Early Sleepers to Win 2020 Heisman Trophy

With all the talk of the coronavirus and how it has shut down most of the sports world for the time being, let’s look ahead to what should be a much better time of the year – college football.

It’s no secret that Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence and Ohio State QB Justin Fields are the favorites to win the 2020 Heisman Trophy. That doesn’t mean either one will win it though. Remember, a year ago no one saw LSU’s Joe Burrow winning the Heisman, but he did.

With both Lawrence and Field checking in at +300 (Bovada) to win, where can college football bettors find value in a sleeper pick? We’ll start with an interesting transfer.


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Two seasons ago in 2018, King was a human highlight reel at Houston. King had thrown for 2,982 yards, run for 674 more, and scored 50 total touchdowns before being shelved for the season with a knee injury. King played in just 11 games in 2018 and entered last season with Heisman potential.


Human Swiss Army Knife | Houston QB D’Eriq King Highlights [2016-19]


After four games in 2019, Houston was simply awful and King decided he would take a redshirt. Initially, he was going to stay at Houston, but he ultimately decided to transfer to Miami.

The Hurricanes are in need of an elite quarterback after last year’s disappointing 6-7 campaign. The dual-threat King should help an awful running game (118.1 yards per game).

Heisman winners tend to come from teams competing for a national title. If King gets Miami into the mix, he becomes an interesting Heisman bet at +1000 odds.


The nation’s leading rusher a year ago, Hubbard is a longshot simply because he’s a running back.

Since 2000, the Heisman Trophy has gone to a quarterback all but three times. Those other three happened to all be running backs, the most recent of which was last year’s NFL leading rusher Derrick Henry.

Hubbard ran for 2,094 yards and 21 touchdowns in 2019. Surprisingly, he decided to stay in school for the 2020 season. Another 2,000-yard season would definitely put him in the Heisman discussion.

If the Cowboys can improve on their 8-5 season of last year, it would certainly help Hubbard’s cause. Hubbard is a longshot at +1600.



Like King and Hubbard, Ehlinger, the Longhorns quarterback, will need his Texas teammates to put his team in the Big 12 championship discussion.

Ehlinger is an absolute stud as shown by his 3,663 passing yards and 32 touchdowns and the fact that he was the Longhorns’ second-leading rusher with 663 yards. He also ran for seven touchdowns.

Ehlinger will have the statistics of a Heisman winner, but can he lead his Longhorns to a Big 12 title and get them into the College Football Playoff? If so, Ehlinger is a value bet at +1200.


Here’s where things get real interesting. Slovis was a true freshman last year who was thrust into the Trojans starting quarterback job. He responded well with over 3,500 yards passing and 30 touchdowns with only nine interceptions.


The Next PATRICK MAHOMES!? | Kedon Slovis 2019 USC Highlights


Slovis (6-3, 200) is going to have to beat out J.T. Daniels, last year’s season starter who tore an ACL in USC’s first game of the season in 2019.

Should Slovis win the job, he will play for a second season in offensive coordinator Graham Harrell’s Air Raid offense. Air Raid should mean big passing numbers for Slovis, which gives him merit at +2200.


Moore is the longest of longshots, but has the ability to pay off. The Purdue wide receiver missed most of last season with a hamstring injury, but his freshman season makes him worth a longshot bet at +12500.

Moore caught 114 passes for 1,258 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2018. He started last season with 24 catches for 334 yards and two touchdowns in the Boilermakers first two games. He is a matchup nightmare and can also return punts. If Purdue can improve on its 4-8 season from last year and Moore lights it up, he could lead to a big payday for bettors.

About the Author

A native of Western Pennsylvania, Rick, a Generation X-er, who now lives just north of the Motor City, Detroit, Michigan. A former high school, college, and professional football player, Rick now spends his time as a high school coach and as a personal quarterback trainer. An all-state high school quarterback, he went on to become an Academic All-American at Division II Indiana University of PA. He later coached at his alma mater helping lead the program to the 1990 NCAA Division II national championship game. Rick has also served as a high school head coach and as an assistant in Pennsylvania, New York, and Michigan.

His passion for sports writing started when he was the sports editor for his high school newspaper and continued when he worked as a sportswriter for the Jamestown (New York) Post-Journal in the early 1990s. A true sports fanatic, Rick enjoys all things Pittsburgh: Steelers, Pirates, and Penguins. The Immaculate Reception, the 1979 We Are Family Pirates, and the ’91-’92 Penguins are among his favorites. After working as an educator and athletic director for several years, he again took up sports writing and has contributed to several websites and publications, including Coach & Player magazine, X & O Labs, American Football Monthly, and many others.

When not consumed with coaching, watching, thinking about, or writing about football and other seasonal sports, he finds himself working out like he was still in college and reading everything from military history to Brad Thor novels. Rick has also been chasing rock god stardom as a drummer who has played with bands that have opened for the likes of Fuel, Days of the New, and Alien Ant Farm. He continues to play with his church worship group. Most importantly, Rick is married to the love of his life, Lisa, and has two beautiful daughters.