For the first time since Troy Smith won the award in 2006, the Ohio State Buckeyes will be represented at the Heisman Trophy ceremony in New York City. Dwayne Haskins was named one of three finalists for college football’s most prestigious award Monday night, along with Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray. All three finalists are first-year starters as their team’s quarterback.
While it’s quite an honor to even be considered a finalist, Haskins going home with the award seems like quite a reach, at least according to Bovada. Even with yet another record-breaking performance while helping the Buckeyes beat Northwestern to win the Big Ten title, one where he completed 34-of-41 passes for 499 yards, five touchdowns, and one interception, Haskins had the most passing yards in Big Ten Championship game history, passing Penn State’s Trace McSorley, who threw for 384 yards in 2016. He also became the Big Ten’s single-season record holder for total offense, breaking the previous record set by Michigan’s Denard Robinson (4,272) in 2010.
His performance against the Wildcats was quite impressive, but it just added to what was a very impressive season for Haskins, especially as a first-year starter. He paved his way to New York City with his arm, something quite different from other recent Ohio State quarterbacks. The redshirt sophomore threw for 4,580 yards and 47 touchdowns, both of which are school and conference records. His 47 touchdown passes are seven more than the second most.
Following that performance, his odds (somehow) fell, and dropped quite a bit, actually. Last week, he had 33-to-1 odds to win the Heisman. This week, those odds crumbled to 60-to-1. How? Part of that is due to Murray becoming the new favorite, a spot that Tagovailoa has had all season. The other reason, well, there isn’t really another reason because I truly don’t know how his odds dropped so far after such a record-breaking performance.
The odds heading into the presentation:
Although he currently has the third-best odds, it shouldn’t downplay the type of season Haskins has had in Columbus. Including his total numbers and a handful of program and conference records, Haskins seemed to make a name for himself every Saturday this season. In Ohio State’s storied history, they had just one quarterback throw for more than 400 yards in a single game prior to this season. Haskins eclipsed the 400-yard mark five times, including in each of the last three games. He threw for a school-record 499 yards against Northwestern to lead the Buckeyes to a Big Ten championship this past Saturday.
During that game, Haskins did a well-known move following one of his touchdowns. It was one that showed just what he thinks about the Heisman conversation.
— Josh Poloha (@JorshP) December 2, 2018
The gunslinger has already won a number of awards, including the Silver Football Award from the Chicago Tribune as the Big Ten’s best player, the Big Ten’s Graham-George Offensive Player of the Year award, and the conference’s Griese-Brees Quarterback of the Year award, among others. That’s one of the main reasons why Haskins believes he should win the award.
“I feel like I did what I needed to do to give my case to win the Heisman,” Haskins said. “Broke Drew Brees’ (Big Ten) touchdown record, broke Curtis Painter’s (Big Ten) single-season passing record and did a lot of great things this year. It’s not my choice of who gets to win the Heisman, but either way, I just wanted to be considered for it. If I win, I win. If I don’t, getting ready for Washington. But just to be able to go to New York and show my kids one day that I was a finalist would mean the world to me.”
Here’s how he stacks up against the other two finalists, with a great, easy-to-read chart from Eleven Warriors’ Dan Hope.
Although Ohio State rarely campaigns for one of their players to win an individual award, they have done so for Haskins with a great graphic showing just how good the quarterback has been this season.
— Ohio State Football (@OhioStateFB) December 2, 2018
One of his teammates, defensive end Chase Young, also campaigned for his quarterback following the Buckeyes taking home the Big Ten championship.
Chase Young on Heisman Trophy candidate Dwayne Haskins: “Did you see the game? He’s the best quarterback that ever came to the Ohio State. He’s the best quarterback in the nation right now. I don’t care who you say.” pic.twitter.com/rIO376yUxy
— Josh Poloha (@JorshP) December 2, 2018
One of the coolest parts about all of this is just how humble Haskins has been throughout the season. A first-year starter, he took control early and often, becoming one of the best quarterbacks to ever don the scarlet and gray. To make this whole Heisman thing for Haskins even cooler: He learned about the Heisman Trophy by playing Road to Glory in the late NCAA Football video game series, a game that many of us not only miss, but loved to play as well. Whether he dreamed of it or not, he’s now headed to the actual Heisman Trophy presentation, not just the one in the video game.
“It means everything to be able to have the support from the coaching staff and the players. For Coach to go up and be able to vouch for me the way he did just shows how much trust he has in me,” he said. “Players have done a great job this year helping me out and helping me be elite. Just excited to be even considered for the award.”
He may not take home the award in the end, but being one of three players invited to New York for the Heisman Trophy ceremony is quite an accomplishment, especially as a first-year starting quarterback. It’s yet another accomplishment that Haskins has achieved this season, a season that has been filled with plenty of accomplishments and record-breaking performances.
The Heisman Trophy presentation will be December 8 at 8 p.m. ET and will be televised on ESPN.