Written by: John Stocco
Folks, we’re so close to having Saturday’s being back to football days. Just a couple weeks away from a terrific season and here is a list of 10 players to get familiar with when it comes to everyone’s favorite and probably the most popular individual reward in sports. The Heisman.
Trevor Lawerence: Clemson, QB.
Some say Trevor Lawerence is the best quarterback prospect to come out of college since Andrew Luck in 2012, and I would agree. Lawrence is a natural. Arm strength, accuracy, ability to read coverages, he is going to get better, he’s going to be the favorite to win the Heisman, and he’s going to be a future number one overall pick. Clemson is a machine, and Lawrence is the one controlling it.
Tua Tagovailoa: Alabama, QB.
Tua was great last year, but you’re lying to yourself if you think he’s the perfect quarterback. The Tank for Tua campaign is nonsense. He played really well against bad teams, but when the tough got going Tua didn’t live up to the challenge. In fairness, he was dealing with a knee and ankle injury, but now this year he has to make his case. One, that he’s one of the best players in college, and two, he’s ready for the NFL. Without the shadow of Jalen Hurts behind him, and the talent surrounding him on the offensive side of the ball, Tua should have no problem putting up Heisman numbers.
Jonathan Taylor: Wisconsin, RB.
Death, taxes, and a Wisconsin running back that looks like an all-time great. After a tremendous freshman year, Taylor flew under the radar his sophomore season because of the overall underwhelming play by the Badgers in 2018. 2019 is looking different. Even though Wisconsin lost two offensive linemen to the draft, Taylor is a rising star, and with Wisconsin improving their play at quarterback this offseason it will give Taylor an opportunity to spread his wings and show just how dynamic of a player he can be in college and at the next level.
Justin Herbert: Oregon, QB
One of the most exciting quarterbacks to watch is Justin Herbert. The arm strength, athleticism, and the way he makes something out of nothing. When you watch Herbert play it looks like a tight end is back there behind center. He’s going to be one of the best quarterbacks to enter the draft, and he’s going to be one of the best players in all of college football. Oregon certainly has a chance to make the College Football Playoff, and those hopes will all be on Herbert’s arm.
Jake Fromm: Georgia, QB
I’m making my case right now. Jake Fromm is the best quarterback in the 2020 NFL Draft Class. The size, the accuracy, the way he finds his receivers and sets them up for big plays, the leadership, and the calmness that Fromm brings whenever he faces adversity is exactly what you want in a quarterback. Georgia has D’Andre Swift, but there’s a lot of young talent in that wide receiver room with not a ton of big-game experience. With a quarterback like Fromm who has improved every year, he will make them some of college football’s best receivers.
The Dark Horses
Adrian Martinez: Nebraska, QB.
Nebraska is my comeback team this season because of the Cornhuskers second season with Scott Frost and Adrian Martinez. For a true freshman, the numbers looked great. He had 17 touchdown passes, 8 touchdown rushes, and 3,235 total yards. Martinez showed typical freshman growing pains last season. Now with the game slowed down, and another year in the Scott Frost system I’m not only expecting Martinez to make a big jump to put this program back on the map, but I’m expecting this team to make a jump that lands them back in a bowl game.
Shea Patterson: Michigan, QB.
There are so many people that wanna bash Michigan, that wanna bash Jim Harbaugh, that wanna bash Shea Patterson, and quite frankly I’m sick of it. As a Harbaugh supporter, I know that time is running out, but 2019 is the perfect time for Michigan and Shea Patterson. By bringing in new offensive coordinator Josh Gattis it’s going to allow Shea Patterson to be in a spread system that allows him to play up to his potential. With all-pro wide receivers Tarik Black, and Donovan Peoples-Jones, Patterson has everything he needs to put up big numbers.
Jerry Jeudy: Alabama, WR.
A dark horse from Alabama? The best wide receiver in college football? Ok maybe Jeudy isn’t a dark horse, but when is the last time a wide receiver won the Heisman award? 1991, Desmon Howard. That’s why Jeudy is a dark horse. Jeudy is such a pleasure to watch on Saturdays. The way he separates from coverage, the way he accepts the football into his hands, and the way he makes everything look so easy is special. Whenever you have time watch Jerry Jeudy this season. I promise you it will be worth it.
Eno Benjamin: Arizona State, RB.
While everyone gushes over Jonathan Taylor and Travis Etienne, Eno Benjamin is going to be out west putting up big numbers. Taylor and Etienne have elite traits while Benjamin is very good in every part of the running game. To take that next step to be in the same category as a Taylor, Etienne, and Swift, he’ll need to show the scouting world that he can improve his explosiveness out of the backfield, and no matter how short or how big he is, I believe in Benjamin’s skill set to be just as good as those other running backs.
D’Eriq King: Houston, QB.
The best thing that’s ever happened to King was the Cougars hiring Dana Holgorson. The air raid offense has landed in Houston and D’Eriq King is about to put college football fans on notice, and the crazy thing is, King has already put up ridiculous numbers. Last season where all the attention was given to Ed Oliver, and the team jacket, King scored 50 total touchdowns and 3,668 total yards. Now that he’s paired up with Dana Holgorsen the Cougars are expected to be a better football team, and D’Eriq King is expected to make a video game look realistic with the numbers he’s going to put up this season.