- The Heisman has been a quarterback-dominated trophy in recent years and USC's Sam Darnold is the early choice to keep that trend alive.
Six of the last seven players to win the Heisman Trophy were quarterbacks. A talented crop of quarterbacks in 2017 led by USC's Sam Darnold will look to keep that trend going this season.
Darnold is the favorite at +400 on the odds to win the Heisman Trophy at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. Darnold threw for 3,086 yards and 31 touchdowns last season after taking over the starting job in Week 4, and the sky appears to be the limit for the sophomore sensation.
While not quite on the same level as Darnold, Alabama's Jalen Hurts (+1600 to win the Heisman Trophy) and Florida State's Deondre Francois (+1800) will also try to build on strong campaigns as freshmen to play their way into the Heisman Trophy race. Alabama faces Florida State in their Week 1 matchup on Saturday as a 7-point betting favorite.
This younger generation of potentially elite quarterbacks will try to dethrone a more veteran group led by Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield, Louisville's Lamar Jackson and Ohio State's JT Barrett. All three of these quarterbacks are going off at +800 to win the Heisman Trophy.
While cases can be made for Jackson based on last year's gaudy numbers and Barrett based on his team's positioning as one of the nation's elite, the best value here may be on Mayfield.
Mayfield has thrown for 9,980 yards and 88 touchdowns with only 24 interceptions over the course of a fantastic college career thus far. Last season, Mayfield passed for new career highs in completion percentage (71%), touchdowns (40), and yards (3,965) while leading the Sooners to a 10–0 SU and 7–3 ATS run to end the season.
Penn State's Saquon Barkley (+700), LSU's Derrius Guice (+1200) and Alabama's Bo Scarbrough (+1400) will try to join the group of Reggie Bush, Mark Ingram and Derrick Henry as the only running backs to win the Heisman Trophy since 2000.
Barkley looked the part last season with 1,496 rushing yards and 18 rushing touchdowns, and he'll have plenty of opportunities for Heisman moments in the loaded Big Ten East.
But while Barkley and Scarbrough may end up splitting some votes with their quarterbacks, Guice figures to be the sole focal point of the Tigers offense this season, which could help his case if LSU puts together a strong year.