Heisman Watch 2019: Predictions for All Candidates in Award Race

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistDecember 13, 2019

LSU quarterback Joe Burrow throws a pass during the second half of the team's NCAA college football game against Texas A&M in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Nov. 30, 2019. LSU won 50-7. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Gerald Herbert/Associated Press

The 2019 Heisman Trophy ceremony will be devoid of much drama. 

LSU quarterback Joe Burrow is viewed as the overwhelming favorite to take home the award Saturday in New York City.

That is a stark contrast to a year ago, when Kyler Murray used a late-season surge to overtake Tua Tagovailoa for the prestigious honor. 

The senior signal-caller is joined by Oklahoma's Jalen Hurts and Ohio State teammates Justin Fields and Chase Young as finalists. 

With Burrow expected to win, the most intrigue Saturday will come when the full ballot is released to see how many first-place votes he received and which order the other stars landed in. 


Heisman Trophy Predictions

1. Joe Burrow, QB, LSU 

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - DECEMBER 07: Joe Burrow #9 of the LSU Tigers runs with the ball in the second half against the Georgia Bulldogs during the SEC Championship game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 07, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/G
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Heisman could have been shipped to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, a month ago. 

Burrow's 393-yard, three-touchdown performance in the 46-41 win over Alabama rocketed him to favorite status. 

Before November 9, the top Heisman contenders were bunched up a bit, but since then, it has been the LSU quarterback's award to lose. 

He followed up the victory over the Crimson Tide with four additional 300-yard outings, and he capped off his Heisman campaign with 349 yards and four touchdowns in the SEC Championship Game. 

On Thursday, the senior took home the Maxwell and Davey O'Brien Awards, which are handed out to the best overall player in college football and top quarterback, respectively. 

Since 2014, all but one Maxwell winner has not captured the Heisman, and that was Tagovailoa in 2018. 

Burrow is expected to join Marcus Mariota, Derrick Henry, Lamar Jackson and Baker Mayfield as recent recipients of the two top honors. 


2. Jalen Hurts, QB, Oklahoma

ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 07: Jalen Hurts #1 of the Oklahoma Sooners runs the ball against the Baylor Bears in the fourth quarter of the Big 12 Football Championship at AT&T Stadium on December 7, 2019 in Arlington, Texas. Oklahoma won 30-23. (Photo by Ron
Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

Jalen Hurts will not bring home Oklahoma's third straight Heisman, but he could finish second behind Burrow. 

The transfer from Alabama earned 3,634 passing yards, 1,255 rushing yards and 50 total touchdowns in his first season with the Sooners. 

Hurts only accounted for one score in the Big 12 Championship Game, but he still produced 325 total yards in the overtime win over Baylor. 

In five of his 13 appearances, the senior ran and threw for multiple touchdowns, which is one of the few stats that sets him apart from the other finalists. 

There is a chance those numbers earned him a few first-place votes, but if he gets more than a handful, it will be shocking given how dominant Burrow has been. 

What could separate Hurts from Fields and Young is he does not have a teammate to steal votes from him. 

Some voters may have thought Fields was the Buckeyes' best player, while others could make the argument in Young's favor. 

That may lead to neither receiving enough first-or-second-place votes to finish high in the final results, which could benefit Hurts.  


3. Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - DECEMBER 07: Justin Fields #01 of the Ohio State Buckeyes throws a pass in the Big Ten Championship game against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 07, 2019 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Justin Casterlin
Justin Casterline/Getty Images

Fields and Young are the first pair of teammates named as finalists since Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield and Dede Westbrook in 2016. 

Like Hurts, Fields produced 50 total touchdowns, with 40 coming through the air and 10 on the ground. 

But the transfer from Georgia only had 471 rushing yards to go along with his 2,953 passing yards. 

He has a smaller ground total than Hurts because Ohio State possesses a more dominant running back in J.K. Dobbins, who is third in the FBS in rushing yards. 

Fields was fairly clean with the ball, as he had a single interception on 308 passing attempts, as well as a 67.5 completion percentage. 

The Ohio State sophomore lost three fumbles against Penn State and Wisconsin, but he overcame the turnovers to lead his squad to victories. 

In the last three contests, Fields produced 789 passing yards and nine touchdowns to secure the Buckeyes' playoff position. 

With Burrow and Hurts leaving and Young expected to enter the NFL draft as a junior, Fields should enter 2020 as the player with the most Heisman votes on his resume. 


4. Chase Young, DE, Ohio State 

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - DECEMBER 07: Chase Young #02 of the Ohio State Buckeyes in action in the Big Ten Championship game against the Wisconsin Badgers at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 07, 2019 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty
Justin Casterline/Getty Images

If the Heisman voting ended after Ohio State's November 23 win over Penn State, Young may have garnered a good chunk of second-place votes. 

In the last two games, the first defensive line Heisman finalist since 2009 struggled to make an impact. 

The junior failed to record a tackle in the win over Michigan and he did not sack Wisconsin's Jack Coan in the Big Ten Championship Game. 

Although he had 1.5 tackles for loss in Indianapolis, the performance was still disappointing compared to the high standard he set with seven sacks in back-to-back meetings with the Badgers and Penn State. 

Those performances combined with the two games he missed during a suspension could hurt Young's final vote total. 

No matter where he finishes, Young will be the highest-placing defensive player in a Heisman vote since Notre Dame's Manti Te'o was second in 2012 to Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel.


Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90

Statistics obtained from ESPN.com