Not many people could have predicted that DeVonta Smith would go out and do what he did, leading himself to a Heisman. He dominated all regular season and his 2 playoff games, becoming the first receiver to win the award since Desmond Howard in 1991.
As we look toward the 2021 season, let’s meet the top 5 favorites to win the award this year.
Spencer Rattler, Oklahoma QB
Rattler earned himself a nod on the Freshman All-America Team in 2020, and no one expects any less for his sophomore season. He’s the first Oklahoma University quarterback to win the award since Sam Bradford in 2007. Bradford later led the Sooners to a national title game, while also winning the Hiesman.
Rattlers top target, Marvin Mims, is also a freshman and will be a Sooner for his sophomore year. Mims was Rattlers top target in 2020, with 37 receptions, 610 yards and 9 touchdowns.
With a bulk of Oklahoma’s 2020 offense returning, it’s not a shock to see Rattler with such high expectations. You can expect Rattler to be in the conversation all year and expect the Sooners to be competing for a national title.
D.J. Uiagalelei, Clemson QB
Uiagalelei proved he is a competitor with a comeback win in an emergency start against Boston College. He followed that with a fantastic performance in a tough double overtime loss at No. 4 Notre Dame.
Uiagelelei passed for 439 yards and 2 touchdowns. Although they came out with a loss he not only proved his worth and his ability to be Clemson’s replacement for Trevor Lawrence; he also showed his high level for potential in the future.
Especially now that Clemson’s top receiver Justyn Ross is set to rejoin the team after missing the 2020 season for a surgery on his neck and spine. The future, once again, is looking very bright for Clemson.
Sam Howell, North Carolina QB
Since flipping his commitment from Florida State to North Carolina, Howell has been one of the best players in the ACC and maybe in the country.
After a record breaking freshman season Howell was still able to improve his completion percentage and his yards per pass attempt. However, with the loss of his running back and a handful of key receivers, North Carolina will rely heavily on their very high rated 2021 recruiting class.
In 2021, Howell will have to lead a team in ways he’s never done before. Especially if North Carolina wants to shake things up in the College Football Playoffs. No one doubts his ability to do so and if he does he’ll definitely stick around in the Hiesman conversation.
Bryce Young, Alabama QB
Young wasn’t much of an impact to Alabama’s historic 2020 season, the freshman only had 22 pass attempts and 13 completions. With Mac Jones entering the NFL draft, Young is the man now.
At Mater Dei High School Young threw more than 13,000 yards and 152 TDs. Young is currently considered the most talented player Alabama has signed since Julio Jones and is tied for the highest ranked recruit since 2005.
With DeVonta Smith, Jaylen Waddle and Najee Harris all going pro, Alabama has the highest ranked recruiting class of all time coming in for the 2021 season. Alabama is set up for yet another College Football Playoff appearance and a favorite for 4th championship in the playoff era.
Kedon Slovis, University of Southern California QB
It only took 6 games for Slovis to throw for 1700 yards and 17 TDs. He also threw for over 300 yards in 5 of those games.
Slovis led USC to their first 5-0 start since 2006, along with their first Pac-12 title game since 2017. However the Trojans fell short in their title game against the Oregon Ducks.
Drake London played the role as the Trojans number 1 receiver and he is returning for his Junior season. Slovis and the Trojans face their first test on Sept. 4 against a 1 loss San Jose St. team. The Trojans also play at Notre Dame on October 23 in a game that could possibly have serious Hiesman and CFP implications.