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Heisman Watch 2021: Matt Corral catches Bryce Young as co-favorite after Week 3

The 2021 Heisman Watch is officially on, and after Week 3, Alabama quarterback Bryce Young has company. Matt Corral accounted for seven total touchdowns in Saturday’s blowout win over Tulane, and he’s now matched Young with +200 odds to win the NCAA’s most coveted individual trophy.

Courtesy of DraftKings, here’s a look at the 2021 Heisman Trophy odds, as Corral’s performance is all the more impressive when you consider preseason favorite, Oklahoma QB Spencer Rattler, struggled in the season opener versus Tulane, throwing two interceptions.

Player2021 Heisman Trophy odds
Bryce Young, QB, Alabama+200
Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss+200
Spencer Rattler, QB, Oklahoma+1400
C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State+1800
Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati+1800
Sam Howell, QB, North Carolina+2500
JT Daniels, QB, Georgia+3000
CJ Verdell, RB, Oregon+3500
TreVeyon Henderson, RB, Ohio State+3500
Anthony Brown, QB, Oregon+4000
D.J. Uigalelei, QB, Clemson+4000
Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas+4000
Malik Willis, QB, Liberty+4000
Sean Clifford, QB, Penn State+5000
Brian Robinson Jr., RB, Alabama+5000

If Rattler takes home the NCAA gridiron’s most esteemed individual award, he’d be the third Sooners QB to do so in a five-year span, following Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray. Both proceeded to be No. 1 overall picks in the NFL Draft, too.

Considering how productive Oklahoma’s offenses have been under head coach Lincoln Riley and given Rattler’s immense talent level, though, he’s not lived up to the hype as of yet.

Heisman Watch: Top storylines from 2021 Heisman Trophy odds

Top storylines from 2021 Heisman Trophy odds
Jan 2, 2021; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels quarterback Sam Howell (7) throws the football prior facing Texas A&M Aggies at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

The Heisman Trophy has been awarded 21 times this millennium, and only thrice has a non-quarterback won it, not including Reggie Bush’s vacated 2005 accolade. Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith got the nod last year, so it’s understandable that oddsmakers are heavily favoring quarterbacks.

We’ve already touched on the legacy Rattler is following, but since he had to deal with such lofty expectations last season as he stepped in for Jalen Hurts, it seems like the Sooners field general will be up to the task. Rattler led Oklahoma to a Big 12 title last season, and lit up Florida in a 55-20 Cotton Bowl triumph.

As for the other QBs on the Heisman Trophy odds, there’s no shortage of intrigue among the heavy hitters.

Uiagalelei has to fill the shoes of Trevor Lawrence at Clemson, which is no easy feat. He played exceptionally well in 2020 when Lawrence was out of action. In two starts against Boston College and Notre Dame, Uiagalelei threw for 781 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions and ran for two more scores.

Unfortunately, Uiagalelei looked out of his depth and threw a costly pick-six in a 10-3 loss to Georgia in Week 1. He went from the No. 2 Heisman contender to a dark horse in short order, and a 14-8 close call against Georgia Tech in Week 3 all but tanked his hopes for the trophy.

Click here for Sportsnaut’s own top 25 college football rankings

As for Alabama’s Bryce Young, many expected him to start last season until Mac Jones seized the reins of the Crimson Tide offense and completed an FBS-record 77.4% of his passes.

Check out this paragraph from our final preseason update: Young is a dual-threat stud who could easily emerge as the favorite — provided the departures of Smith and Jaylen Waddle go as smoothly as when Henry Ruggs and Jerry Jeudy were first-round picks the season before.

Now, Young is the Heisman Trophy favorite. It took one week for him to reach that status, and he’s maintained it since. How about that? And now he’s even more heavily favored.

Among other draft-eligible players in the 2021 Heisman race, some may be surprised to see Sam Howell so far down the list. The North Carolina field general is widely thought of as the top QB prospect in the 2022 NFL draft.

However, Howell just lost both his top running backs and wide receivers to the pros, so Howell will have to play hero ball to emulate the success he’s had in two previous seasons. The Tar Heels’ 17-10 loss to Virginia Tech was downright awful, proving Howell misses all those dynamic skill position players.

To his credit, Howell roared back in Week 2, throwing for 352 yards and three scores while running for 104 yards and two more TDs in a 59-17 romp over Georgia State. Howell then hung another 59 points on Virginia this past weekend.

Finally: A deep sleeper is Liberty QB Malik Willis. His level of competition just isn’t up to snuff yet, but he’s an elite talent who’s bound to be a first-round pick. Willis has 11 total TDs through three starts, and hasn’t thrown an interception. Make note of him now if you haven’t already. We’re talking about a special skill set here.

Find out where Malik Willis, Matt Corral, Sam Howell, Spencer Rattler go in our latest 2022 NFL Mock Draft