The Candidates Have Been Selected

Brendan Conniff, Writer

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The final four Heisman Trophy Award candidates were announced on Sunday, December 9th. These candidates included the frontrunner, LSU quarterback Joe Burrow, Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts, Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields, and Ohio State defensive end Chase Young. On Saturday, December 14th, after a tight race, the favorite, Joe Burrow, was announced the winner of the 2019 Heisman Trophy. However, all four of these players are worthy of recognition. 

The winner, Burrow, spent his first three years of college backing up Dwayne Haskins and J.T Barrett at Ohio State. He decided to transfer to LSU for his senior year in hopes of winning the starting job there. However, he did more than just win the starting job. Burrow has thrown for 48 touchdown passes, which is an SEC record, and he also has 4,715 passing yards on the season which is outstanding in and of itself. He led LSU to the 2019 SEC championship, where they beat Georgia 37-10. He now has emerged as the heavy favorite to win the Heisman. LSU’s head coach, Ed Orgeron, recently commented on Burrow becoming the heavy favorite saying, “In my opinion, he should win it, and he is going to win it.” Burrow is the second LSU player to win the Heisman along with Billy Cannon who won it in 1959. 

Jalen Hurts transferred to Oklahoma to finish out his senior year. He spent his first three years at Alabama, and led his team to the college football National Championship as a sophomore, however he was replaced by the future Heisman nominee Tua Tagovailoa at half-time and Tua won Alabama the championship that year. The next season, Tua took the starting role and Hurts became the backup. He then transferred to Oklahoma to become a starting quarterback again. He has proven his worth this year as he led Oklahoma to the Big 12 championship where they beat Baylor and earned the 4th spot in the CFP. Hurts is the third straight quarterback to be nominated for the Heisman out of Oklahoma. Kyler Murray won the award last year, and Baker Mayfield the year before. Also, both quarterbacks went on to be the last 2 first overall picks in the NFL draft, as Mayfield was drafted by the Browns and Murray by the Cardinals. Oklahoma will become the first school to have three different quarterbacks become a Heisman finalist in the past four years. This season, Hurts has thrown for 3,634 yards and 32 touchdowns as well as 1,255 rushing yards and 18 rushing touchdowns. 

Justin Fields spent his freshman year of college backing up Jake Fromm at Georgia last year. Unable to beat out Fromm, Fields took his 5-star talent to Ohio State where he has made an immediate positive impact on the Ohio State offense. Fields has thrown for 2,953 yards with 40 touchdown passes and just one interception on the season. That is superior to Hurts’ seven interceptions and Burrow’s five. He also has 471 rushing yards with 10 rushing touchdowns. While Fields had an amazing year, I would say he always was in third for the Heisman race because of Hurts’ over 1,000 yard rushing season and Burrow’s SEC record breaking season.

Chase Young is an absolute monster on defense. He is only the fourth defensive end to be named a Heisman finalist. He will join Steve Emtman, Warren Sapp, and Ndamukong Suh in that category. Young leads the nation with 16.5 sacks and 19.5 tackles for loss this season. He also has seven forced fumbles and he blocked a field goal this year. Young is the first Ohio State defensive player to finish in the top 4 for the Heisman. Also, while Ohio State will be the seventh school to have multiple players be Heisman finalists in the same year, they are the first to have an offensive and defensive player become finalists in the same year. 

While all of these players clearly possess an outstanding amount of talent and would have been worthy of the award, Burrow proved himself to be the best of the best.