Even as Trevor Lawrence attempts to get the taste of his first-ever college loss out of his month, there’s no time like the present for a little Heisman talk.
On the biggest stage Monday night, Lawrence came up short as Clemson took it on the chin in a 17-point loss to LSU in the College Football Playoff championship game. While the quarterback didn’t throw an interception, he did complete a career-worst 48.6 percent of his pass attempts. The true sophomore was also held without a touchdown pass for the first time since a four-point win over Syracuse in September of 2018.
Despite the struggles, Trevor Lawrence hasn’t lost all of the Heisman shine as one offshore sportsbook has him listed as a 7/2 favorite to claim the 2020 stiff-armed trophy. That’s actually down a bit from the 3/1 Lawrence was at following Joe Burrow winning the 2019 Heisman Trophy in record-smashing fashion.
The quarterback of the team Lawrence and Clemson took down in the semifinals, Ohio State’s Justin Fields, is right behind his under-center counterpart at 4/1. Another quarterback, true freshman Kedon Slovis of USC, is at 9/1.
Five other returning players will start the offseason at 10/1, including Oklahoma State running back Chuba Hubbard, who surprised many (most?) observers by announcing Monday he’s coming back for his senior season. The others at that 10/1 number are all quarterbacks — Texas’ Sam Ehlinger, Alabama’s Mac Jones, Minnesota’s Tanner Morgan, Oklahoma’s Spencer Rattler.
The only non-offensive player on the early Heisman wagering agenda? Standout LSU true freshman cornerback Derek Stingley Jr., who is listed at 16/1.
Some perspective, though, on these way-too-early odds: Last year at this time, Lawrence (3/1) and Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa (4/1) were the heavy favorites to win the 2019 Heisman Trophy. Lawrence finished seventh in the voting this past December, Tagovailoa 10th.
Courtesy of both the Oklahoma State and Texas A&M football teams, Tulsa has seen a Power Five infusion of talent.
Monday, Tulsa announced the additions of seven newcomers to its roster. Two are former Texas A&M football players — linebacker Brian Johnson and running back Deneric Prince — while one is from Oklahoma State — tight end Grayson Boomer.
All three of those transfers will have to sit out the 2020 season to satisfy NCAA bylaws. Johnson and Prince will have two years of eligibility remaining, Boomer three.
Prince was a three-star 2018 signee. As a true freshman, he recorded a pair of carries for 21 yards. Both of those totes came in the 2018 opener against FCS Northwestern State.
Prior to entering the NCAA transfer database in mid-September, Prince hadn’t recorded a carry this past season.
Johnson was also a three-star 208 signee. After playing in 13 games as a true freshman — primarily on special teams — he played in four in 2019.
Johnson and Prince attended the same high school in Manvel, Tex.
A four-star 2019 signee, Boomer missed all of 2019 with a torn ACL. Obviously, he took a redshirt for his first season in Stillwater.
Boomer entered the transfer database in early December of last year.
Jim Brown, greatest college football player ever?
College football is rapidly nearing the end of celebrating the 150th anniversary of the sport, with the 2020 College Football Playoff championship game serving as the capper of its sesquicentennial season. So, why not kick off the next 150 years of the sport by doing what we as fans do best — argue about lists.
During halftime of the Clemson-LSU title game — the SEC Tigers came storming back in the second quarter, by the way — ESPN unveiled their Top 150 college football players of all-time in celebration. The entire list can be viewed HERE.
Also during halftime, the Top 11 players on the Worldwide Leader’s list were feted on the Mercedes-Benz Stadium field. Coming in at No. 1? Jim Brown, according to ESPN, is the greatest college football player in the first 150 years of the sport.
The Top 11 are as follows:
- Jim Brown (RB, Syracuse, 1954-56)
- Herschel Walker (RB, Georgia, 1980-82)
- Bo Jackson (RB, Auburn, 1982-85)
- Archie Griffin (RB, Ohio State, 1972-75)
- Jim Thorpe (RB, Carlisle, 1907-12)
- Red Grange (RB, Illinois, 1923-25)
- Earl Campbell (RB, Texas, 1974-77)
- Dick Butkus (LB, Illinois, 1962-64)
- Barry Sanders (RB, Oklahoma State, 1986-88)
- Gale Sayers (RB, Kansas, 1962-64)
- Roger Staubach (QB, Navy, 1962-64)
I have but two comments on that top-tier group. One, Barry Sanders is laughably, criminally low. Two, Herschel Walker was the only college football player in my lifetime who was better than Sanders.
Seriously, Sanders being ninth offends me.
Other than that, fire away…
In a year that is seeing a good number of running backs heading off to chase NFL glory, Oklahoma State will have one of the top backs in the nation back in 2020. Chuba Hubbard announced with a video on his Twitter account he will be returning to the Cowboys in 2020.
Hubbard led the nation with 161.08 rushing yards per game and a nation-leading 2,094 rushing yards in 2019. Hubbard rushed for 21 touchdowns in one of the top breakout seasons by any college football player in 2019. The announcement of his return for 2020 comes on the same day Oklahoma State announced a promotion of Kasey Dunn to offensive coordinator.
The pride of Canada will be one of the top players returning in 2020 and will likely see his name thrown in the early preseason Heisman Trophy conversation with Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence. Hubbard will aim to become Oklahoma State’s second Heisman Trophy winner, joining the iconic Barry Sanders.
Amid a few coaching changes, Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy ended up not having to look very far for his next offensive coordinator. Kasey Dunn has been promoted from his role as wide receivers coach to be the new offensive coordinator of the Cowboys, the school announced on Monday.
“We have been in Stillwater going on 10 years and have loved raising our family here and being part of the OSU community,” Dunn said in a released statement. “We have an excellent returning cast of players and coaches and a supportive fan base, which makes this an exciting time for Cowboy football.”
Dunn joined the coaching staff in Stillwater in 2011, and he was given the additional title of associate head coach last year. Dunn has made a number of stops over the course of his coaching career, beginning as a volunteer assistant at Idaho in 1993 and making various stops as a position head coach at San Diego, Idaho, New Mexico, Washington State, TCU, Arizona, Baylor, and Southern Miss before landing long-term at Oklahoma State. Dunn also coached two seasons in the NFL with the Seattle Seahawks in 2008 and 2009 in between stints at Baylor and Southern Miss.
Dunn has recruited and worked with some of the top wide receivers to come through the Oklahoma State program, including Justin Blackmon and James Washington. Having been a part of the offensive coaching staff for the past decade, Dunn should have a pretty seamless transition to offensive coordinator. The identity of the Oklahoma State offense won’t be changing drastically if much at all.