Georgia running back D’Andre Swift has among the top odds to win the Heisman Trophy this season despite the fact some have wondered whether a running back can win the award in an era dominated by quarterbacks producing eye-popping stats.
Swift is tied for 15th-best odds (+5000) to win the award according to the Westgate in Las Vegas. However, Sports Illustrated’s Andy Staples seems to think betting on Swift — or any other running back — might not be a smart decision.
“College offenses have evolved to the point where quarterbacks can so dominate a game statistically that it makes it difficult for running backs,” Staples recently wrote. “Derrick Henry was the last non-quarterback to win the Heisman, and that win was based on near-superhuman durability down the stretch. He carried the 2015 Alabama offense in some critical late-season games. But had the award been given out after the College Football Playoff instead of before, I imagine many voters would have joined me in placing Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson first (even though Henry’s team won the national title).”
If Staples is right that it took some special circumstances to get Henry over the hump in 2015, what will it take for Swift to get it done this year?
That’s the subject of today’s DN90.
It’s difficult to deny quarterbacks get outsized attention at all levels of football. Yet UGA’s offense has been so prolific at generating productivity for its running backs that the Bulldogs might be able to open enough holes for Swift to run all the way to New York City — where the award is announced at the end of the season.
Of course, Swift isn’t UGA’s only Heisman candidate. Westgate lists Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm as +4000 to win the award (tied for ninth-best 0dds).
Ultimately, Swift, Fromm and UGA fans probably care most about team success. However, there’s no denying seeing a Bulldogs player hoist the award previously won by the likes of Herschel Walker and Frank Sinkwich would be another great chapter added to the storied tradition of UGA.
To hear what former UGA running back Tim Worley and College Football News’ Pete Fiutak had to say about Swift’s Heisman chances, click the video linked above.