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Charting a Heisman Trophy path for Georgia football stars Jake Fromm and D’Andre Swift
Georgia football hasn’t produced a Heisman Trophy winner since Herschel Walker in 1982. A number of talented players have come through since then, but none have been able to claim college football’s top individual honor. Two Georgia players have a pretty decent shot at winning the award in 2019, as both quarterback Jake Fromm and running back D’Andre Swift have 12-to-1 odds to win the award.
Only three players in the country have better odds than Fromm and Swift. But there’s also a good chance that the two eat into each other’s Heisman Trophy odds, given how important both Swift and Fromm are to Georgia’s success.
So what would a theoretical Heisman Trophy winning season look like for either Fromm or Swift? We’ve dreamt up a scenario where one of Georgia’s star offensive players would take home the Heisman Trophy. Here is what they would have to do:
Jake Fromm: Since 2010, all but one Heisman Trophy has gone to a quarterback. Fromm probably has the best chance of winning the award, just given how many tend to view quarterback as the most important position for success.
The last five quarterbacks to win the Heisman Trophy award are Jameis Winston (2013), Marcus Mariota (2014), Lamar Jackson (2016), Baker Mayfield (2017) and Kyler Murray (2018). Mariota, Jackson and Murray also shined as dual-threat quarterbacks, as each ran for at least 750 yards during their Heisman Trophy winning season. Fromm isn’t going to do that, as he isn’t that kind of player.
From a passing standpoint, Fromm is going to need to throw for around 40 touchdowns. Winston had 38 at the time of the 2013 Heisman Trophy ceremony, while Mayfield had 41. Last season Fromm threw 27 touchdown passes prior to Georgia’s bowl game against Texas. But he was also splitting time at the position with Justin Fields. Fromm won’t have to worry about losing reps this year to the back-up quarterback.
Since the College Football Playoff began in 2014, Jackson is the only winner to not appear in the College Football Playoff. If Fromm is going to be a contender, he’s almost certainly going to have lead Georgia back to the College Football Playoff. To do that, he’s likely going to have to beat Alabama and quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. The Alabama quarterback has the second best odds in the country to win, but Fromm outplayed an injured Tagovailoa in the SEC championship game in 2018. If he can do that again in 2019, that will certainly help his narrative.
Fromm improved drastically following the team’s bye week during the the 2019 season. In six games following the LSU loss, Florida to Alabama, Fromm threw for 14 touchdowns to just 1 interception, while completing 70 percent of his passes. Fromm will have to increase those outputs going forward, but if he can throw in the neighborhood of 35 touchdown passes, 3,500 yards and lead Georgia to the College Football Playoff, he might just have a shot at taking home the award.
D’Andre Swift: For Swift to win the award, he’ll need to have substantially better year for Georgia. Only two running backs have won the award since 2006, and both Mark Ingram and Derrick Henry went to Alabama.
Ingram rushed for 1,542 rushing yards, ran for 15 touchdowns and caught 32 passes for 322 yards prior to winning the Heisman Trophy. Henry ran for an SEC record 1,986 yards and ran for 23 touchdowns in his Heisman Trophy winning season. Swift ran for 1,049 yards and just 10 touchdowns last season.
Of course, Swift was also sharing the backfield last season with Elijah Holyfield, who used up 159 carries last season and ran for 1018 yards. There isn’t a clear cut replacement for Holyfield’s role, though both Brian Herrien and Zamir White figure to take some of the load off of Swift.
It also is worth mentioning that Swift wasn’t healthy for the early part of Georgia’s 2018 schedule, as he was recovering from surgery on both of his groins. Much like Fromm, he was a different player over that closing six-game stretch. He ran for 675 yards and 6 touchdown, which works out to about 1,462 yards and 13 touchdowns over the course of a full-season.
Swift also could be an even bigger part of Georgia’s passing effort next season. As a sophomore, he finished with 32 catches and 297 yards. Given that Georgia must replace four of its top 5 pass catchers from 2018, there’s certainly an opportunity. If Swift could get up to say 50 catches and 500 receiving yards, it would certainly help his case.
Alabama played for the national title in both 2009 and 2015. Much like Fromm’s case, Georgia is going to need to make the College Football Playoff for Swift to have a chance at winning the Heisman Trophy. But a season with say 1,600 rushing yards, 500 receiving yards and at least 20-total touchdowns isn’t far off for the dynamic junior. And if he can demonstrate that he is clearly the best player on Georgia’s offense, he’ll have a chance to hoist the 2019 Heisman Trophy.
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