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The 2020 Heisman Trophy presentation will be held Tuesday evening, the first virtual showcase of the award, less than a week before the National Championship game. The four finalists for this season’s Heisman are Mac Jones and DaVonta Smith of Alabama, Trevor Lawrence from Clemson, and Florida’s Kyle Trask.
Smith is the presumptive favorite on the eve of the announcement and would become the first wide receiver to win since Desmond Howard in 1991, and just the fourth ever. The other three finalists are all quarterbacks, who usually win the award.
Quarterbacks also dominate the early betting odds for next year. Let’s take a look at the top candidates for next year’s Heisman, starting with the odds-on favorite.
Spencer Rattle, QB, Oklahoma (+300)
Rattler is the next in line of high-profile quarterbacks under Lincoln Riley in Norman. Riley has produced the likes of Baker Mayfield, Kyler Murray, and Jalen Hurts, all of whom are playing in the NFL.
The redshirt freshman Rattler took over for Hurts this season. He led the Big 12 in passing yards and touchdowns, en route to a Big 12 Championship victory over Iowa State and a blowout win over Florida in the Cotton Bowl.
D.J. Uiagalelei, QB, Clemson(+400)
Uiagalelei briefly became a household name in 2020 when he took over for Lawrence on Halloween. Lawrence tested positive for Covid-19, exposing Uiagalelei to the nation in games against Boston College and Notre Dame.
During that stretch, the freshman went 1-1, falling to the Irish in double overtime, before handing the reins back to Lawrence to finish out the season. Lawrence is expected to be the top overall pick in next April’s NFL Draft, opening the door for Uiagalelei to lead the Tigers in 2021.
Sam Howell, QB, North Carolina (+600)
The Tar Heels running backs garnered most of the national attention in 2020, especially after a record-breaking performance against Miami on December 12. Michael Carter and Javonte Williams parlayed their success into early-entries to the NFL Draft as UNC will look to build off their 8-win season and an appearance in the Orange Bowl. But Howell should not go unnoticed either.
The Tar Heels’ QB led the ACC in passing yards and touchdowns. He’ll enter his third full year starting as a player-of-the-year candidate.
D’Eriq King, QB, Miami (+750)
King was in the news quite a bit last week. First, he announced he’d be returning to The U for another season after transferring from Houston before the 2020 campaign. He then tore his ACL in Miami's Cheez-It Bowl loss to Oklahoma State last Tuesday.
King is still expected to be ready for the start of 2021 and, judging by these odds, will be expected to lead Miami back into the Top 10.
ACC quarterbacks occupy most of this list, but Alabama QB Bryce Young and USC’s Kedon Slovis aren’t far behind. These odds will undoubtedly change, and keep in mind that Joe Burrow and DeVonta Smith were longshots before their breakout years.
In the coming weeks and months, we’ll highlight some longer-odd options to keep an eye on before you place a wager.