We continue our profiles of 2020 Heisman Trophy candidates with Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell. Yes, there’s an offensive lineman on the Heisman odds at BetOnline.
I’ve been involved with sports betting/writing for about two decades. Thought I had seen it all. However, I must say that I can’t recall seeing a major sportsbook like BetOnline list Heisman Trophy odds for an offensive lineman like it has for Oregon’s Penei Sewell, who is a +6600 long shot with a handful of other guys.
Let me be clear here: An offensive lineman is NEVER going to win the Heisman Trophy no matter how dominant he is. Just like one is NEVER going to win NFL MVP or Super Bowl MVP. Heisman voters like statistics, and really how can you statistically quantify an offensive lineman other than lack of sacks allowed?
Oregon has had one Heisman winner in school history and that was of course quarterback Marcus Mariota in 2014 when he led the Ducks to the first national championship game of the College Football Playoff era. Mariota’s pro career has not gone as planned and he’s now Derek Carr’s backup with the Las Vegas Raiders.
Sewell Will Be Very High Pick In 2021
Is Sewell an excellent player? No question. He could very well be the No. 2 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft behind sure-fire No. 1 Trevor Lawrence, the quarterback at Clemson. NFL scouts are incredibly high on the 6-foot-6, 330-pounder from American Samoa. He lived there until middle school when his family moved to Utah. Sewell was a four-star recruit out of Desert Hills High School and picked Oregon over Alabama, USC, and Utah.
Sewell started immediately as a freshman but missed six games due to injury. Last year as a sophomore, he won both the Morris Trophy and Outland Trophy. The latter goes to the best interior lineman in college football – Sewell was the first Duck, first Polynesian and first sophomore to ever win it — and the Morris to the best lineman in the Pac-12.
He was named first-team All-Pac-12 in 2019 as well as the conference’s Co-Offensive Player of the Year. Sewell joined Mariota and LaMichael James (2010) as the only Oregon players to be unanimous first-team All-Americans. Pro Football Focus has been grading collegiate offensive linemen since 2014 and Sewell last year got PFF’s highest-ever grade at 95.5 (out of 100). Sewell led the nation with a PFF run-blocking grade of 95.3 and was third with a pass-blocking grade of 91.1. Pro Football Focus named him the Pac-12 Player of the Year. Stunningly, he has allowed just one sack over 1,376 snaps in his career.
Most scouts say Sewell would be the first offensive lineman off the board in this year’s draft if he were eligible for it. Sewell will be joined at Oregon this season by brother Noah, a five-star linebacker recruit. Mario Cristobal recently admitted on a radio show that the first call he ever made after learning he was being promoted to head coach was to Sewell.
Even though Oregon lost starting quarterback Justin Herbert to the NFL Draft, the Ducks should be very good this year again. Last year, they finished 12-2 and beat Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl.
There are no win totals out yet at SBR’s top-rated sportsbooks but Oregon could be favored in every regular-season game other Sept. 12 at home vs. Ohio State in one of the biggest non-conference games of the year. The Buckeyes opened as 7.5-point favorites. Oregon hasn’t been that large of a home dog since October 2016. It’s the first meeting between the schools since Mariota’s 2014 team was upset in the national title game. The Ducks are +225 favorites on the NCAAF odds to win the Pac-12.