LSU quarterback Joe Burrow, Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts and Ohio State teammates quarterback Justin Fields and defensive end Chase Young are headed to New York this weekend as finalists for the Heisman Trophy.
The 85th edition of the award for the most outstanding college football player will be announced Saturday in a ceremony televised on ESPN beginning at 8 p.m. ET.
Burrow, who spent the first three years of his career at Ohio State, is the heavy favorite to win after throwing for an SEC-record 48 touchdown passes and 4,715 yards, while leading the Tigers to the conference title.
“In my opinion, he should win it,” LSU coach Ed Orgeron said Saturday. “In my opinion, he’s going to win it. The best thing about Joe is he’s a team player. All he wants to do is win this game. Individual awards are not high on his list. That’s what makes him such a great team player.”
Burrow and LSU received the top seed in the College Football Playoff and will take on Hurts and No. 4 Oklahoma in a semifinal at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl on Dec. 28. Burrow would be just the second player in school history to win the award, joining running back Billy Cannon, who won it in 1959.
Hurts transferred to Oklahoma after spending his first three seasons at Alabama and is the third different Sooners quarterback in as many years to make the trip. Both Baker Mayfield (2017) and Kyler Murray (2018) won the award before going on to become the No. 1 overall picks in the NFL draft.
Since the Heisman Trophy began inviting finalists to New York City in 1981, Oklahoma is the first school to have a quarterback invited to the ceremony in four straight years, and the first to have different quarterbacks invited in three straight years.
In 13 games, Hurts threw for 3,634 yards with 32 touchdowns and seven interceptions and rushed for 1,255 yards and 18 scores. No school has ever had three straight winners.
Fields, who transferred to Ohio State after spending his freshman season at Georgia in 2018, seamlessly replaced Dwayne Haskins, who finished third in the Heisman voting a year ago. The sophomore threw for 2,953 yards with 40 touchdown passes to just one interception and added 471 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns on the ground.
Young is the is just the fourth defensive lineman to be named a finalist in the award’s history, joining Washington’s Steve Emtman (1991), Miami’s Warren Sapp (1994) and Nebraska’s Ndamukong Suh (2009). None of those three finished higher than fourth in the voting. Young led the nation with 16.5 sacks and in tackles for loss per game (1.9).
Ohio State is the seventh school to have multiple players invited to the Heisman ceremony in the same year, but the first to have both an offensive player and a defensive player.
Young is the first Ohio State defensive player to finish in the top four in Heisman voting, and the first defensive player from the Big Ten to do so since Michigan’s Charles Woodson won the award in 1997.
No. 2 Ohio State will play No. 3 Clemson in the other semifinal in the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl, also on Dec. 28.
ESPN Stats & Information contributed to this report.
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