The most likely Heisman candidate for each team in AP rankings

ESPN

The AP Top 25 college football poll is out. And there's no surprise that Alabama, defending national champ and home of the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, starts on top.

But who could follow DeVonta Smith in lifting the sport's most iconic trophy? Let's take a look at the most likely Heisman candidate for each team in the AP's preseason rankings.

Of course, some of these names are certainly long shots. But, then again, no one was expecting Johnny Manziel, Lamar Jackson or even Smith to be serious contenders this time of year when they ended up taking home the Heisman.

1. Alabama Crimson Tide: QB Bryce Young

Typically first-year starters struggle to generate the kind of name recognition to begin the season as Heisman contenders, but that's not the case with Tide quarterback Bryce Young. He's become one of the faces of players profiting off their name, image and likeness, and with good reason. The former five-star recruit is a dynamic playmaker who is comfortable playing inside and outside the pocket. While it would have been nice to return a DeVonta Smith or a Jaylen Waddle, Young will have plenty to work with, whether it's wideout John Metchie or tight end Jahleel Billingsley.

2. Oklahoma Sooners: QB Spencer Rattler

Oklahoma quarterbacks are always a Heisman threat, and Spencer Rattler comes into his second year as a starter as the Heisman favorite according to Vegas odds. Last season, he overcame some early-season turnovers to pass for 3,031 yards and 28 touchdowns and led the country in touchdown passes of 25 yards or more. The Sooners gave him even more deep threats this season with the additions of Arkansas transfer Mike Woods, who averaged 19.3 yards per catch last year, and freshman Mario Williams.

3. Clemson Tigers: QB D.J. Uiagalelei

It's a thin résumé for the new Clemson QB, D.J. Uiagalelei, who has just two starts in his career. But those two starts included a dramatic second-half comeback win over BC and a stellar performance in a loss at Notre Dame in which Uiagalelei threw for more yards than any opponent in history against the Fighting Irish. Now the offense belongs to Uiagalelei, and he's surrounded by a deep receiving corps that should offer him plenty of opportunities to post some huge numbers. Despite impressive stat lines, Tajh Boyd, Deshaun Watson and Trevor Lawrence all failed to land the Heisman hardware. Perhaps Uiagalelei can be the Clemson QB who finally breaks through.

4. Ohio State Buckeyes: WR Chris Olave

Receiver Garrett Wilson is nipping at Chris Olave's heels and probably could have been the choice, but the nod goes to Olave, who will be in his final season with the Buckeyes. Olave led the team in receiving yards last season with 729 and in receiving touchdowns with seven. The offense is going to break in a new quarterback, but Olave is as reliable as receivers come and should be one of the more productive players in the conference.

5. Georgia Bulldogs: QB JT Daniels

JT Daniels is going to be in a great position to win the Heisman if he's able to keep Georgia's offense rolling the way it did at the end of 2020 and it lives up to expectations and wins out. In four games last season, Daniels completed 67.2% of his passes for 1,231 yards, 10 touchdowns and two interceptions. If he is able to keep that kind of pace over a full season, he's contending for the Heisman without any doubt.

#college, #football

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