Deciphering the Heisman Trophy Race: Early Favorites and Dark Horses for the Season

As we gear up for another thrilling season, all eyes are fixed on the prestigious Heisman Trophy. The anticipation is palpable, isn’t it? You’re probably wondering who will be this year’s standout players, who will burst onto the scene as early favorites or quietly emerge as dark horses. Well, we’re here to take you on a journey, a deep dive, into the world of college football. We’ll analyze potential Heisman contenders, discuss their strengths, and suggest what to watch for in the coming season. So, sit back, relax, and let’s get started with this exciting exploration.


The ACC promises to be a fascinating spectacle, especially with top contenders like Florida State’s Jordan Travis, Clemson’s Cade Klubnik, and Will Shipley vying for the Heisman Trophy. The preseason hype surrounding QB Jordan Travis is immense, and rightfully so. He’s expected to galvanize the Seminoles in anticipated contests against big names like LSU and Clemson.

But let’s not overlook the Tigers’ duo: QB Cade Klubnik and RB Will Shipley. Klubnik, after a full offseason as the starting quarterback, could truly come into his own this term. And Shipley, undeniably the finest player on the Tigers, is set to make his mark.

Now, let’s turn our attention to North Carolina’s Drake Maye. A potential top NFL draft pick, Maye might lead the Tar Heels to the ACC title, backing up his Heisman-worthy numbers with significant wins.

Yet, the most intriguing prospect could be our dark horse, Jared Verse. The Florida State DE, possibly the best edge rusher in college football, could steal the limelight despite not being a quarterback.

Big 12

Leading the charge is Texas’s star quarterback, Quinn Ewers. Remember the flashes of brilliance he showed against Alabama pre-injury last season? That’s what makes him a top contender this year. If Ewers can hold off the challenge from the promising freshman Arch Manning all season, he might just be performing at a Heisman level under center. And with a rematch against the Tide in Week 2, Ewers has an early opportunity to make a Heisman statement.

But let’s not lose sight of Ewers’ top receiver, Xavier Worthy. Regardless of who’s quarterbacking the Longhorns, Worthy’s blazing speed could put him in the Heisman discussion. Now, wouldn’t that be something?

Switching gears, we find Jalon Daniels, the impressive quarterback from Kansas. Daniels piloted the Jayhawks to their first AP ranking since 2009 before an injury hampered his season. Fully healed, Daniels could light up the Big 12.

Finally, our dark horse pick from the Big 12 is Richard Reese from Baylor. Reese rushed for an impressive 972 yards and 14 touchdowns as a freshman. Seeing him run his way into the Heisman conversation this season wouldn’t be a surprise.

Big Ten

At the top, we have Marvin Harrison Jr. from Ohio State. Remember how he dominated against Georgia in the College Football Playoff semifinals? That’s the kind of performance that could notch him the Heisman Trophy. Harrison Jr. shines as a beacon of talent, arguably the top player in the sport.

But let’s not forget about our friends from Michigan, Blake Corum and J.J. McCarthy. They lead a formidable Michigan backfield primed to make some noise this season. Then there’s the Penn State trio – quarterback Drew Allar, running back Nick Singleton, and edge player Chop Robinson, all of whom are potential Heisman contenders. In particular, Singleton’s breakout season as a freshman and Robinson’s prowess on the edge will be exciting to watch.

And what about Wisconsin’s Braelon Allen? This running back is a force to be reckoned with and could shake things up in the Big Ten.

Now, are you ready for our dark horse pick? It’s Taulia Tagovailoa from Maryland. Taulia, the younger brother of the 2018 Heisman finalist Tua Tagovailoa, has the potential to surprise us all. With strong weapons on the outside and a challenging schedule with ranked opponents, he could find himself in the mix for college football’s premier award.


Standing tall among the potential Heisman contenders is Western Kentucky’s star quarterback, Austin Reed. After an incredible season where he threw for 4,744 yards and 40 touchdowns, Reed returns to the Hilltoppers with high expectations. His precision, accuracy, and leadership on the field make him the top Heisman candidate in the conference.

However, we must not overlook the Jacksonville State competitors. In JSU’s first season in the FBS, running back Anwar Lewis has a chance to shine. Lewis could be a major player to watch with his agility, power, and game sense.

However, the most intriguing prospect for the Heisman might be our dark horse, Jarod Bowie, also from Jacksonville State. Bowie enters the season having finished as a finalist for the Harlon Hill Trophy in Division II last year. He might be the surprise package this season, potentially transforming into a Heisman contender.


In conclusion, the Heisman race is a thrilling journey filled with surprises, underdogs, and stand-out performances. From the ACC to the C-USA, each conference presents many talented players ready to make their mark. Whether it’s the quarterbacks, running backs, receivers, or edge rushers, each position has unique challenges and opportunities. Let’s not forget that the Fanduel Heisman odds could change drastically as the season progresses, so keep an eye out. As we gear up for this football season, we can’t wait to see who will leave an indelible mark and clinch the esteemed Heisman Trophy.