You’re probably here because it seems totally outrageous that someone other than Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa or Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray could even possibly be in the conversation to win the Heisman Trophy this season. If you are, then you’re exactly the person I wanted to talk to.
Unfortunately, this is going to turn that conversation upside down because not only is making the case for Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins simpler than most people realize, it’s almost too easy when you step back and look at his complete body of work this season.
Taking over for J.T. Barrett, who finished his OSU career as the Big Ten’s all-time career leader in total yards and total touchdowns, Haskins wasn’t expected to be such a breakout star with unfair expectations set forth by head coach Urban Meyer.
Not only did Haskins exceed those expectations, carry his team through the ugliest scandal of the college football season without their head coach, and lead the Ohio State Buckeyes to their second-straight conference championship, but he did it in grand style.
Haskins surpasses both Tagovailoa and Murray in several areas, and when you break it down like this, there’s no reason why he shouldn’t win the Heisman Trophy.
1. Numbers Never Lie
For much of the season, the argument against Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa’s efficiency throwing the football could not be made — Tagovailoa started the year with 18 passing touchdowns against 25 incompletions through the Crimson Tide’s first six games. The sophomore in Tuscaloosa finished second to Kyler Murray in passing efficiency on the season after a rough showing in the SEC Championship, which helped narrow the gap between these three QBs.
The quarterback with the most pass attempts, completions, passing yards, touchdown passes, 300+ yard games and 400+ yard games in 2018? That’d be Dwayne Haskins, who also finished third behind Tagovailoa and Murray in passing efficiency (175.8).
There’s no way that you can write off the statistical leader in the Heisman clubhouse, especially when Haskins went out and absolutely smashed the Big Ten’s single season record for passing yards (4,580) and passing touchdowns (47) with a 70.2-percent completion percentage.
2. Body of Work
Sure, let all the doubters go ahead and talk about how Ohio State lost by 29 points on the road to the Purdue Boilermakers and write off Haskins in the process. Did anybody watch Haskins in that game?
Haskins went 49-of-73 for 470 yards and two touchdowns — That 470 yards is more than either Tagovailoa or Murray put up in any one game this season. Sadly, the 6-foot-3, 220-pound quarterback can’t also play defense, or else Ohio State would be undefeated and competing in the College Football Playoff.
Arguably his best game of the year came in a 52-51 win over the Maryland Terrapins when Haskins went off for 464 total yards and six total touchdowns. He led the Buckeyes on a game-tying drive to send it to overtime where he’d plunge in for a 5-yard touchdown run that proved to be the game-winning score.
Still, with a 12-1 record, hanging 396 yards and six touchdowns on the Michigan Wolverine‘s top-ranked defense, plus going 34-of-41 for 499 yards and five touchdowns in the Big Ten Championship game against Northwestern cements Haskins claim that he carried this team all the way to a berth in the Rose Bowl.
3. Importance to the Team
The sophomore from Potomac, Maryland is second in the NCAA with 346 completions and 496 attempts — None of these Heisman finalists were more valuable to their program than Haskins was in 2018.
At Oklahoma, they just had a guy named Baker Mayfield just go off and win the Heisman Trophy in 2017, and the Sooners have had the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year on their team FOUR YEARS in a row. Oklahoma probably wouldn’t be where they are without Murray, sure, but Alabama could very easily still be undefeated without Tagovailoa.
Look what happened when Tua went down in the SEC title game — Jalen Hurts came in, and the Tide STILL won. Aside from last season’s national championship, Tagovailoa hasn’t been called upon to go out and actually win a game at the end for Alabama this season.
If Dwayne Haskins, who also is probably the most NFL-ready quarterback of the bunch, wasn’t playing at this level for the Buckeyes, where would they be?
The case for Haskins to win the Heisman Trophy in New York City on Saturday night is simple, easy and makes a ton of sense. Will the voters give it to him though? No way, especially when Tagovailoa and Murray will be facing off in the CFP semifinal.
It’s a shame that one of the best seasons by a Heisman Trophy finalist in recent history is going to be overlooked, but this season’s real MVP resides in Columbus. End of story.