The Heisman Trophy race took another turn last week, though a new entrant into the mix that won’t get any votes — COVID-19 — might prove the most influential factor. With Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence sidelined by the virus last week verus Boston College and again slated to be out for Saturday’s showdown at Notre Dame, whatever lead he might have had in the Downtown Athletic Club’s annual contest has probably disappeared.
This now looks like it might be Alabama quarterback Mac Jones’ trophy to lose.
Jones had moved into the top contending position behind Lawrence during the first half of the season with eye-opening stats that included 400-plus yards passing, four-touchdown efforts in high-profile blowout home wins over Texas A&M and Georgia.
Even after the loss of big-play target Jaylen Waddle in the game at Tennessee, Jones posted another 387 passing yards versus the Vols, then followed up with his third four-TD pass effort of the season last Saturday against Mississippi State.
Now, Lawrence’s absence has likely provided the opening that a serious Jones candidacy would need.
Short of injury (or COVID), the prospects of Jones continuing to produce big numbers look awfully good, especially with LSU’s struggling secondary next on deck in another nationally televised showcase on Nov. 14, and the Crimson Tide on course to roll into the SEC title game in mid-December, by which time Jones will likely have further enhanced his credentials.
If there is a cautionary tale, it is that Heisman races are often determined by performances after Halloween, and there is still time for the chasing pack to close the gap. Lawrence, too, should not be completely dismissed, as a worst-case scenario has him returning for the last three regular-season games beginning Nov. 21 versus Florida State.
At DraftKings, Jones is the +125 favorite, followed by Ohio State’s Justin Fields (3/2) and Lawrence (4/1).
The Play: Mac Jones to win the Heisman Trophy, +125 at DraftKings.
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