Even though the PAC-12 and BIG 10 will not take the field this fall, there are still plenty of players who could bring home the Heisman Trophy this season. With Week One coming up this weekend, let’s take a look at the hopefuls this season out of teams who play this fall.
8. D’Eriq King, QB, Miami
King has had a very difficult time recently. He grew up in the Houston area and attended the University of Houston to play football. Then his mother was diagnosed with cancer and he tragically lost his father right after he transferred from Houston to Miami. He goes into this season as Miami’s number one guy and the quarterback has more Lamar Jackson in him than anything. His best season was in 2018 where he threw for 36 touchdowns and ran for 14 touchdowns. If he can return to his form in 2018, he should definitely be in New York as a Heisman finalist. He has had a rough go of it and he will be very easy to cheer for this season as he tries to take the Hurricanes back to the top.
7. Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
A wide receiver has not won the Heisman Trophy since Desmond Howard in 1991, but Waddle has the characteristics to win it. He is extremely fast and can be a massive threat deep and in the return game, which was a big factor in Howard’s Heisman run in the 90s. Waddle has been behind Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs in the Alabama depth chart. Since both of them were drafted this year, he has the chance to be the guy along with DeVonta Smith. He took both a punt return and a kickoff back for the Tide last season, and his blazing speed will be featured in the return game again this year for sure.
6. Sam Howell, QB, North Carolina
Howell blew up last season as a freshman for the North Carolina Tar Heels. He threw for 3,641 yards and 38 touchdowns, again, as a freshman, in the ACC. He led the Tar Heels to only a 7-6 record, but they had only 5 wins in the two years prior. In his last four games, he threw 16 touchdowns and only two interceptions, including a Military Bowl win over Temple. He didn’t have as much hype as Trevor Lawrence after his freshman year but remember his name. He can create plays from the backfield and has a cannon.
He carried UNC last season and it seems like it could be the same this season. Mack Brown has his guy to take them to the next level. With a weaker ACC and only Clemson and newcomer Notre Dame threatening for the crown, watch out for Howell to sling it around and go on a run.
5. Ian Book, QB, Notre Dame
Ian Book has had an interesting run at Notre Dame. Last season, he threw for over 3,000 yards and 34 touchdowns, but after the Michigan debacle, many fans were calling for his head in favor of backup Phil Jurkovec. But the next week, he quieted those haters, literally. He ran his first successful two-minute drill and topped it off with a rushing touchdown in the last minute. He then proceeded to shush the Notre Dame crowd.
Since then, he threw for 17 touchdowns and only two interceptions including a Camping World Bowl win over Iowa State. He also has his offensive line returning and his quarterback coach, Tommy Rees, as his offensive coordinator. Rees has been on record saying how much faith he has in Book. This is the dark horse for the Heisman race. He is playing a weaker schedule in the ACC and has playmakers outside, even though he lost Chase Claypool and Cole Kmet to the NFL.
4. Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson
The Heisman Trophy has been a quarterback award recently with only one running back winning it in the last decade, but Etienne has a solid chance at it this season. Etienne has shown he has elite speed and quickness along with the ability to hit the home run. He ran for 19 touchdowns averaging 7.8 yards per carry last season for a Clemson who made it to the national championship. Even with one returning starter on the offensive line, Etienne is still poised for a massive year. The only roadblock for him, in his Heisman run, is that his quarterback, Trevor Lawrence, is the front runner.
3. Chuba Hubbard, RB, Oklahoma St.
Canadian running back Chuba Hubbard goes into this season as a legitimate threat for the Heisman. He ran for 21 touchdowns and over 2,000 yards last season and his speed is a major problem for Big 12 defenses. He was eighth in Heisman voting last season and will only go up this year. Oklahoma State depended on him heavy last season and that will not change. All his lineman return this year, so watch out for Hubbard.
2. Spencer Rattler, QB, Oklahoma
Redshirt freshman Spencer Rattler has not started a game yet for the Sooners, but the hype is already there. He has sat behind Heisman winner Kyler Murray and Jalen Hurts in his two years at Oklahoma. His head coach Lincoln Riley has been a quarterback guru recently making Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray Heisman winners. He also went to the College Football Playoff with Jalen Hurts. He is only ranked so high because Lincoln Riley’s track record with Heisman Trophies and QBs, even though Rattler has barely touched the field.
1. Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
The Clemson quarterback is undoubtedly the Heisman favorite going into this season. He would’ve won it last season if Joe Burrow didn’t turn into the “Tiger King” and throw for 60 touchdowns. Lawrence has all the tools to take his game to the next level and has shown he is an extremely special talent since he took over for Kelly Bryant. It doesn’t matter who he is throwing to he makes everyone look better. There isn’t much to say other than this guy has what it takes.