3 Dark Horse Heisman Trophy Candidates With Longer Opening Odds Than Joe Burrow Ahead of the 2020-21 Season
By Zach Brunner
Heading into the 2019-20 college football season, the odds for the 2019 Heisman Trophy predicted a two-horse race, with Clemson's Trevor Lawrence and Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa being heavy favorites, according to FanDuel Sportsbook. Once all the dust settled, there was one quarterback that was clearly deserving of that award, which was LSU's Joe Burrow, who was nothing more than a long shot to win the award early on with +5000 odds.
Looking ahead to next season, there are some obvious names to include near the top of the odds to win the Heisman, but it's much more interesting to discuss the dark horses that could take the country by storm, much like Burrow did. Here's a look at three players that could win the 2020 Heisman, who have the same, or worse, odds that Burrow opened the 2019 Heisman race with last offseason.
3. Chuba Hubbard, RB, Oklahoma State (+5000)
Chuba Hubbard was one of the best running backs in the country this season, leading the nation in rushing yards (2,094), attempts (328) and tied for third in rushing touchdowns (21). The speedster is a touchdown threat from anywhere on the field, and he is only expected to improve, heading into his junior season. It's been a tough award for running backs to win in recent years, but if there's any RB in the country primed to do it next season it, it would likely be Hubbard.
2. Alabama's Starting Quarterback
Any player starting for the Crimson Tide needs to be considered a candidate for the Heisman, but since the situation is currently unclear, it could be any of three likely QBs on Alabama's 2020-21 roster. Mac Jones (+2500) finished the 2019-20 season as the starter, but it's hard to ignore the talent of younger QBs Taulia Tagovailoa and Bryce Young at +6000 and +5000, respectively. Tagovailoa has been in the system as a pro-style passer, just like his older brother Tua Tagovailoa was, while Young was the top dual-threat QB recruit this season. Their skill sets are both elite, though very different, which makes this situation relatively unclear. However, if either Young or Tagovailoa can catch the eye of Nick Saban and the Tide offense, either of them could piloting one of the most talented returning offenses in the country next season.
1. Sean Clifford, QB, Penn State (+10000)
Speaking of dual-threat quarterbacks, Penn State's Sean Clifford has the opportunity to be one of the best in the nation next season. In his sophomore season, he passed for 2,654 yards, 23 touchdowns and seven interceptions, while adding another 402 yards and five touchdowns on the ground. The Nittany Lions also return their second-leading receiver in TE Pat Freiermuth, so Clifford should have a go-to weapon on top of Penn State's returning younger talent at the WR positions in order to make a Heisman leap next season.
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