Ranking the top 2021 Heisman Trophy candidates, including new starting quarterbacks at Clemson and Alabama and Oklahoma’s next potential Heisman winner.
DeVonta Smith is the latest player to etch his name in the annals of college football history by winning the Heisman Trophy. The Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver became just the fourth wide receiver in history to win the award and the last player at the position to do it since 1991. But now that he’s down in the history books, it’s time to take an early look ahead at the 2021 season.
Put simply, the 2021 Heisman Trophy race is going to look substantially different than it did this year. All five of the top vote-getters from 2020 are expected to head to the NFL after this season, which means there is a mantle that will need to be taken up. So it only figures that we turn our eyes forward to the players who could be in the running for the award next season.
Whether it’s the flashes they’ve already shown in their early college careers, the opportunities they’re stepping into or their raw talent, these are the seven top 2021 Heisman Trophy candidates that you should already be keeping an eye on.
2021 Heisman Trophy candidate No. 7: Breece Hall, RB, Iowa State
If you looked at a season preview for the Iowa State offense entering the 2020 season, you would’ve likely seen a lot of talk about quarterback Brock Purdy. Next, you likely would’ve seen some words written about tight end Charlie Kolar. But you would’ve had to go a bit of the way through that preview before the conversation turned to running back Breece Hall.
As it turns out, the sophomore ball-carrier was the most important part of the Cyclones offense and arguably the best running back in the country. The sophomore led the nation with 1,572 yards over 12 games, averaging 5.6 yards per carry, and scoring 21 touchdowns on the year. He also showed solid prowess as a pass-catcher, hauling in 23 balls for 180 yards and two additional scores.
With Hall returning, it’s unlikely that anything changes. In fact, with the belief that Purdy may not be a superstar as many hoped he’d be, Hall could play an even larger role. That should be the case even more so if someone doesn’t step up to fill Kolar’s shoes in the passing game, Hall could be relied upon more as a pass-catcher as well.
Iowa State appears they’re on the precipice of taking down Oklahoma in the Big 12. Hall is at the heart of that and, if he builds on his individual success while helping the Cyclones to their goal, he’ll be in the Heisman Trophy conversation next year.