Jord concludes a fantastic series of articles with his “best of the rest” candidates for the 2021 Heisman Trophy. These guys may be outsiders, but you can never say never. Improbable is not impossible. Let’s check out Jord’s final list of nominees.
C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State Buckeyes
Sophomore , 6′ 3″, 205 lbs
C.J. Stroud is yet to attempt a pass in college football, yet the Buckeyes QB is near the top end of the betting market for the 2021 Heisman Trophy. Ohio State Head Coach Ryan Day hasn’t indicated who will be the starter in Week 1. Stroud appears to be competing for the starting job with Kyle McCord and Jack Miller. It is anybody’s guess who will be on the field when the Buckeyes travel to Minnesota on September 2nd. Stroud has given himself a good chance of winning the role after starting in the Spring game and performing well. If he does come out on top, it will have to be an incredible first season for him to lift the 2021 Heisman Trophy. It would end a long time for Buckeyes’ fans, too. They haven’t had a Heisman winner since Troy Smith in 2006.
Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss Rebels
Junior, 6’ 1”, 205 lbs
If Matt Corral wants to lift the 2021 Heisman Trophy, then he will have to get cleaner and more consistent. There is no doubting that the Rebs QB has talent. He threw for over 300 yards in 7 out of the 10 games he played in 2020, managing 23 TDs and only 1 interception across those games. In the other 3 games, he threw for 251 yards or below, whilst getting picked off a whopping 13 times. Six of these came in one game against Arkansas, and another 5 came against LSU. Another difficult schedule awaits, but if Corral can clean his game up and keep the mistakes to a minimum, he has a shot at being the first Ole Miss player to win the Heisman Trophy award.
Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas Longhorns
Sophomore 6′ 0″, 215 lbs
Bijan Robinson’s Freshman season started off relatively slowly. In his first 7 games, Robinson rushed 67 times for 348 yards without a touchdown to his name. It seemed as though the hype surrounding him had been overstated. There were also 107 receiving yards from 10 receptions. In his final two season games he really hit the accelerator. In 19 rushing attempts, Robinson hit 355 yards and 4 touchdowns. That’s 18.6 yards per carry. Eighteen point six. Yards. Per. Carry. If Robinson can hit anywhere close to those numbers over a full season, it’s going to be hard not to see him being in the conversation as a potential 2021 Heisman Trophy winner.
Emory Jones, QB, Florida Gators
Junior, 6′ 2″, 210 lbs
Emory Jones has some hype around him when it comes to the 2021 Heisman Trophy, despite going into his first season as a starter. He has had to sit behind the now-departed Kyle Trask, but already boasts some limited experience on the field for The Gators. Jones is a dual threat QB, which leaves the potential for plays on the ground as well as in the air. It’s not going to be easy. Florida has Alabama and Georgia on their 2021 schedule. Jones won’t be able to boast skill players like Kyle Pitts and Kadarius Toney on offence like Trask did. Back in 2016 when Lamar Jackson won the coveted award, he was a heavy underdog at the beginning of the season. Don’t rule Emory Jones out just yet.
Breece Hall, RB, Iowa State Cyclones
Junior, 6′ 1”, 220 lbs
A Sophomore season to remember for Breece Hall has put him in the conversation as a potential 2021 Heisman Trophy winner. Hall had nine 100+ rushing yard games in 12 games in 2020. The other three? They were all still 75+ yards games on the ground. With a total of 1,752 combined yards and 23 total touchdowns, Hall scooped the award for Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year. With most starters from 2020 back, Iowa State has a big chance at the Big XII Conference title. Their chances will be much higher if Hall can hit the same numbers as he achieved last season. If everything goes well, we could see the first Heisman winning running back since Derrick Henry in 2015.
Kedon Slovis, QB, USC Trojans
Junior, 6′ 1″, 198 lbs
Kedon Slovis’ Sophomore season didn’t go as well as his Freshman one. That can be forgiven in a college football season disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic. He threw nearly as many interceptions in 2020 as he did in 2019, while playing six fewer games. Slovis did have some good parts of the season, including a fantastic ending to the UCLA game. Slovis guided the Trojans to a 43-38 win after being down 28-10 early in the 3rd Quarter. The 2021 schedule looks manageable for USC, and Slovis has some top-level weapons around him. Slovis could be one of only 5 Heisman winners from the PAC-12 since 2000 if he can shake off the inconsistencies of his 2020 form and improve on his 2019 season.
That final look at some of the less obvious 2021 Heisman Trophy candidates is the last in an impressive series. Check out Jord’s work on Spencer Rattler, D.J. Uiagalelei, Sam Howell, Bryce Young and JT Daniels here. Don’t forget to follow @5yardcollege on Twitter and ask about our Discord channel.