Ohio State is setting itself up to have a historic 3-headed Heisman monster
At any given moment watching Ohio State, you could find a Heisman Trophy candidate on the field.
Not special teams. But Blake Haubell did bomb a 55-yard field goal a couple weeks ago against Northwestern and Drue Chrisman is ranked No. 5 among Power 5 punters (with at least 20 punts) in net yards.
There are few, if any weaknesses with Ohio State right now. That’s why the Buckeyes are in position to do something that hasn’t been done in 46 years.
That is, have 3 players finish in the top 10 of the Heisman Trophy.
Justin Fields (10/1), J.K. Dobbins (40/1) and Chase Young (20/1) are 3 of the 7 players who currently have Heisman odds of 50/1 or better, according to Westgate SuperBook. Think about that for a second.
We’re heading into November and the Buckeyes have 3 players who all have, according to the oddsmakers, a favorable chance of getting to New York. Here’s what that top 7 looks like:
- No. 1 — Joe Burrow (LSU QB), EVEN
- No. 2 — Jalen Hurts (Oklahoma QB), 7/4
- No. 3 — Tua Tagovailoa (Alabama QB), 4/1
- No. 4 — Justin Fields (Ohio State QB), 10/1
- No. 5 — Chase Young (Ohio State DL), 20/1
- No. 6 — J.K. Dobbins (Ohio State RB), 40/1
- No. 7 — Justin Herbert (Oregon QB), 50/1
Let that sink in. It would still take a handful of things in order for a Buckeye to become the B1G’s first Heisman winner since Troy Smith in 2006.
But that’s not what’s at stake here. Ohio State can become the first team to have 3 players finish in the top 10 in the Heisman voting since … Ohio State did it in 1973 (27 times since then we’ve seen exactly 2 players from the same team finish in the top 10 of Heisman voting).
Go figure that the 1973 year was when Archie Griffin didn’t win the Heisman. The dude was barely the second-highest Heisman vote-getter on his own team. John Hicks, as an offensive lineman, finished as Heisman runner-up that year while Griffin was fifth and linebacker Randy Gradishar was sixth.
(If there was ever a “sign of the times” in 1973, it was that OSU had 3 of the top 6 vote-getters for the Heisman and not one of them was a quarterback. Things have changed a bit since then.)
Ohio State’s current 3 in the top 6 in terms of Heisman odds are making their mark in a different way.
Fields obviously came in as the polarizing transfer quarterback who was expected to make an immediate splash in Ryan Day’s offense. So far, I’d argue, Fields has somehow been even better than advertised. He’s fourth in the country in quarterback rating with a 24-1 touchdown-interception ratio.
And what he lacks in efficiency — he’s been sacked 18 times and his 8.9 yards per attempt ranks a good, not great No. 15 in FBS — he makes up for in rushing. Despite the sacks, he still has 319 rushing yards and 9 touchdowns on the ground. His current 13-game pace is:
- 2,696 passing yards
- 39 passing TDs, 3 INTs
- 518 rushing yards
- 15 rushing TDs
- 54 total TDs
- 3,214 yards from scrimmage
Again, that’s just a pace. He’s got Maryland and Rutgers coming up here so who knows what that pace will look like heading into the home stretch. The ultimate feather in Fields’ cap would be leading the first Power 5 team of the Playoff era to go 13-0 with a 9-game conference schedule. That would make Fields an extremely intriguing Heisman candidate, even in the event that Burrow or Tagovailoa runs the table.
Dobbins’ case is pretty simple. As long as he stays healthy and OSU keeps winning, he’ll have a chance to be the running back representative in New York, even if he doesn’t surpass Chuba Hubbard for the FBS rushing title. In case you were wondering, Dobbins’ current 13-game pace is:
- 1,804 rushing yards
- 15 rushing TDs
- 215 receiving yards
- 3 receiving touchdowns
- 2,019 yards from scrimmage
- 18 total touchdowns
It would take Dobbins going off down the stretch and putting Ohio State on his back for him to have a legitimate chance at the award, but that pace is certainly top-10 vote-getter stuff if the Buckeyes can win a B1G Championship.
That brings us to Chase Young, who is making a strong case as the best player in college football, regardless of position. SEC Network analyst Cole Cubelic told me before last week’s effort that Young should absolutely be considered for the Heisman. Again, that was before Young blew by one of the best offensive lines in college football and racked up 4 sacks, 5 tackles for loss and 2 forced fumbles to fuel a blowout win against Wisconsin.
Ryan Day said after the game that Young was the most dominant player in college football. Nobody is arguing that. Sure, Young checks the boxes in the sexy categories — he has 3 more sacks than any player in FBS (13.5) and is on a current pace that would best Terrell Suggs’ single-season record of 24 — but it’s how he can completely take over a game that finally has the oddsmakers taking notice.
ESPN listed Young as the No. 3 Heisman candidate after his historic Week 9 performance. OSU now has the No. 1 scoring defense in America a year removed from looking like a disaster on that side of the ball. That’s what’s going to continue to make Young’s case for him even if the ridiculous individual numbers don’t continue.
The OSU schedule sets up extremely well to follow the Heisman narrative with Penn State and Michigan to finish the regular season. Including the B1G Championship, Ohio State could have matchups against 3 consecutive top-15 teams heading into the Heisman ceremony.
Back in 1973, a tie to Michigan was the only thing that prevented that Ohio State team from playing for a national championship. With its 3-headed Heisman monster, it never lost a game that season.
Ohio State’s 2019 Heisman trio wouldn’t mind following in those footsteps.
Well, except for turning that tie into yet another win against Michigan.