the training wheels off Tate in 2018. Following Arizona’s loss to Utah, Tate was named the starter. The next week, he went 12-for-13 passing, ran for 327 yards and tallied five total TDs against Colorado. Tate has a chance to be the next great dual-threat quarterback in college football.
3. Jake Browning, QB, Washington
- In 2016, Jake Browning finished sixth in the Heisman voting, only to fall off for a very average junior season; Washington finished 10-3, but Browning only compiled 2,719 yards and 19 touchdowns. As a senior, Browning and the Huskies could explode to win the Pac-12 again.
4. Jarrett Stidham, QB, Auburn
- After transferring from Baylor in 2015 following the Art Briles fiasco, Stidham’s first season at Auburn in 2017 merited First-Team All-SEC and SEC Newcomer of the Year honors. Throwing for 3,158 yards and 18 touchdowns sets up for a potentially big year for the junior.
1. Drew Lock, QB, Missouri
- Lock’s 44 passing touchdowns in 2017 broke the SEC record. Despite starting the season 1-5, Mizzou finished the year winning six in a row before dropping their bowl game to Texas. The senior is entering his fourth full-season as a starting quarterback, so expect Lock to make some noise in his final season with the Tigers.
2. D’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia
- The next great Georgia running back could be Swift, who played his freshman year last season behind the departed Nick Chubb and Sony Michel. It’s Jake Fromm’s show with the Bulldogs, but Swift, who averaged 7.6 yards per carry in 2017, has breakout potential in Georgia’s powerful offense.
3. McKenzie Milton, QB, UCF
- Is it the Scott Frost effect or are UCF and McKenzie Milton the real deal? After 4,650 total yards and 45 total touchdowns, the junior quarterback holds the answer in 2018. If he can duplicate last year, UCF might just earn the chance to actually compete for the CFP national title, and Milton could get his redemption with a Heisman trophy.