Sleeper Heisman Trophy picks heading into 2020 season

© Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Nobody predicted that Joe Burrow would win the Heisman Trophy in a landslide vote before last season. Who has a chance to do the same in 2020?

Everyone knows that Ohio State’s Justin Fields and Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence are the heavy favorites to win the 2020 Heisman Trophy, but there are some sleepers out there who shouldn’t be discounted.

Here, we dive into a handful of players who have a legitimate shot at winning the Heisman Trophy this coming season.

D’Eriq King, quarterback, Miami

Let’s not forget just how dynamic King was in 2018 after he played in just four games last season before redshirting. This dude put up 50 touchdowns (FIFTY!!!) and has the kind of dual-threat abilities that made Jalen Hurts so dangerous for Oklahoma last year.

Now in Miami, King will have some seriously talented teammates playing alongside him. Among them are tight end Brevin Jordan and receiver Mark Pope, who should thrive playing with a quarterback that can sling it like King. We’ve predicted that the Hurricanes will be one of the most improved teams in the nation in 2020, and King has a legitimate shot to work his way into the Heisman conversation.

Chuba Hubbard, running back, Oklahoma State

It was pretty stunning when Hubbard opted to stay in school instead of declaring for the 2020 NFL Draft. Last year, he racked up 2,094 rushing yards to lead the nation while scoring 21 touchdowns from scrimmage.

Looking ahead to the 2020 season, Hubbard has a fantastic chance to lead the nation in rushing once again. He’s a rocket ship out there in the open field and can score from anywhere on the gridiron. If Hubbard can up his scoring output and eclipses 2,000 yards again, he’ll likely end up in New York this coming December, and honestly he should have been invited last year.

Kedon Slovis, quarterback, USC

Last season as a true freshman, Slovis was incredibly impressive. He had a couple of bad games — the Oregon performance stands out — but overall showed rare poise under pressure. Even better, he didn’t hesitate to push the ball downfield to his star receivers whenever possible, and he’ll have more chances in 2020 as a second-year player to dominate the Pac-12.

Despite getting banged up a couple of times, Slovis finished his first collegiate season with over 3,500 yards passing, 30 touchdowns and just nine interceptions. Assuming he can stay on the field in 2020, he’ll certainly improve those numbers. And if Slovis can really live up to his potential, the Trojans have a shot to beat out the Ducks in the Pac-12.

Derek Stingley Jr., cornerback, LSU

LSU is known for producing excellent defensive backs, and Stingley is the next in line to launch himself into the first round as an NFL Draft pick. First, he’ll have to play a couple more seasons, however. The 18-year-old phenom announced himself on LSU’s scene last spring by picking off none other than Burrow in his first ever practice.

That interception was but a precursor to what turned out to be a prolific true freshman campaign for the Tigers. Stingley racked up six interceptions, broke up 15 passes and made 31 solo tackles. Even better as it relates to any hope of winning the Heisman Trophy, Stingley showed his skills as a return man. If he can expand that part of his game and scores a few touchdowns, he’ll have a legit shot.

Sam Ehlinger, quarterback, Texas

There are few gunslingers playing in college football these days who can compare to Ehlinger, who loves to take chances downfield. He’s also one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in the nation, having racked up 1,530 yards and 25 touchdowns on the ground the past three seasons.

Now entering his final campaign with the Longhorns, Ehlinger still has a lot to prove. He has to prove that Texas really is “back,” as he’s stated in the past, and he has to get more efficient as a passer. Should he propel Texas into a double-digit-win season while cutting down on turnovers and continuing to excel as a playmaker, he’ll be seen as one of the best players in the nation.