In the realm of college football, the pursuit of the Heisman Trophy is a journey that often captures the hearts of both players and fans alike. While star quarterbacks and standout running backs traditionally dominate the spotlight, the world of sports is known for its unpredictability, and sometimes, it’s the unexpected contenders who rise to the occasion. As the upcoming college football season beckons, a new wave of athletes is ready to defy the odds and emerge as genuine dark horse candidates for the prestigious Heisman Trophy. In this article, we delve into the world of underdogs and explore the top five real dark horse Heisman Trophy candidates who could potentially rewrite the narrative and make history on the gridiron. These individuals may not yet command national attention, but their exceptional skills and determination have positioned them as serious contenders in the race for college football’s most coveted individual honor.
- Michael Pratt (+25,000) –It’s simple: Pratt was a dawg last year and has the opportunity to run the table with Tulane. If he can put all the pieces together, he can not only be a strong candidate to win the Heisman but can also become one of the top quarterback prospects in the upcoming draft.
- Marvin Harrison Jr. (+3,000)- Marvin Harrison Jr. is undoubtedly the best non-quarterback in College Football this year. While losing CJ Stroud might affect his stats, he also has the opportunity to shine on the field with a young play-caller behind center. Devonta Smith broke the door open by winning the Heisman a few years back, and I don’t see any reason why Harrison Jr. can’t have a year like Smith did in 2019. Being the top non-quarterback in the country gives him a legitimate chance to become a Heisman finalist, and with a little luck, he could lift the trophy in New York City.
- Drew Allar (+2,500) – Yes, I am at Penn State, Homer, and maybe Drew Aller shouldn’t be on the list, but I think Allar and Penn State both have one of the easiest schedules to show who they are and what they can do. Their ceiling is a College Football Playoff appearance, and to get there, they will need to beat at least Michigan or Ohio State. If Allar can lead Penn State to the College Football Playoffs and/or a Big Ten Title, there’s no doubt in my mind that he will be a front-runner for the Heisman.
- Braelon Allen (+8,000) – Perhaps one of the most underrated running backs this year is Wisconsin’s Braelon Allen. Wisconsin’s offense is going to rely on him heavily if they want any shot at winning the Big Ten West, and given how Wisconsin running backs have performed in the past, I see no reason why he can’t put up remarkable stats in 2023. The production will be there for him this year, but the question is, can he outperform the other workhorse running backs in the country?
- DJ Uiagalelei ( +10,000)- DJ is undoubtedly one of the biggest long shots on this list, considering he couldn’t win the starting job at Clemson last year. However, with a new home and a new team that believes in him and is going to give him a genuine chance to succeed, he will have as good an opportunity as any to showcase his abilities. If he performs like the prospect everyone thought he would be, DJ could become a real contender to win the Heisman. I don’t think Oregon State has much to lose as a team this year, so I can see them playing aggressive football on the field. While there are many question marks surrounding DJ and Oregon State this year, if they can go undefeated in the Pac 12 and if his play is electrifying enough, there’s no reason why he couldn’t be invited to New York this coming December.