21 for 2021 college football preseason topics: Who are the top Heisman candidates outside of the obvious main contenders?
Every year we go through this and every year the Heisman goes Heisman and goes wacky.
DeVonta Smith? A wide receiver? Really?!
Yeah, last year at this time everyone knew he was great, but no reasonable or rational human would’ve thought a wide receiver could win the Heisman – especially considering Jaylen Waddle was considered the Alabama’s bigger receiving star.
Joe Burrow? Really?!
Kyler Murray wasn’t a total stunner, but a school winning the Heisman two years in a row at the same position? Really?
From Lamar Jackson to Cam Newton to Johnny Manziel, more often than not the Heisman winners come from out of left field.
Who had the best year on one of the best teams? Who came up with a statistical blowout season that couldn’t be ignored?
Going into 2021, Oklahoma QB Spencer Rattler is the favorite followed closely by Clemson QB DJ Uiagalelei, Georgia QB JT Daniels and quarterbacks Bryce Young (Alabama), CJ Stroud (Ohio State), Sam Howell (North Carolina) and D’Eriq King (Miami).
As always, if possible, you take The Field if you can get it, but that’s a cop-out. Trying to throw spaghetti against the wall and find the next DeVonta, or Burrow, or Johnny Football, here are five Heisman candidates – outside of the obvious – that could be this year’s shocker, and the alternative choice at each spot when they aren’t.
Remember, these are the deep cuts, so …
5. QB Anthony Brown, Oregon
Part of the Heisman race is about rising up at the right moment when everyone is watching, and everyone will be watching …
September 11th at Ohio State. That’s the make-or-break moment the Pac-12, the Oregon season, and any crazy hopes of a Heisman run can take off.
Anthony Brown should be the main man, or it could be Jay Butterfield or any of the other terrific young options battling for the Duck quarterback spot. No matter who it is, the opportunity is there to make a splash for a team good enough to win the Pac-12 and get to the College Football Playoff.
This is a massive reach of a comp, but Oklahoma went to Columbus early in 2017 to face a strong Buckeye team. Baker Mayfield hit 77% of his passes for 386 yards and three touchdowns as he planted his flag into the Heisman race with the 31-16 win.
Brown is a former Boston College Eagle who transferred to Oregon last year, getting in a little time with two touchdown passes and running for two touchdowns. While he might not be the most accurate passer, he’s a mobile veteran who turned in a few good seasons before injuries derailed his career.
If Oregon gets rocked by the Buckeyes, then cheerfully ignore everything you just read and move on. But if there’s an upset, Brown and the Ducks become a much-watch.
Alternative Choice: Another somewhat overlooked quarterback who should have a massive season.
QB Tyler Shough, Texas Tech
All he did was win a Pac-12 title for Oregon last year, throwing for 1,559 yards and 13 touchdowns with six picks with two rushing touchdowns. But now he’s at Texas Tech where he’ll look to run the Matt Wells offense that’s supposed to be a whole lot better than it’s been in the first few years.
Shough has first round NFL Draft pick skills, and if he puts them together in a few big spotlight wins, he could be that out-of-the-blue statistical star who gets into the Heisman discussion.
– CFN 2021 Texas Tech Preview