Who can challenge Tua Tagovailoa for the Heisman Trophy?

Dan Halverson

October 9th, 2019

The Heisman race is really starting to get interesting. Clemson quarterback and preseason Heisman favorite Trevor Lawrence is all but out of the race, and other preseason fringe contenders have also fallen by the wayside. Clemson running back Travis Etienne has also turned into a longshot, as have Michigan QB Shea Patterson and Oregon QB Justin Herbert. Missouri QB Kelly Bryant is injured and out, and Alabama running back Najee Harris has watched his quarterback, current Heisman favorite Tua Tagovailoa, get all the glory.

2019 Heisman Trophy odds

Tua Tagovailoa
Joe Burrow
Jalen Hurts
Justin Fields
Jonathan Taylor
Jake Fromm
Justin Herbert
J.K. Dobbins
Sam Ehlinger
Jerry Jeudy
With all of these players moving out of the way, who else other than Tagovailoa has really stepped up and exhibited Heisman-quality play? The best answer to this question is undoubtedly LSU quarterback Joe Burrow. Burrow transferred from Ohio State and after a decent but not overwhelming 2018 at LSU, is absolutely on fire at this point in the season.

Burrow leads the nation in completion percentage (78.4%). This is an incredible percentage and roughly six points higher than the leading quarterback in any season in recent history. It is highly unlikely Burrow keeps up that pace, as the competition is about to get much more difficult, but what he's done thus far should not be understated. It is also worth mentioning that he has thrown for 1,824 yards and 22 touchdowns through five games. In 2018, Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray accounted for 1,460 passing yards and 21 touchdowns through five games.
The other player who has benefited greatly from both his success and the failures of others is Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields. Fields entered the season at +1200, even though he never started a college game. He was the No. 1 recruit in the country from his high school class, and now that he's been given snaps and the keys to the Ohio State arsenal, he is proving to be worthy of the hype.

Fields has thrown for 1,298 yards and 18 touchdowns, but he has also run for another eight scores. As Ohio State continues to trounce Big Ten opponents, Fields' accomplishments will be a leading story on all the highlight shows. With more big-time showdowns on the horizon, against Penn State and Michigan, it will be interesting to watch his odds moving forward. They are almost assuredly not going to be getting any higher.

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