Could the Hatfield-Dowlin facility in Eugene make room for another prized trophy? Since its inception back in 1935, the Heisman Trophy has been won predominantly by running backs and quarterbacks and back in the early years, half-backs especially dominated the award. Could Oregon beat the odds with Penei Sewell?
The ’70s and ’80s were in love with the ball carriers, and that ten year stretch between 1973 and 1983 saw only running backs take home the trophy. Doug Flutie finally broke the streak in 1984, before Bo Jackson, once again brought the trophy back to the RBs. The 2000s were dominated by QBs, as nine quarterbacks took home the trophy in that decade.
It’s rare to see any other position win the award. Every once in a while there is a receiver who is so outstanding that they can’t be denied, such as Tim Brown out of Notre Dame in the late ’80s and Desmond Howard in ’91. It’s even rarer for a defensive player to win, and the only to do so in modern history was Michigan’s Charles Woodson, arguably the best corner to ever step onto the grid-iron.
Yes. You read that correctly. Penei Sewell, Ol’ No. 58 for the Oregon Ducks, and sure he’s a long-shot at +6600. In fact the last time an offensive lineman won the Heisman was way back in 1949 when Leon Hart won as an end -what we now call a tight end. But Hart was also a fullback, so even though he won as a pass eligible lineman on the record books, he was a ‘skill position’ player.
The Most Likely Candidates:
● Justin Fields +400
● Trevor Lawrence +475
● Spencer Rattler +1000
● Sam Ehlinger +1200
● Jamie Newton +1400
● Chubba Howard +1600
● Travis Etienne +1800
● Ian Book +2000
So, if you notice, Justin Fields and Trevor Lawrence lead the pack and then the odds take a sharp dive, as after Ian Book the odds drop to 2500 and get longer and longer. So, what’s the chance that Penei Sewell could win the Heisman? The answer is not so good.
If we use the odds to determine the implied probability, Sewell has about a 1.5% chance of winning the Heisman. When you think about it, that is a shame. Sewell has a good chance at going No. 2 overall in the 2021 draft, and he’s literally one of the top five best players in college football.
That said, the voters love measurable stats, not abstract ones. They love to see exactly how many yards gained, how many TDs scored or thrown, how many passes completed, etc. You simply can’t measure an offensive tackle’s performance that way. There isn’t a stat for, “without that block right there, that touchdown most likely would not have happened.”
What’s even more amazing about Sewell, is he’s only 19-years-old, was already Pac-12 co-offensive player of the year and on the short-list as a top-10 NFL draft pick! This young man can do it all as he led the nation on Pro Football Focus‘ run-blocking grade and was third nationally in their pass-blocking grade.
Most are predicting Trevor Lawrence to go No. 1 in the 2021 NFL Draft and many think he’ll snatch up that Heisman Trophy as well. But he’ll be competing against his teammate, Travis Etienne, who is a tour de force in the backfield. At 5’11, 210, Etienne is of prototypical size and has already shown that he may be the best running back the Clemson Tigers have ever seen.
But the hands-down early favorite is Ohio State’s, Justin Fields. At 6’3, 225, he’s also of prototypical size, although, he’s built more like scaled up Russell Wilson. He’s an incredible dual-threat threat that transferred over from Georgia to the Buckeyes. Normally, we wouldn’t have seen him until this season, but Fields wisely sought out an attorney last year who helped him secure immediate eligibility at Ohio State, where he went 13-1, completed 238 passes with just three picks to 41 TDs and 3,273 passing yards. On the ground he picked up an additional 484 yards and 10 TDs to go with 51 touchdowns, thus Ohio State looked unstoppable all season.
If he has a similar performance this year, (and we hope not at Autzen!) I think Clemson will once again get left out of a Heisman.
Who’s your pick to win the Heisman for the 2020-2021 season? Does Our Beloved Penei Sewell have a shot?
Charles Fischer (FishDuck)
Top Photo by Eric Evans of GoDucks.com
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