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Can D.J. Uiagalelei Win the 2021 Heisman Trophy?

Can D.J. Uiagalelei Win the 2021 Heisman Trophy?
D.J. Uiagalelei Tilton/Getty Images/AFP

At this point, Clemson has had an embarrassment of riches at the quarterback position. The run began with Deshaun Watson, one of the best quarterbacks in the history of college football. After a brief stint with Kelly Bryant, they won another national title with Trevor Lawrence. Lawrence was viewed as the best NFL prospect since Andrew Luck, and he showed why during his Clemson football career.

Now that Lawrence is a Jaguar, the Tigers have to go to their next five-star quarterback, and he has just as much potential as his predecessors. He played some as a true freshman, and he flashed his talent. Now that he has an entire offseason to work as the team’s starter, he looks to take over the college football world.

Clemson wants to compete for a national title, but they have other hopes as well. Personally, Uiagalelei could be the first Clemson player to ever win the Heisman Trophy. At +600 college football odds, he is certainly one of the frontrunners to win the highest honor in college sports. So, can he actually pull it off?

The Good News for D.J. Uiagalelei

There is a reason that Uiagalelei is an early favorite to win the Heisman. All the necessary traits of a Heisman are there. He’s a gifted passer with the ability to scramble. His stats will be up there with the other top players in college football. He plays the most important position on one of the best teams, which always helps.

Clemson will be competing for a national championship, and Uiagalelei will lead the charge. With that fame, he will be in the Heisman discussion.

The Heisman Memorial Trophy . Adam Hunger/Getty Images/AFP

Also, Clemson plays Georgia early in the season. This will be the game that puts Uiagalelei and the Tigers on the map. If he dominates against the Bulldogs, Uiagalelei will be an instant frontrunner to win the Heisman Trophy. One knock on Clemson teams in the past is that they haven’t faced stiff competition in the regular season. Playing Georgia will change that narrative in an instant.

Uiagalelei had great stats when he filled in for Lawrence last year, so there’s no doubt that he is capable. However, there’s still some bad news regarding his Heisman odds in 2021.

The Bad News for D.J. Uiagalelei

The Heisman race is all about narratives. You have to have a story to compel voters to choose you. That’s why so many Heisman winners come out of nowhere. It’s easier to vote for the underdog. Since that is the case, it will be hard to win the Heisman at Clemson. Deshaun Watson didn’t win the Heisman Trophy. Neither did Trevor Lawrence. While every year is different, expecting Uiagalelei to do that as a sophomore could be a little too much pressure.

Also, it is rare for early frontrunners to win the Heisman. People get tired of early narratives, and the Tigers don’t have any tough games at the end to help boost Uiagalelei’s chances. Being the first Clemson player to win the Heisman would be impressive, but it’s somewhat unlikely. However, Heisman odds are all about value. With that in mind, what should we do with Uiagalelei’s Heisman odds for the 2021 college football season?

Deshaun Watson Carmen Mandato/Getty Images/AFP

Can Uiagalelei Win the Heisman?

There is certainly a chance that Uiagalelei pulls it off and wins the Heisman Trophy. He has the talent and the prestige working for him. However, that wasn’t enough for Watson or Lawrence. In terms of value, there really isn’t any right now. 6-1 odds at this point in the process puts him up there with other frontrunners, and he has more working against him. It would be easy to say why he should win the Heisman, the college football is too unpredictable to go chalk this early in the year. Clemson is a great team with a great chance to win it all, but Heisman winners are almost always surprises. That’s why I would rather take a risk on someone with better odds at this point in the offseason. Just the risk of missing games would hurt his odds.