2021 NCAAF Early Heisman Candidates
After two weeks of NCAA football, a handful of early Heisman candidates are starting to emerge. Are there any worth buying stock in?
The college football season has gotten off to a fast start, as have several of the nation’s top players.
The case for Heisman usually starts early; the best of the best tend to stand out from the pack immediately. Let’s break down current betting favorites for college football’s most prestigious award, and see how realistic their chances may be.
Bryce Young – Alabama QB (+300)
With all the makings of a future star QB, Bryce Young has been very consistent in his first couple weeks of collegiate action. While he was benched in a blowout win this past weekend, Young still managed to complete 70% of his passes on a 175+ rating, while throwing 3+ TDs and 0 INTs in both of his first two games.
If he continues this pace and the Crimson Tide makes the playoffs like they’re accustomed to, the youngster should ease his way to the Heisman award. But this consistency is extremely rare, especially in first-year quarterbacks. Expect some bumps in the road, but a Top 3 finish for the future NFL stud.
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CJ Stroud – Ohio State QB (+1000)
Ohio State Buckeyes QB CJ Stroud showed in this past week’s loss to the #12 Oregon Ducks that he’s fully capable of putting up big-time numbers when he needs to.
After throwing for just under 500 yards and 65% completions, the freshman proved he belongs in this conversation. While Stroud has an abundance of weapons at his disposal to make him look good, it’s hard to maintain consistency as a freshman QB in a top-tier conference like the Big 10. Like Young, he can expect some obstacles along the way, but an overall great season that ends in a playoff run.
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Spencer Rattler – Oklahoma QB (+1000)
This is a “Bet on Spencer Rattler to Win the Heisman” article. The second-year Sooner starting QB started the season as the betting favorite and has dropped to +1000 after a couple of “good, not great” performances.
In my opinion, this is the lowest Rattler’s odds will get. The veteran QB has played through a Big 12 schedule once before and knows what to expect this time around. Oklahoma looks poised to make an unbeaten run, and this would only further boost Rattler’s chances. Expect the Sooner QB to start booming very soon and shooting up the odds boards.
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DJ Uiagalelei – Clemson QB (+2000)
The ‘Replace Trevor Lawrence’ project has gotten off to an underwhelming start under first-time starting QB DJ Uiagalelei. The new Clemson Tigers QB looked awful in primetime Week 1 against the Georgia Bulldogs, and followed that up with a very blasé showing this past weekend against South Carolina State.
While this can 100% be credited to growing pains as a new starter, it does not bode well for his near future. Uiagalelei may develop into a great QB in college and the pros, but this development is going to be gradual. This isn’t the year for DJ to win the Heisman.
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CJ Verdell – Oregon RB (+3000)
Junior workhorse tailback CJ Verdell has had absolutely no fear so far this season. He carried the ball 18 and 20 times respectively in the Oregon Ducks’ first two games. Saturday night against #3 Ohio State, Verdell utilized those 20 carries as well as three receptions to rack up 195 total scrimmage yards. The Oregon staple has been doing this for a few years now in Eugene, and a primetime showing-out party should finally put him in the national spotlight.
Despite being a non-QB going for a predominantly QB-heavy award, CJ’s time is coming, and this could be his year to make a serious push. Expect him to make a run at the Top 3.
This is a tremendous year for talent in college sports as a whole. Covid-19 prompted the NCAA to offer all student-athletes an extra year of eligibility, which means that players can now stay longer; as a result, there are more players in the ranks than ever before. This talent overload isn’t something to complain about, but enjoyed on a weekly basis. So do that, right after you take some Heisman futures. Good luck!
*All odds from Caesars Sportsbooks (formerly William Hill)