10 Heisman hopefuls of 2019

By Peter Burke - Local10.com Managing Editor
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Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver Jerry Jeudy carries the ball against the LSU Tigers in the second quarter of a game at Tiger Stadium on Nov. 03, 2018 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

These 10 players are most likely to leave New York as college football's most outstanding player.

Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson, sophomore

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Trevor Lawrence hardly looked like a true freshman during Clemson's run to the national championship last season. Lawrence passed for 3,280 yards and threw 30 touchdowns to just four interceptions after replacing Kelly Bryant four games into the 2018 season. Even more impressive were his numbers against Notre Dame and Alabama in the College Football Playoff -- 674 yards, six touchdowns and zero picks. Now image how he'll look with a full season under his belt.

Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama, junior 

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The Heisman Trophy runner-up finished last season with 3,966 passing yards, 43 touchdowns and six interceptions, helping Alabama to a 14-0 record headed into the national championship game against Clemson. Two of those interceptions came in the 44-16 loss to the Tigers. He was also a rushing threat, recording 190 yards and five touchdowns on the ground.

Jalen Hurts, QB, Oklahoma, senior 

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Can Jalen Hurts become the third consecutive Oklahoma quarterback to win the Heisman? Hurts started 28 games in two years at Alabama but lost his job to Tagovailoa in 2018, so he transferred to Oklahoma for his final season of eligibility. The dual-threat quarterback has amassed 5,481 yards and 48 touchdowns through the air, while adding 1,945 yards and 23 touchdowns on terra firma. 

Jake Fromm, QB, Georgia, junior

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Jake Fromm has led Georgia to consecutive Southeastern Conference title games, beating Auburn for the championship as a freshman in 2017 but falling short against Alabama as a sophomore last year. Fromm's freshman and sophomore seasons ranked third and second in school history, respectively, in passing efficiency. He's already fourth in Georgia history with 54 career touchdown passes.

Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon, senior 

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Justin Herbert was widely considered to be the top quarterback eligible for the NFL draft before he decided to return for his senior season. Herbert played a full season in 2018 for the first time since arriving at Oregon. When he missed five games with a fractured collarbone in 2017, the Ducks slumped to 1-4 during that stretch. Herbert enters the 2019 season having thrown for a touchdown in 28 consecutive games -- the longest active streak in the nation.

Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State, sophomore 

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The Georgia transfer left for Ohio State in the offseason and is eligible to play immediately. Justin Fields played sparingly behind Fromm at Georgia, but he still passed for 328 yards and four touchdowns and ran for 266 yards and four touchdowns in mop-up duty. Intent on not exhausting his college eligibility at Georgia, Fields will fill the role vacated by Dwayne Haskins, who amassed more than 4,800 passing yards and threw for 50 touchdowns in 2018.

Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin, junior

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After running for 1,977 yards and 13 touchdowns as a true freshman in 2017, Taylor led the nation with 2,194 yards and also was top 10 with 16 rushing scores last year. Taylor surpassed the century mark in 12 of his 13 games as a sophomore, gained more than 200 yards five times and set a career high with 321 yards on the ground against Purdue.

Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson, junior

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Travis Etienne rushed for 1,659 yards and had a nation-leading 26 total touchdowns as a sophomore last season. The 2018 Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year may be overshadowed by the other guy in the Clemson backfield, but Etienne keeps opposing defenses honest.

AJ Dillon, RB, Boston College, junior

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AJ Dillon is another ACC running back who has a chance to take home college football's top honor. He set a Boston College freshman record with 1,589 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2017 on his way to being named ACC rookie of the year. Although he missed two games last year due to an ankle injury, Dillon still racked up 1,108 yards and 10 touchdowns, becoming the first Boston College player to post back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. Technically, he ran for 33 yards and a touchdown on six carries against Boise State in the First Responders Bowl, but the game was canceled and declared a no-contest after inclement weather stopped play in the first quarter.

Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama, junior

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The 2018 Biletnikoff Award winner had a breakout sophomore campaign last season, finishing with 1,315 yards and 14 touchdowns. He'll likely have to improve upon those numbers this year if he wants to become the first receiver to win the Heisman since Desmond Howard in 1991.

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