Heisman Dark Horses


Tyler Forness | June 17th, 2019

At the beginning of every season, college football experts and fans compile a short list of candidates for the Heisman Trophy. Every list compiled will have any previous winner, finalist and breakout players from the previous year. Almost every season though, we have one or two finalists that come out of nowhere, including past winners Lamar Jackson, Johnny Manziel and Tim Tebow. In today’s piece, I will take a look at 3 players who could become the next Heisman winner to seemingly come out of nowhere.

Tate Martell – Quarterback, Miami

Advertisement’s number two dual-threat quarterback, and 5-star prospect Tate Martell was overlooked at Ohio State. After redshirting his freshman season with JT Barrett as the starting quarterback, he lost the battle for the starting job to Dwayne Haskins. Once Haskins left for the NFL, it was presumed that Martell would become the Buckeyes starting quarterback, until Justin Fields entered the transfer portal. Once he went to Ohio State, Martell ended up in the transfer portal and chose Miami (FL). Under first-year coach at newly dubbed “Transfer U” Manny Diaz, Tate will be given every chance to be the guy that we thought he would be at Ohio State, a game-breaking dual-threat quarterback who has a chance to be a big breakout star.

Justin Fields – Quarterback, Ohio State


After having two five-star quarterbacks in the previous two recruiting cycles, Fields surprised many by picking Georgia with Jake Fromm already entrenched as the starter. After playing sparingly his freshman season, Fields did exactly what we expected him to do during the 2018 recruiting cycle: commit somewhere else. Fields has a great chance to succeed under coach Ryan Day. He will run the Urban Meyer spread option offense with a treasure trove of weapons headlined by KJ Hill and JK Dobbins. With all the focus on Tua Tagovailoa, Trevor Lawrence and Justin Herbert, Justin Fields is a guy who can easily fly under the radar on his way to New York City.

Feleipe Franks – Quarterback, Florida

I can already hear people laughing at the notion of Franks being on this list, but it’s not as crazy as you might think. Franks was a five-star recruit coming out of Wakulla High School in Crawfordville, Florida. After initially committing to LSU, Franks flipped to Florida after they had failed to lure Jacob Eason to Gainesville. Franks had a rough start to his career under former head coach Jim McElwein, going 4-7 in his redshirt freshman season. Once Dan Mullen came into the fold, Franks drastically improved in every category, including going 10-3 as a starter and nearly quadrupling his touchdown-to-interception ratio from 9-8 to 24-6. With an immense amount of talent and a well-known quarterback guru in Dan Mullen, we could easily see him take another massive step and emerge on the national scene.

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