If you thought the third-string quarterback who helped propel Ohio State to a three-win postseason run that culminated in a national championship, and who eschewed early entry into the NFL draft, would be the current Heisman front-runner, you’d be wrong.
Instead, it’s his backfield mate Ezekiel Elliott, who Bovada.lv has installed as a 6/1 favorite to win the 2015 Heisman Trophy. Considering Elliott’s late-season run, his placement as the front-runner is hardly a surprise.
Over the last three games, which included wins in the Big Ten championship game and the College Football Playoff semifinal and championship games, Elliott, just a sophomore, carried the ball 76 times for 696 yards and eight touchdowns. That’s more rushing yardage than Wake Forest (479) and Washington State (478) totaled the entire season. His eight rushing touchdowns in that three-game span were more than Wake (four), Wazzu (five) and Kent State (six) had in 12 games in 2014.
The last running back to win the Heisman was Alabama’s Mark Ingram in 2009.
As for the player alluded to in the lede? Cardale Jones is at 14/1, tied with a pair of running backs — Alabama’s Derrick Henry, Oklahoma’s Samaje Perine — and behind seven other players. Right behind Jones are the other parts to OSU’s upcoming three-headed quarterback battle: J.T. Barrett at 16/1, Braxton Miller at 18/1.
Getting back toward the top, a pair of SEC players are right on Elliott’s heels, with Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott, a midseason Heisman favorite last year before fading, and LSU freshman running back sensation Leonard Fournette at 7/1. TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin is not far behind the top three at 15/2.
There are no finalists for the 2014 version of the award on the initial 2015 odds list as all three — Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota, Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon, Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper — all left early for the NFL.
Below are the complete set of 2015 Heisman Trophy odds, again courtesy of Bovada.lv: