As the confetti rained down on Alabama last Monday night, another thrilling college football season came to an end. It was a season full of shocking upsets and record breaking performances, namely from the stud quarterback at the University of Oklahoma, Baker Mayfield. Mayfield took home the most prestigious award in college football, the Heisman trophy, for his stellar season. Who will take the torch from Mayfield with an impressive 2018 season of their own? Here are the ten most likely to receiver the honor.
Number Ten: McKenzie Milton, UCF quarterback
Milton is undoubtedly the entrant on this list with the lowest odds of winning the Heisman this upcoming season. However, following his performance in the Peach Bowl against Auburn, he put not only his school on the college football map but also threw his name into the mix as a dark horse contender to bring home the Heisman. Despite his burst onto the scene against Auburn, Milton quietly had a solid season. He threw for 3,795 yards and 35 touchdowns, while only tossing nine interceptions. Don’t be surprised if Milton has a solid junior season in 2018.
Number Nine: Sam Ehlinger, Texas quarterback
True freshman Sam Ehlinger had quite the season for the Texas Longhorns, showing glimpses of his potential and giving UT fans hope that they once again have a quarterback. The freshman QB threw for a solid 1,915 yards and added 358 yards on the ground. Ehlinger also compiled an impressive quarterback rating (QBR) of 124.1. Yes, he experienced some growing pains that come with freshman players at the college level. However, his leadership ability and swagger will firmly entrench him in preseason Heisman talks.
Number Eight: Nick Fitzgerald, Mississippi State quarterback
Prior to the 2017, several NFL draft analysts and experts believed Fitzgerald had the potential to not only be the best quarterback in the SEC, but one of the top prospects in the nation. While Fitzgerald may not have quite lived up to such high expectations, calling his season a disappointment is a gross understatement of what he accomplished. Fitzgerald compiled 2,766 yards of total offense and 29 touchdowns for the Bulldogs, as well assuming a leadership role for the Bulldogs. Watch for Fitzgerald to climb up the Heisman rankings as the season progresses.
Number Seven: Kelly Bryant, Clemson quarterback
Bryant entered the 2017 season poised to fill the shoes of one of the best college quarterbacks of all time Deshaun Watson, who led Clemson to a national title in the season prior. In his first full season as a starter, Bryant did not disappoint. He threw for an astounding 2,802 yards to go along with an eye-popping QBR of 131.7. Casual college football fans will look at Bryant’s performance in their bowl game against Alabama and think he is overhyped, but that is not the case at all. He is arguably one of the top quarterback prospects heading into next season. With a full year of experience under his belt and another offseason to learn, Kelly Bryant may be the most underrated name on this list before the season ends.
Number Six: Shea Patterson, Michigan quarterback
2018 will mark Patterson’s first season at Michigan, following his transfer from Ole Miss. With that being said, Patterson had an exceptional season in 2017. Most college football experts didn’t give Patterson or the Rebels much thought prior to the season, mostly because of how young of a team they were. Despite the lack of recognition, Patterson had a stellar season for the Rebels. He was the clear leader of the team, throwing for 2,259 yards and adding in 17 touchdowns. As he moves on to Michigan, Patterson appears to be the clear number one starter with a real shot at turning some heads in Ann Arbor.
Number Five: Khalil Tate, Arizona quarterback
Tate was not named the starter until the fifth week of the 2017 season, but once he earned the job he did not look back. In only seven games, Tate managed to electrify the college football world by throwing for 1,591 yards and rushing for 1,267 more. Along with these mind-boggling numbers, he also accounted for 31 total touchdowns. Tate not only put himself in the Heisman discussion last season, but there is no doubt he will get a lot of love in the Heisman rankings in 2018.
Number Four: Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin running back
One of only two running backs to make this list, Taylor is coming off an outstanding 2017 season that vaulted him into the early Heisman talks. Wisconsin was firmly in the college football playoff picture for the entirety of the 2017 season, and Taylor was a key reason for that. He finished the season only 23 yards short of 2,000 yards, finishing with 1,977 yards on the ground and 13 rushing touchdowns. Taylor is a superb talent and will be a favorite to take home the award next season.
Number Three: Trace McSorley, Penn State quarterback
For the majority of the 2017 season, McSorley took a backseat to teammate Saquon Barkley and understandably so. Barkley is a once in a generation type talent, so Penn State leaned on him in the run game throughout the season. However, that does not take away from how excellent McSorley was. He finished the season with a whopping 3,750 passing yards and 28 touchdowns. If he can match this production in 2018, McSorley will definitely be a Heisman finalist.
Number Two: Bryce Love, Stanford running back
The other running back to find himself on this list, Bryce Love, an other-worldly talent when he is on the field, as he forces defenses to focus their entire game plan on where he lines up on the field. Love, a Heisman finalist in 2017, finished the season with an unreal 2,118 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns. He is arguably the best running back in 2018 and is easily one of the top candidates to win the Heisman.
Number One: Jake Fromm, Georgia quarterback
Finally, we come to the top spot on the list. Jake Fromm from Georgia deservedly resides at number one in these rankings, and it isn’t really too hard to tell why he does. As a true freshman, Fromm had a stellar season, leading the Bulldogs all the way to the national championship game. Not only that, but he finished the regular season with an impressive 2,615 passing yards and 24 touchdowns. Fromm can only improve on his freshman season, so expect to see him take home the hardware this season.