A Heisman Sleeper To Pay Attention To

The possible No. 1 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft is receiving some attention

Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert has accounted for 72 touchdowns through the first three years of his collegiate career. The possible No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft is looking to follow in Marcus Mariota’s footsteps, but isn’t a smart bet to win the Heisman Trophy (+2500).

Oregon has produced some very good college football players, and Justin Herbert is one of them. Unfortunately, the Ducks senior quarterback will have a difficult time finding his way into the Heisman Trophy race in 2019.

Herbert, who has played in 29 career games for the Pac-12 team, enters his final season at Oregon with a chance to put his name on the map ahead of the 2019 NFL Draft, but the 6-feet-6-inch signal-caller will need to improve drastically if he is to accomplish that feat.

Herbert is currently being offered +2500 odds to take home this year’s Heisman Trophy, per DraftKings Sportsbook.

Here’s a closer look at why Herbert isn’t a smart bet to win the Heisman Trophy in 2019.

Back For Another Year

Oregon enters 2019 as one of the favorites to represent the Pac-12 this season as the conference’s best team. 

Over Herbert’s first three seasons with the Ducks, the team has managed to improve in each season that he has been a part of the squad. His debut 2016 season saw Oregon miss a bowl game for the first time since 2004, but Herbert and Co. bounced back in each of the last two seasons, improving to seven and nine wins, respectively.

Herbert remains confident in his current group of players, and feels that the team they have right now can truly be something special in 2019.

“I think it’s a really special group of guys — all the guys sitting over there, they’re great to be around, they’re great teammates,” Herbert told reporters at Oregon’s media day at the start of fall camp. “The coaching staff and all the staff, it’s really special. It’s really something I wanted to be around for another year.”

Diving Into the Numbers

Herbert’s 2018 campaign for the Ducks was by far his best yet during his first three seasons in Eugene. However, Herbert’s campaign only saw the Ducks go 9-4, with all four losses coming in Pac-12 play. 

Meanwhile, Herbert didn’t rank in the top 10 in most of the major statistical categories a season ago that typically prove a quarterback’s worth.

His 29 touchdowns marked a career-best at Oregon, however, that only ranked 13th among Division I quarterbacks. Herbert’s completion percentage of 59.4 percent was tied for 63rd in the nation, with everyone in the top 20 completing at least 65 percent of their passes.

Herbert threw for 3,151 yards in 2018, which was tied for 27th in college football, while boasting a 144.6 passer rating. It’s not to say that Herbert didn’t have a strong season, but to be considered for the Heisman Trophy a player needs to go above and beyond the rest of the field.

Stiff Competition

With at least a handful of already-proven quarterbacks firmly in the Heisman discussion, like Tua Tagovailoa and Trevor Lawrence, Herbert already has an uphill climb. 

Not only does Herbert have his work cut out in front of him when it comes to improving his play in 2019, but he’ll face an extremely difficult opponent right out of the gate when Oregon meets Auburn on August 31. 

Herbert will need a great performance from the start of the season to ensure that he has any chance at competing in the Heisman race. Although Oregon’s schedule isn’t incredibly challenging, the Ducks also face Washington on the road, as well as Stanford and Washington State.

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Over the last 20 years, only three Pac-12 players have won the Heisman Trophy. (Reggie Bush’s award was later vacated after he allegedly received improper benefits during his time at the University of Southern California.)

Meanwhile, Marcus Mariota is the only Oregon Duck to ever take home the Heisman, and that came after throwing for nearly 4,500 yards and 42 touchdowns, and also appearing in the National Championship Game.

Although Herbert and Oregon could prove to have a strong season in the Pac-12, the Heisman race is too full of talent for the Ducks quarterback to pay off his +2500 odds in 2019. Tagovailoa and Lawrence are the clear front runners and it’s not even close.

Note: The advice above represents the writer's personal view and does not reflect or represent BetQL's stance or interest in any way.