A Georgia Bulldog has not won the Heisman since 1982 when Herschel Walker took home the award. Georgia hasn't even had a Heisman Finalist since running back Garrison Hearst in 1992.
In 2021 however, things very well could change. Georgia's primed for an offensive breakout this fall and at the helm is one of the most talented quarterbacks they've had in years.
This is a quarterback award. Yes, there is the occasional outlier such as wide receiver DeVonta Smith in 2020, running back Derrick Henry in 2015, or running back Reggie Bush in 2005. But since 2000, that's it. The other seventeen winners have played quarterback.
Everyone knows by now the trend that has appeared in these last few seasons: transfer quarterbacks often find themselves in contention for the award. Here is the list of transfer quarterbacks who have been named Heisman finalists in the last five years:
- Joe Burrow, 2019*
- Justin Fields, 2019
- Jalen Hurts, 2019
- Kyler Murray, 2018*
- Baker Mayfield, 2016 and 2017*
*Won the Heisman Trophy
Transfers have had great success in contending for the award the last few years. Narratives fuel voting and these quarterbacks have one thing in common: their former university found someone they thought was better for the job, so the finalist had to transfer and scrap for a job in a new program.
So that gives Daniels the narrative edge. But looking at the field, he also seems to have an edge when it comes to what he will produce on the field. Here were the Heisman Trophy odds coming into the year, provided by Draft Kings.
- Spencer Rattler, +300
- Bryce Young, +400
- D.J. Uiagalelei, +650
- Sam Howell, +800
- D'Eriq King, +1200
- Daniels, +1800
While the odds aren't in his favor at first glance, he has a real shot upon further examination.
We have to start with the unknowns in quarterbacks Young and Uiagalelei. It is hard to project what they will be this upcoming season, as it seems they will both have successful careers at the collegiate level. However, despite Jameis Winston and Johnny Manziel winning the award as freshmen in back-to-back years, they are the only ones to ever do it.
Daniels has a clear talent edge on King, who had a successful season last year at Miami but wasn't as impressive as Daniels. Furthermore, King isn't surrounded by the elite talent that Daniels is.
That leaves us with Daniels, Rattler, and Howell. It seems that one of them will hold the trophy at season's end. In order to win the award, Daniels has to take care of business this fall and live up to expectations: deliver an SEC title to Athens and put Georgia back into the College Football Playoff.
It is easier said than done, but it is the best shot at the Heisman that Georgia has had in a long time.