Lawrence Is Clemson's Only Hope To Win the Heisman Trophy
Trevor Lawrence enters the 2020 season as the odds-on favorite to take home the Heisman Trophy.
According to BetOnline.com, Lawrence enters his junior campaign as the favorite, at 7-2 odds, ahead of Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields, 4-2 odds, to take home the nation’s top individual honor.
This season marks the second time that Lawrence will enter a season with the eyes of the country on him, as he entered the 2019 season as the favorite to win the award. But last season, saw the pressure of being the favorite get to Lawrence, as he struggled through the first five games of the season before turning his play around — finishing the season with flurry that had many wondering if he wasn’t the best quarterback in the nation.
According to Tom Fornelli of CBS Sports, he likes Lawrence in a head-to-head matchup between the two.
“Lawrence is a better bet than Fields,” Fornelli wrote. “Both enter the 2020 season in familiar positions as the most important players on two of the best teams in the country. There's a strong possibility that they will meet again in a College Football Playoff game. Still, I think Lawrence is the better bet just because he'll have the additional NFL Draft hype. I'm not saying that it should affect his Heisman chances, but it does.”
Even with his slow start to the season, Lawrence managed to finish seventh in the Heisman voting in 2019.
However, in what has become a pseudo-quarterback only award, there is another Tiger that is looking to not only secure his first trip to New York for the Heisman Ceremony — he is also looking to become the first Clemson Tiger to take home the award.
Running back Travis Etienne enters 2020 as the ACC’s all-time career leader in rushing touchdowns (56), total touchdowns (62) and points by a non-kicker (372). He earned ACC Player of the Year honors for the second straight season in 2019, becoming the first running back to collect the award in back-to-back years in more than four decades (Mike Voight in 1975-76).
In 2019, Etienne became the first 4,000-yard career rusher in Clemson history. He joined NC State’s Ted Brown, Florida State’s Dalvin Cook, North Carolina’s Amos Lawrence, Maryland’s LaMont Jordan, Louisville’s Lamar Jackson, Georgia Tech’s Robert Lavette, Wake Forest’s Chris Barclay and Boston College’s AJ Dillon to become only the ninth 4,000-yard rusher in ACC history.
Etienne finished seventh in the Heisman voting in 2018 and ninth in 2019.
However, even entering the 2020 season with the sixth-best odds, 20-1, Fornelli does not see a way for a running back to break into the quarterback club at the Heisman house.
“The Heisman has become more of a QB award than anything, and given the explosion of passing offenses in college football, I wouldn't expect that to change any time soon,” Fornelli wrote. “In fact, I would bet that a wide receiver will win the award before another running back does, and they might not even have to contribute on special teams to do so.
“As for this season, the two favorites at running back are Clemson's Travis Etienne and Oklahoma State's Chuba Hubbard. Both were expected to leave for the NFL after 2019, and both surprised by returning. That's great for college football! Still, I'm not too fond of either of their odds. Etienne is a terrific player capable of having another outstanding season, but everything he does will be in the shadow of Trevor Lawrence.”
While an invite to The Big Apple may not be out of the question for Etienne, one would have to believe that the Tigers best shot to have one of their own etch their name in the history book, as the first player to win the Heisman Trophy, will be Trevor Lawrence.