NCAA football betting: Oklahoma's Spencer Rattler, Clemson's D.J. Uiagalelei top list of early 2021 Heisman favorites

Sam Cooper
·3-min read

Last week, Alabama’s DeVonta Smith became the first wide receiver to win the Heisman Trophy since 1991.

To win college football’s most coveted award, Smith beat out three quarterbacks: Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence, Alabama’s Mac Jones and Florida’s Kyle Trask. Despite Smith’s emergence, the large majority of the early Heisman favorites for the 2021 season are quarterbacks.

The current Heisman favorite at BetMGM is Oklahoma’s Spencer Rattler, who is coming off his first season as OU’s starting quarterback. Rattler, who has +300 odds, is ahead of another sophomore signal caller atop the board. Clemson’s D.J. Uiagalelei, who backed up Lawrence and performed admirably as a starter against Boston College and Notre Dame, has the second-best Heisman odds at +500.

In fact, the top nine players listed on the board at MGM are quarterbacks. After Rattler and Uiagalelei are Georgia’s JT Daniels at +600, North Carolina’s Sam Howell and Alabama’s Bryce Young at +700 apiece, USC’s Kedon Slovis at +1000, Miami’s D’Eriq King at +1200, Ohio State’s Jack Miller III at +1600 and Arizona State’s Jayden Daniels at +1800.

Notre Dame defensive linemen Kurt Hinish (41) and Jayson Ademilola (57) pressure Clemson quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei (5) during the third quarter of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020, in South Bend, Ind. (Matt Cashore/Pool Photo via AP)
Clemson quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei combined for 781 passing yards and six total touchdowns in two starts in 2020. (Matt Cashore/Pool Photo via AP)

What you should know about the top Heisman candidates

Rattler became a household name as the first-year starter for Oklahoma in 2020. He led the Sooners to a Big 12 title while throwing for 3,031 yards and 28 touchdowns and rushing for 160 yards and six more scores.

Uiagalelei made the most of his two starts in relief of Lawrence in 2020. Against Boston College and Notre Dame, Uiagalelei combined for 781 passing yards and six total touchdowns. That included a 439-yard effort on the road against Notre Dame.

Daniels, a transfer from USC, thrived in the second half of the season after emerging as UGA’s starting quarterback. Howell will enter his third year as UNC’s starter in 2021 and has already thrown for 7,227 yards and 68 touchdowns over his first two collegiate seasons.

Young was a five-star recruit in the 2020 class who backed up Mac Jones for the national champions. Like Howell, Slovis is entering his third year as a starter. Coincidentally, his performance in 2019 after a knee injury to Daniels was part of the reason Daniels ended up at Georgia.

King will be a sixth-year senior in 2021. A transfer from Houston, King opted to return to Miami for a second season ahead of the team’s bowl game, only to suffer a serious knee injury in that very bowl game. The program expects King to return in time for the start of the 2021 campaign.

Miller is an interesting candidate. He was a four-star recruit in 2020 who served as the backup to Justin Fields at Ohio State this season. He is expected to compete with C.J. Stroud for the starting role next season. Stroud currently has +5000 Heisman odds.

Daniels, a junior in 2021, has started all 16 games he has played at Arizona State.

The first running backs on the list are Texas sophomore Bijan Robinson (+2200), Texas A&M’s Isaiah Spiller (+2500) and Ohio State’s Master Teague (+2800).

Other notable Heisman candidates include:

  • Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss (+2800)

  • Emory Jones, QB, Florida (+3500)

  • Breece Hall, RB, Iowa State (+4000)

  • Brock Purdy, QB, Iowa State (+4000)

  • Dillon Gabriel, QB, UCF (+5000)

  • John Metchie, WR, Alabama (+5000)

  • Michael Penix Jr., QB, Indiana (+5000)

  • Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati (+10000)

  • Taulia Tagovailoa, QB, Maryland (+10000)

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