Heisman Trophy Finalists: Why Each Candidate Should and Shouldn't Win

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Heisman Trophy Finalists: Why Each Candidate Should and Shouldn't Win

Heisman Trophy Watch

Heisman Trophy Finalists: Why Each Candidate Should and Shouldn't Win


Who are the likely finalists for the 2020 Heisman Trophy? Here’s the best projection along with why each should and shouldn’t win.

2020 Heisman Finalist Prediction

Contact/Follow @PeteFiutak

Joe Burrow made this easy last season, and Kyler Murray was a bit of a no-brainer in 2018. This year’s Heisman race, though, is as wide-open as it gets.

There’s no obvious signature star who made the 2020 season all his.

In a perfect world we get to vote on the Heisman after the season is over – the Heisman race might be vastly different depending on who wins the national championship and how – but that’s not how this works.

In alphabetical order …

QB Mac Jones, Alabama

Resumé: 76.5% completion, 3,739 yards, 32 TDs, 4 INTs, 11.4 yards per throw, 202.34 rating, 1 rushing TD

Why he should win the Heisman: He’s the nation’s most efficient passer, he finished as the nation’s most accurate passer among the top quarterbacks, and he was brilliant when he had to be. He threw a pick in the SEC Championship against Florida, but he also threw for 418 yards and five touchdowns, hitting 77% of his throws.

Why he shouldn’t win the Heisman: Is he the nation’s best passer in yards per game? No. Is he even the SEC’s best passer? Not really. Is he the guy who just so happened to be driving the souped-up car that all but drives itself? Yeah. It’s not a knock to call a Heisman-caliber quarterback Gino Torretta – Torretta really was good – but he’s the comp.

Will he win the Heisman? Very, very maybe. At the very least he’s going to finish No. 2 if he doesn’t win it as the GUY who ran the TEAM of the 2020 regular season.

QB Trevor Lawrence, Clemson

Resumé: 69% completion, 2,753 yards, 22 TDs, 4 INTs, 9.8 yards per attempt, 172.67 rating, 211 rushing yards, 7 TDs

Why he should win the Heisman: He’s the most talented player in college football. He’s the veteran who has seen it all, done it all, and won it all. He threw an interception but also threw for 322 yards and two touchdowns in the easy win over Notre Dame in the ACC Championship. However …

Why he shouldn’t win the Heisman: He missed the big game before the big game. It wasn’t his fault, but he was out for the regular season game that mattered against the Irish and DJ Uiagalelei was brilliant as his replacement. It was a great year for Lawrence, but it wasn’t Heisman-special.

Will he win the Heisman? No, but in a few short months the Jacksonville Jaguars will make him very, very rich.

WR DeVonta Smith, Alabama

Resumé: 98 catches for 1,511 yards and 17 touchdowns, averaging 15.42 yards per catch, 8 punt returns for 199 yards and a score.

Why he should win the Heisman: Dynamic, he ripped up Georgia for 167 yards and two scores, hit LSU for 231 yards and three touchdowns, and in the SEC Championship, he caught 15 passes for 184 yards and two scores in the win over Florida. Jaylen Waddle might have gone done early, but Smith still produced no matter who focused on him.

Why he shouldn’t win the Heisman: Wide receiver, schmide receiver. Not to be harsh, but take Smith off of Alabama and who’s the No. 1 seed in the College Football Playoff? Alabama. Did he lead the SEC in receiving yards per game? No, that was Ole Miss star. Elijah Moore. Did he lead the SEC in catches per game? No, that was Moore, who led both of those categories by a relative mile.

Will he win the Heisman? He’ll be on almost everyone’s ballot and will come really, really, really close, but he’ll likely finish a solid second or close third.

QB Kyle Trask, Florida

Resumé: 70% completion, 4,125 yards, 43 TDs, 5 INTs, 186.55 rating, 50 rushing yards, 3 TDs

Why he should win the Heisman: Who led the SEC in passing? Trask. Who led in TD passes? Trask. Who’s on the same yard and touchdown pass pace as 2019 Joe Burrow, but against an all-SEC schedule? Trask. Who carried the Gators to the brink of an SEC Championship against an Alabama team with three Heisman finalists? Trask.

Why he shouldn’t win the Heisman: Florida didn’t win the SEC Championship and isn’t in the College Football Playoff. It’s not Trask’s fault – blame the Gator defense – but it’s a factor. He only threw five interceptions, but the pick-sixes against Texas A&M and LSU weren’t killers, but they were costly.

Will he win the Heisman? No, but he could slip into the No. 2 spot depending on how voters think of Smith.

2020 Heisman Prediction

Again, not necessarily my ballot – this is a projection and prediction.

1. QB Mac Jones, Alabama
2. WR DeVonta Smith, Alabama
3. QB Kyle Trask, Florida
4. QB Trevor Lawrence, Clemson


More College Football News