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Longshot Contenders for the Heisman Trophy in 2024

Heisman Trophy on Display at Ohio State
© Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

In an article published on June 10, College Football Dawgs broke down the prospects of leading contenders for the Heisman Trophy this year. Consideration is now given to "longshot" contenders for the prestigious award.

Before the 2023 season, Jayden Daniels was not on the radar of many who forecast likely recipients. Hence, this year's award winner might come from the pool of longshot contenders.

Intriguing Longshot Contenders

All of the leading contenders for the Heisman are quarterbacks. A handful of the longshot contenders, who are not all quarterbacks, are considered below. Perhaps the 21st century trend of the iconic award going to quarterbacks will be broken in 2024.

QB Shedeur Sanders (Colorado Buffaloes)

The youngest son of Pro Football Hall of Fame cornerback and Buffaloes coach Deion Sanders ("Coach Prime"), Shedeur Sanders is entering his senior year. While his father was coaching the FCS Jackson State Tigers, Sanders was the team's starting quarterback for two seasons. In his sophomore year at Jackson State, Sanders won the Deacon Jones Trophy as the nation's top HBCU player.

Colorado QB Shedeur Sanders
© Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

In 2023, when Colorado hired Coach Prime, Sanders followed his father to play for the Buffaloes. Although the Buffaloes' record was an unimpressive 4-7 last year, Sanders put up excellent numbers for the team in his 11 starts. He passed for 3,230 yards, with 27 touchdowns against only 3 interceptions. He also rushed for 4 touchdowns.

Colorado is unranked in preseason polls. Sanders' Heisman chances will be slim to none if the Buffaloes finish the season unranked. The award invariably goes to offensive players at glamour positions on ranked teams.

Sanders has the richest NIL deal in the country, valued at $4.6 million.

According to Las Vegas oddsmakers, Sanders' Heisman odds are +3,500 (bet $10 to win $350). 

QB Conner Weigman (Texas A&M Aggies)

Weigman is a gifted athlete. In high school, he was named National High School Quarterback of the Year by the National Quarterback Club. He was also regarded as one of the top baseball prospects in the country as a shortstop. He committed to play football and baseball for the Aggies.

As Texas A&M's quarterback, he started eight games in his first two seasons with the team. He began his freshman season as a backup but was impressive when he came in and started the last four games of the year. He was the team's starter at the beginning of 2023, but suffered a season-ending foot injury in the fourth game. His statistics in his eight starts are very impressive: 1,878 passing yards, with 16 touchdowns and only 2 interceptions. He also rushed for 160 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Texas A&M QB Conner Weigman
© Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports

Texas A&M is ranked No. 25 in a composite of preseason polls assembled by The Sporting News (hereafter "composite poll"). The team will likely need to elevate that ranking appreciably for Weigman to be in realistic contention for the Heisman.

Weigman has an NIL deal worth $126,000.

His Heisman odds are +3,500 (bet $10 to win $350). 

QB Drew Allar (Penn State Nittany Lions)

Allar had a terrific season for the Nittany Lions last year. He threw 23 touchdown passes and only 1 interception in 12 starts. He is a 6-foot-5, pro-style gunslinger, likely off to the NFL following this season. Thus, there is no time like the present for Allar and the Nittany Lions.

Back in 2022, the Philadelphia Inquirer ran a feature story on Allar and reported that he generates "effortless velocity" on his throws.

Penn State QB — Drew Allar
© Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

In the Nittany Lion backfield with Allar in 2024 will be two of the top running backs in college football—Nick Singleton and Kaytron Allen. Singleton was the top-rated running back in the 2022 recruiting class and Allen was four-star recruit in that same class. Both have already rushed for over 1,500 yards in their PSU careers. That impressive duo will take pressure off Allar.

Penn State is ranked No. 10 in the composite preseason poll and has one of the most favorable schedules of all Big Ten Conference teams. Thus, Allar could be a good longshot bet for the Heisman.

Allar has an NIL deal worth $829,000.

His Heisman odds are +4,500 (bet $10 to win $450).

WR/CB Travis Hunter (Colorado Buffaloes)

Hunter, the Colorado Buffaloes dynamic two-way star, has been named the top college football player in 2024. CBS Sports rates him the cream of the crop heading into the upcoming season. 

The 20-year-old Hunter, who is nicknamed "Saucy-T," was the No. 1 ranked recruit in the 2022 class according to 247Sports and Rivals. He is renowned as a two-way player. He plays both wide receiver and cornerback. After initially committing to play for Florida State, Hunter decided to play for Coach Prime at Jackson State. The fact that the nation’s top overall recruit decided to play for an FCS program drew national media attention.

In his freshman season at Jackson State, Hunter was the Tigers' "primary playmaker" on both sides of the ball.

Two-Way Colorado Buffaloes player Travis Hunter
© Christopher Creveling-USA TODAY Sports

When Coach Prime was hired to take the head coaching job at Colorado in 2023, Hunter followed him to the Rocky Mountains.

For the Buffaloes in 2023, Hunter had 57 receptions for 721 yards and 5 touchdowns. On defense, he made 31 tackles and snagged 3 interceptions. He won the Paul Hornung Award, which is bestowed upon the most versatile player in the nation. He was also a consensus All-American.

In rating Hunter as the top player going into the 2024 season, CBS Sports describes him as "a generational player" and a "silky-smooth corner, [who] is excellent in press coverage." He is also a return specialist.

Hunter has an NIL deal valued at $2.7 million.

His Heisman odds are +6,000 (bet $10 to win $600).

WR Luther Burden III (Missouri Tigers)

As reported by Michael Brown of College Football Dawgs, Burden is a spectacular playmaker in the mold of San Francisco 49ers star receiver Deebo Samuel. Burden has rapidly ascended to prominence at Mizzou.

At East St. Louis Senior High School in Illinois, Burden starred in both basketball and football. ESPN rated him the top offensive recruit in the 2022 class and the No. 5 overall recruit in the nation. After receiving offers from all traditional collegiate powerhouse programs, Burden committed to Missouri.

WR Luther Burden III - Missouri Tigers
© Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

In his freshman season, Burden hauled in 45 receptions for 375 yards, including 6 touchdown receptions. He also had 2 rushing touchdowns and a 75-yard punt return for a touchdown.

In 2023, Burden made first-team All-SEC and second-team All-America. He had 86 receptions for 1,212 yards, with 9 touchdowns.


Burden’s prowess as a wide receiver transcends mere statistics. However, the numbers speak volumes about his impact on the field. His 725 yards after the catch, ranking third among all FBS receivers, underscores his ability to create separation and exploit defensive mismatches with elusiveness and speed. Moreover, his 314 receiving yards after contact highlight his resilience and determination. Multiple defenders are often necessary to bring him down.

Heading into the 2024 season, Burden is widely regarded as the best collegiate wide receiver in the nation. He will undoubtedly be the favorite target of the Tigers' experienced signal caller, Brady Cook.

Mizzou is ranked No. 8 in the aforementioned composite of preseason polls.

Burden has an NIL deal, the value of which is not officially disclosed. However, Sports Grid estimates it to the 24th-highest deal in the country.

Burden's current Heisman odds are +7,000 (bet $10 to win $700).

RB Ollie Gordon II (Oklahoma State Cowboys)

Gordon emerged as a true NCAA star in 2023. After rushing for 1,732 yards and 20 touchdowns, he was a unanimous first-team All-American and won the Doak Walker Award, as the nation's best running back. He is only the fourth player in history to win the award as a sophomore.

In a colorful article, 247 Sports reported that Gordon is doing things in Stillwater not seen since Barry Sanders and that attempting to stop him on the gridiron is "like trying to tackle a giraffe."

Oklahoma State RB Ollie Gordon
© Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

The Cowboys are ranked No. 18 in the composite preseason poll. If they move up significantly from that spot and if Gordon replicates his performance of last year, he could be a serious contender.

Ollie Gordon's NIL deal has a value of $619,000.

His Heisman odds are +7,500 (bet $10 to win $750).

LB Harold Perkins Jr. (LSU Tigers)

Perkins is a terrific player, but a real longshot for the Heisman. No linebacker has ever won the award, and only one defensive player has won the award-Michigan's Charles Woodson in 1997. Tony Thomas of College Football Dawgs recently published a terrific article about Perkins.

Perkins has been named to the 2024 Lott IMPACT Trophy watch list. That award is given annually to the best defensive player in the country as determined by both performance and character. It is named after legendary Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott.

LSU LB Harold Perkins Jr
© Jake Crandall/Advertiser/USA TODAY NETWORK

Perkins is only the third LSU player named to the Lott Trophy watch list.

As Thomas reports, Perkins enters his third season with 27 games of experience under his belt. As a true freshman, Perkins tallied 72 tackles and led LSU in both tackles for loss (13) and sacks (7.5). He also caused 4 fumbles and grabbed an interception on his way to All-Southeastern Conference, first-team All-SEC and Freshman All-American honors.

Last year, in his sophomore season, Perkins made 75 tackles, including 13 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks, along with 5 pass breakups, 7 QB pressures, 3 forced fumbles and 1 interception. He earned second-team All-SEC honors.

Perkins will have an early opportunity to showcase his talent when LSU opens its season in a nationally televised clash with the USC Trojans in Las Vegas.

Perkins has a $619,000 NIL deal.

His Heisman odds are +30,000 (bet $10 to win $3000).

Time to place your bet(s).


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