Oklahoma Quarterback Spencer Rattler and Alabama Quarterback Bryce Young Lead a List of 2021 Heisman Hopefuls

One thing the Heisman Trophy has taught us is that favorites going into the year rarely win.

This time last year, the Heisman favorite was former Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, but the 2020 winner was former Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith.

This year’s batch of Heisman favorites features a lot of familiar names. Will one of them win, or will another dark-horse candidate emerge?

Spencer Rattler, quarterback, Oklahoma

Quarterback Spencer Rattler of the Oklahoma Sooners eyes the Florida Gators defense during the third quarter|Tom Pennington/Getty Images

According to Vegas Insider, the top Heisman candidate going into this season is the OU quarterback, which shouldn’t be a shock to anyone. Rattler threw for over 3,000 yards, 28 touchdowns, and only seven interceptions. 

A Sooner quarterback being a Heisman winner is normal. Both NFL quarterbacks Kyler Murray and Baker Mayfield won Heismans while at OU. Murray won in 2018, and Mayfield won the year before.

In both those years, the Sooners also went to the College Football Playoff. If Rattler can put up big numbers again this year, he will not only have a good chance to win the Heisman but may also lead his team to the national championship.

D.J. Uiagalelei, quarterback, Clemson

The Tigers have another quarterback in the mix for the Heisman who shined in the games he played in last year. When Trevor Lawrence was out a few games after he was diagnosed with COVID-19, Uiagalelei stepped in his place.

In Clemson’s biggest regular-season game of the year, which was a close 47-40 loss in overtime to Notre Dame, he threw for 439 yards and two touchdown passes.

Uiagalelei coming into that game and playing well proved that despite Lawrence moving on to the NFL, there won’t be a drop-off at the quarterback position this year.

Bryce Young, quarterback, Alabama

In 2021, Alabama had three Heisman candidates: quarterback Mac Jones, running back Najee Harris, and eventual Heisman-winning wide receiver DeVonta Smith.

Young is high on the 2021 Heisman list because of what he brings to the table. Since he stepped on campus in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, expectations have been high.

When Young entered in mop-up duty for Jones, Alabama head coach Nick Saban didn’t let the quarterback do much. But he did shine with the only touchdown pass he threw last season, wowing Bama fans and forcing the college football world to take notice.

Not only can Young throw, but he is mobile as well. He is expected to lead the Tide to back-to-back national championships.

Heisman Dark Horses

A few dark horses always come out of nowhere.

Georgia quarterback JT Daniels threw for over 1,200 yards and 10 touchdown passes in limited action for the Bulldogs last year. He may be the key to Georgia winning the national championship if he can stay healthy.

Running backs aren’t often mentioned as Heisman candidates. The last running back to win the award was Derrick Henry of Alabama, but that could change this year with Iowa State’s Breece Hall. 

Hall averaged 131 yards per game and scored almost two touchdowns per contest. His Heisman hopes depend on how well the Cyclones play this year and whether he is the main reason they succeed. 

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