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Comparing BYU’s Zach Wilson To Other Heisman Trophy Candidates

Nov 15, 2020, 11:21 PM

Heisman Trophy Candidates - Zach Wilson - Justin Fields - Mac Jones...

Heisman Trophy candidates Justin Fields, Ohio State (left); Zach Wilson, BYU (middle); Mac Jones, Alabama (right). (Photos courtesy of Getty Images)

(Photos courtesy of Getty Images)

PROVO, Utah – The 2020 Heisman Trophy race is starting to focus now that all conferences are playing. BYU quarterback Zach Wilson has been one of the top players in college football this season, leading the Cougars to its first 8-0 start 2001.

How do Wilson’s stats and resume stack up with other candidates in the Heisman race? Let’s take a look.

2020 Heisman Trophy Candidates

Taking a look at the top candidates in the running for the 2020 Heisman Trophy.

Zach Wilson | BYU | Quarterback

Case for Wilson

  • BYU is undefeated (8-0)
  • No. 1 in points responsible for this season (184)
  • Top five in passing yards (2,512), passing touchdowns (22), completion percentage (75.1%), yards per pass attempt (11.37), passing efficiency (201.6)
  • Explosive offense
  • 45.3 points per game
  • Played in many weeknight TV windows that allow for Heisman voters to pay undivided attention to Wilson and BYU.
  • Dual-threat
  • Dominating opponents

Most of Zach Wilson’s work is done this season. BYU only has two games remaining in 2020, with one of those matchups coming against FCS foe North Alabama on Nov. 21. Wilson plays with a swagger and delivers an entertaining brand of football that likely keeps Heisman voters interested. The question now is if BYU needs to add another game for not only their New Year’s Six/Playoff case and Wilson in his case for the Heisman? If not, Wilson and BYU could fall out of sight and out of mind while Power 5 conferences try to navigate this season amidst the pandemic.

Justin Fields | Ohio State | Quarterback

Case for Fields

  • Ohio State is undefeated (3-0)
  • No. 1 completion percentage (86.7%)
  • No. 1 passing efficiency (222.4)
  • Top 5 in points responsible for per game (26.0), yards per pass attempt (10.94)
  • Dual-threat
  • 46.3 points per game
  • Dominating opponents
  • Ohio State is a TV rating juggernaut
  • Buckeyes are a favorite to go to the College Football Playoff

Ohio State might be the best team in college football this season. The talent is off the charts, and Justin Fields has been nearly perfect through three starts. But after a game was canceled last week, COVID-19 has hit the Buckeyes. Are Heisman voters willing to give the trophy to a player who only plays six or seven games? If they are okay with that, Fields probably sits atop the pecking order right now.

Mac Jones | Alabama | Quarterback

Case for Jones

  • Alabama is undefeated (6-0)
  • No. 2 yards per pass attempt (12.41)
  • No. 2 completion percentage (78.5%)
  • Dominating opponents
  • No. 3 passing offense (380.0)
  • 47.2 points per game
  • QB of the No. 1 team in the country
  • Alabama is a landslide favorite to make it to the College Football Playoff

Mac Jones came into the season, and many people thought true freshman Bryce Young would beat him out to win the starting QB job. Jones crushed that narrative and has put together a season so far that has been as good, if not better, than what Tua Tagovailoa put together last year.

Trevor Lawrence | Clemson | Quarterback

Case for Lawrence

  • Viewed as the best QB talent in College Football, projected No. 1 NFL Draft pick
  • Hasn’t lost a regular-season game in his career as a starter
  • Top 10 in completion percentage (70.7%) and passing touchdowns (17)
  • Clemson is viewed as a College Football Playoff team with Lawrence at QB
  • Putting up 48.2 points per game

Lawrence has missed two critical games in a shortened season. But, Lawrence’s importance was highlighted in Clemson’s play in the two games he has been out due to COVID-19. Clemson dropped a game against Notre Dame, but there’s an opportunity for Lawrence and the Tigers to get revenge in the ACC Championship Game if they win out. Lawrence statistically isn’t as high on the stats as Fields, Jones, and Wilson. But he might be the best all-around quarterback in the land.

Kyle Trask | Florida | Quarterback

Case for Trask

  • No. 1 in passing touchdowns (28)
  • 45.8 points per game
  • Top 5 in points responsible for per game (28.0), points responsible for (168), total offense (374.8), passing yards per game (361.8)
  • No. 4 passing offense in college football (371.7)
  • The path is set for a matchup against Alabama in SEC Championship for a “Heisman moment.”

Trask is putting up big numbers right now. He’s leading what might be the best offense in the SEC in a year where everyone is putting up big numbers on the offensive side of the ball in college football’s top league. The Heisman Moment for Trask will be in the SEC Championship against Alabama.

Ian Book | Notre Dame | Quarterback

Case for Book

  • Had the best win for any quarterback on this list. Defeating Clemson.
  • The inside track to College Football Playoff
  • He’s the QB for an undefeated Notre Dame team.
  • Only one interception this season.

Malik Willis | Liberty | Quarterback

Case for Willis

  • Leading Liberty to a surprising 8-0 start
  • No. 7 Points responsible for (144)
  • No. 10 rush yards per carry (7.14)
  • 1,645 passing yards, 700 rushing yards
  • Opportunity to go undefeated

Heisman Trophy Dates

The deadline for Heisman voters to submit their ballots is December 21st, with the finalists being announced on Christmas Eve, December 24th. 2020 Heisman Trophy Ceremony will take place virtually on January 5th, 2021.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m., KSL Newsradio). Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper and the KSL Sports app.

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Comparing BYU’s Zach Wilson To Other Heisman Trophy Candidates