The 2016 Heisman Trophy competition was one of the most Three of the clear candidates for the trophy heading into the season were obvious. LSU’s Leonard Fournette, Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey, and Clemson’s Deshaun Watson made for a star-loaded Heisman race, but the season showed once again that placing early bets on the Heisman Trophy can sometimes be quite the gamble.
Every year seems to have one player that may fly under the radar that gets off to a hot start and quickly rises into the thick of the conversation. Last season it was Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson. Despite a rough ending to the season, Jackson held onto the top spot in the Heisman chase and now returns in 2017 to try and do something only one player has ever done before; win a second Heisman Trophy.
It should come as no surprise Jackson is among the betting favorites to win the Heisman Trophy this upcoming college football season, but in order to make good on that promise he will have to do something that has not been done in decades, and recent repeat bids have not fared too well. Sam Bradford went down with a shoulder injury in his first game after his Heisman Trophy season. Matt Leinart lost to a teammate (Reggie Bush). Tim Tebow also fell short of a repeat bid, as did Mark Ingram. Winning a Heisman Trophy is hard. Winning two is darn near impossible. But can Jackson pull off the incredibly rare feat?
The odds would suggest it is certainly within reason, but history would suggest not. Jackson also has a pretty deep field to contend with this season as well with players like Baker Mayfield of Oklahoma, Saquon Barkley of Penn State, J.T. Barrett of Ohio State, and the rising star Sam Darnold of USC in the field. And that is just for starters. This year’s Heisman race also figures to have Jake Browning of Washington, Jalen Hurts of Alabama and Derrius Guice of LSU make some noise.
And do not forget about the players not being mentioned yet. Who are they? That is anybody’s guess. You would have had to dig deep to find anyone talking about Lamar Jackson as a Heisman contender, let alone a favorite, this time last year.
So place your bets wisely if you wish. You could strike gold, or just be wasting your money.