Oct 6, 2018; Dallas, TX, USA; Former Texas quarterback Vince Young enters the stadium before an NCAA college football game between Texas and Oklahoma at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas, on Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018. Mandatory Credit: Nick Wagner-USA TODAY NETWORK

Vince Young returns to Texas as special assistant

Vince Young is headed back to work for the Texas Longhorns athletic department program, less than two years after the school fired the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback who led the school to its last national title.

Young, who is in the College Football Hall of Fame, announced on social media that he was hired by new coach Steve Sarkisian to work as a special assistant to athletic director Chris Del Conte. Young’s responsibilities and compensation haven’t been made public, per reports.

Young led the Longhorns to the national championship in 2006 when he rushed for a touchdown late in the fourth quarter against Southern California, where Sarkisian was an assistant under Pete Carroll.

Young, 37, was an All-American at Texas, where he went 30-2, throwing for 6,040 yards and 44 touchdowns and rushing for 3,127 yards and 37 scores in three seasons. He’s one of six players in school history to have his number retired.

He was taken third overall by the Tennessee Titans in the 2006 draft. He threw for 8,964 yards and 46 touchdowns and 51 interceptions and rushed for 1,459 yards and 12 touchdowns over six seasons — five with the Titans and a final one with Philadelphia.

However, he filed for bankruptcy in 2013, despite signing a five-year deal worth $58 million — including more than $25 million guaranteed — as a rookie for the Titans.

Upon retiring, Young returned to Texas to work as a development officer in the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement and as a contributor for the Longhorn Network. But he was fired in 2019 for not doing his job well and being arrested multiple time on drunken-driving charges.

Sarkisian, who had spent the past two years at Alabama as the offensive coordinator under coach Nick Saban, was hired by Texas last month to replace Tom Herman, who was dismissed after going 32-18 in four seasons.

–Field Level Media

Dec 30, 2020; Arlington, TX, USA;  Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Spencer Rattler (7) warms up before the game against the Florida Gators at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Sooners QB Spencer Rattler early 2021 Heisman Trophy favorite

Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Spencer Rattler has been installed as the initial Heisman Trophy favorite for next season.

The freshman signal-caller was listed as the +500 opening favorite by PointsBet ahead of Clemson quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei.

Rattler, a five-star recruit out of Phoenix, took over the starting job this season and threw for 3,031 yards, 28 touchdowns and seven interceptions in 11 games. He led the Sooners to a win in the Cotton Bowl, throwing for 247 yards and three touchdowns in the 55-20 victory over Florida.

Uiagalelei is a freshman out of Bellflower, Calif., who saw action in nine games this season, including a pair of starts when Trevor Lawrence was sidelined following a positive COVID-19 test. Uiagalelei completed 66.7 percent of his passes with five touchdowns and no interceptions, and is poised to take over the Tigers’ starting job from Lawrence.

North Carolina junior quarterback Sam Howell is the third betting favorite at +850, followed by Alabama freshman quarterback Bryce Young, who threw just 13 passes this season.

Three veteran quarterbacks follow that pair with +1200 odds each: Miami’s D’Eriq King, Georgia’s J.T. Daniels and Southern California’s Kedon Slovis.

King suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in the Hurricanes’ bowl game loss but Miami said he is expected to be ready for the start of next season.

Daniels transferred from USC to Georgia earlier this year after tearing knee ligaments in the fall of 2019 and watching Slovis take command of the job. Daniels went on to throw for 1,231 yards and 10 touchdowns and a pair of interceptions in four games for the Bulldogs, while Slovis threw for 1,921 yards, 17 touchdowns and seven picks in six games.

The top non-quarterback on the early 2021-22 Heisman Trophy odds market by PointsBet is Alabama running back Brian Robinson Jr. He has rushed for 1,292 yards on 4.9 yards per carry with 15 touchdowns entering the College Football Playoff title game.

2021 Heisman Trophy Odds (PointsBet)
Spencer Rattler, Oklahoma (+500)
D.J. Uiagalelei, Clemson (+675)
Sam Howell, UNC (+850)
Bryce Young, Alabama (+1000)
D’Eriq King, Miami (+1200)
J.T. Daniels, Georgia (+1200)
Kedon Slovis, USC (+1200)
Brian Robinson Jr., Alabama (+1200)
Emory Jones, Florida (+1200)
Breece Hall, Iowa State (+1500)
Jayden Daniels, Arizona State (+1500)
Michael Penix Jr., Indiana (+1500)
Tyler Shough, Oregon (+1500)
Bijan Robinson, Texas (+1500)
Kyren Williams, Notre Dame (+1500)
Brock Purdy, Iowa State (+1800)
Graham Mertz, Wisconsin (+1800)
Deuce Vaughn, Kansas State (+2000)
Isaiah Spiller, Texas A&M (+2000)
Matt Corral, Ole Miss (+2000)
Kevin Harris, South Carolina (+2000)
Dillon Gabriel, UCF (+2500)
Carson Strong, Nevada (+2500)
Grayson McCall, Coastal Carolina (+2500)
John Metchie III, Alabama (+2500)
Jordan Addison, Pitt (+2500)
Zay Flowers, Boston College (+2500)

–Field Level Media

Jan 1, 2021; Arlington, TX, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver DeVonta Smith (6) in action during the game against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama’s DeVonta Smith wins Heisman Trophy

DeVonta Smith of Alabama became arguably the first pure first wide receiver ever to win the Heisman Trophy on Tuesday, when he outpolled three quarterbacks.

The senior from Amite, La., outdistancing Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, Alabama quarterback Mac Jones, and Florida quarterback Kyle Trask, who were also finalists.

Not since Michigan multipurpose cornerback/receiver/returner Charles Woodson in 1997 — in a shocking announcement over Tennessee quarterback Peyton Manning — has anyone other than a quarterback or running back received the honor.

Smith becomes the third Alabama player to win college football’s top individual award, joining running backs Mark Ingram (2009) and Derrick Henry (2015).

The trophy has been awarded annually since 1936, and almost always has gone to a passer or runner.

Previously, Michigan’s Desmond Howard (1991), Notre Dame’s Tim Brown (1987), and Nebraska’s Johnny Rodgers (1972) were wide receivers, but they also gained much of their acclaim as return specialists.

This season, for the first time, Smith returned punts for Alabama, but he returned only nine punts. He averaged 24.3 yards on those returns, with one touchdown. He also had one rushing score.

It was his receiving that earned Smith the Heisman. He has 105 receptions for 1,641 yards and 20 touchdowns this season, with one game remaining — the national championship against Ohio State.

–Field Level Media

Dec 30, 2020; Arlington, TX, USA; Florida Gators quarterback Kyle Trask (11) throws a pass against the Oklahoma Sooners in the second quarter at ATT Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Florida record-setting QB Trask declares for NFL draft

Florida quarterback and Heisman Trophy finalist Kyle Trask announced Thursday that he is entering the NFL draft.

Trask made his announcement in a video posted to various social media sites.

“I feel that it’s best to chase my dreams of playing in the NFL,” Trask said. “I’ve had dreams of playing in the NFL ever since I was a kid. Just to have this opportunity to play at the next level, it’s crazy and I’m going to try and go and make the most of it.”

Trask enjoyed a stellar 2020 season in which he set school records of 4,283 passing yards and 43 touchdowns passes. He topped 400 yards five times and twice threw six scoring passes.

Trask was intercepted eight times, three of them coming in a 55-20 loss to Oklahoma in Wednesday’s Cotton Bowl. He passed for a season-low 158 yards.

But the poor showing against the Sooners wasn’t diminishing Trask’s enthusiasm about his time with the Gators. He grew up near Houston and never imagined that playing in the Sunshine State would be such a life-changing experience.

“I will definitely always remember the memories we made and the big-time wins we had over the past couple years,” Trask said. “I will always be a Gator. I will always bleed Orange and Blue.”

Trask wasn’t a big-time recruit — his first start didn’t occur until Game 3 of the 2019 season — nor was he considered a high NFL draft pick prior to the season.

But the strong campaign improved his stock. He now rates as a one of the top half-dozen available quarterbacks and his name will surely be called within the first two rounds.

Gators coach Dan Mullen has enjoyed watching Trask’s rise.

“I couldn’t be prouder of him and the season that he had with our team this year. A special, special year for him,” Mullen said. “I’m really happy for him. I mean, you’re talking about a young guy that came in, I think only played a couple plays in his career before he even graduated college. Didn’t play much in high school. And now he’s a Heisman Trophy finalist and he’s going to be an NFL draft pick. So that says a lot about him.”

Trask said he has always drawn motivation from the doubters.

“When I think about it, just being counted out so many times,” Trask said of his career. “When people doubt me, it’s nothing new to me. It doesn’t hold me down. I don’t dwell on it. I just try to prove them wrong. I think that’s ultimately what’s gotten me here today.”

–Field Level Media

Dec 19, 2020; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver DeVonta Smith (6) reacts after scoring a touchdown during the fourth quarter against the Florida Gators in the SEC Championship at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama’s Smith could be first WR to win Heisman in 29 years

DeVonta Smith’s career-best game on a prime-time stage is likely to earn the Alabama star a piece of history.

Smith caught 15 passes for 184 yards and a pair of touchdowns in Saturday’s 52-46 victory over Florida in the SEC Championship Game. Crimson Tide quarterback Mac Smith threw five touchdown passes, but that wasn’t enough to hold off his teammate as the new favorite to win the Heisman Trophy.

Smith is now being offered at -200 by SportsBetting.com and -170 by FanDuel to win the Heisman. That is ahead of Jones, who is +150 and +170, respectfully.

It has been a meteoric rise for Smith, who wasn’t even on the Heisman prop board at most sportsbooks just two weeks ago.

ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit endorsed Smith as his Heisman pick on “College Gameday,” hours before the senior returned a punt 84 yards for a touchdown in Alabama’s 52-3 rout of Arkansas on Dec.12. That helped vault Smith to second favorite status behind Jones at several sportsbooks, and that momentum continued with his massive game against the Gators.

Smith has double-digit receptions in four games this season and a total of 98 catches for 1,511 yards and 17 touchdowns. He has another score on three carries to go with the punt-return touchdown.

If Smith wins the Heisman, he will become the first non-quarterback to do so since Crimson Tide running back Derrick Henry in 2015, and the first wide receiver since Michigan’s Desmond Howard in 1991.

Smith has also benefitted from the lack of a runaway quarterback candidate.

Jones took over as the favorite just last week after Florida’s Kyle Trask suffered his second loss of the season.

Preseason favorite Trevor Lawrence saw his Heisman Trophy hopes scuttled by a positive COVID-19 test that forced him to sit out two games. Lawrence led Clemson to the ACC title and the No. 2 seed in the College Football Playoff, but he is a distant third in the Heisman odds at +1000 by SportsBetting.com and +1500 by FanDuel.

Heisman Trophy odds (SportsBetting.com)
DeVonta Smith -200 (1/2)
Mac Jones +150 (3/2)
Trevor Lawrence +1000 (10/1)
Najee Harris +1600 (16/1)
Kyle Trask +2500 (25/1)

The 6-foot-1, 175-pound Smith has also elevated himself into consideration to be the first wide receiver selected in the 2021 NFL Draft. He is expected to compete for that honor with injured teammate Jaylen Waddle and LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase.

–Field Level Media

Oct 31, 2020; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA;  Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith (6) and Alabama quarterback Mac Jones (10) celebrate a touchdown pass from Jones to Smith at Bryant-Denny Stadium during the second half of Alabama's 41-0 win over Mississippi State. Mandatory Credit: Gary Cosby Jr/The Tuscaloosa News via USA TODAY Sports

Alabama WR DeVonta Smith vaults into Heisman contention

DeVonta Smith wasn’t even on the board of players being offered Heisman Trophy odds at most sportsbooks a week ago.

Another dynamic outing later — along with some national publicity love from Kirk Herbstreit — and Alabama’s senior receiver is suddenly one of the Heisman favorites.

Florida quarterback Kyle Trask has been the betting favorite by most sportsbooks for the past several weeks, but his hopes took a serious hit with the Gators losing their second game of the season last Saturday.

Meanwhile, Alabama improved to 10-0 with a 52-3 rout of Arkansas.

Quarterback Mac Jones threw for 208 yards on 24 of 29 passing. Three of those completions went to Smith, who scored the Crimson Tide’s first touchdown on an 84-yard punt return.

Jones is now widely considered the Heisman Trophy favorite. He’s being offered at -160 by FanDuel, -200 by DraftKings and -210 by William Hill. Several other regulated sportsbooks have taken Heisman odds off their markets.

Those who are still offering them now have Smith as the second favorite.

Smith’s sudden rise also followed an endorsement from ESPN’s Herbstreit on “College Gameday” before the Arkansas rout.

“I think DeVonta Smith right now, I don’t know if he’s (No. 1 or 2) but he’s right there,” Herbstreit said. “I want to see how things go next weekend in Atlanta (in the SEC Championship Game).

“This is an offense that lost (Jerry) Jeudy and (Henry) Ruggs a year ago (and) (Jaylen) Waddle during the Tennessee game, and he just keeps getting better and better. (Alabama offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian) and Mac Jones get all the recognition, but my man DeVonta Smith is having the best year in the country as far as I’m concerned.”

Smith now has 83 receptions for 1,327 yards and 15 touchdowns this season, all career highs.

He is being offered at +200 by DraftKings and FanDuel and +250 by William Hill. That’s ahead of Trask at all three – +350 by DraftKings and William Hill and +800 by FanDuel.

Preseason Heisman favorite Trevor Lawrence is fourth at each of the three sportsbooks, with his hopes largely dashed after missing two games following a positive COVID-19 test.

–Field Level Media

Dec 5, 2020; Knoxville, Tennessee, USA; Florida Gators quarterback Kyle Trask (11) passes the ball against the Tennessee Volunteers during the first half at Neyland Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Trask heavy favorite as Fields’ Heisman hopes plummet

Florida Gators quarterback Kyle Trask appears to be closing in on the Heisman Trophy with two games remaining in his regular season.

Trask is the heavy favorite by sportsbooks, including DraftKings, where his odds have shortened to -125. The fifth-year senior is being backed by 36 percent of the handle and 14 percent of the total Heisman bets at the sportsbook.

Trask has thrown at least three touchdown passes in every game this season.

Mac Jones is the second betting favorite at +100, but only seven percent of the bets are backing the Alabama quarterback who will face Trask in the SEC Championship Game next week. That’s compared to Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence, the preseason favorite whose odds have lengthened to +1200 while missing a month of action due to a positive COVID-19 test and a canceled game.

Lawrence is still being back by 18 percent of the total bets at DraftKings despite having only the ACC Championship Game against Notre Dame between now and when the Heisman votes are submitted.

On the fringe of Heisman consideration is Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields. The second preseason favorite behind Lawrence, Fields’ odds have lengthened to +2500 with the Buckeyes’ scheduled ravaged by COVID-19 issues. However, his odds did not lengthen further in the hours after Ohio State’s game against Michigan was canceled on Tuesday.

Fields has been passed by Ian Book (+1600), although the Notre Dame quarterback is being backed by only seven percent of the total bets and four percent of the handle – lowest among the five.

–Field Level Media

Nov 21, 2020; Nashville, Tennessee, USA;  Florida Gators quarterback Kyle Trask (11) warms up before the game against the Vanderbilt Commodores at Vanderbilt Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama, Florida QB Trask remain betting favorites

Alabama remains the odds-on favorite to win the national title after dominating Auburn in the Iron Bowl on Saturday, while Florida quarterback Kyle Trask is inching closer to the Heisman Trophy.

The Crimson Tide are the unanimous No. 1 team in the AP Top 25 poll and are expected to remain in the top spot when the next College Football Playoff rankings are released Tuesday. Alabama is being offered at +125 by DraftKings to win the national title, ahead of the Clemson Tigers (+250), Ohio State Buckeyes (+550) and Notre Dame (+600).

With Clemson and Notre Dame on a collision course for a rematch in the ACC title game, Florida (+1200) and Texas A&M (+1600) are among the teams still battling for a spot in the CFP semifinals.

The Gators moved to 7-1 with a 34-10 win over Kentucky on Saturday. Trask has thrown for at least three touchdowns in every game this season and remains the Heisman favorite at -110 by DraftKings.

Alabama quarterback Mac Jones did close the gap a bit and is being offered at +150 after throwing for 302 yards and five touchdowns in a 42-13 rout of Auburn. Jones was listed at +300 by DraftKings last week.

Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence played for the first time in a month and threw for 403 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the Tigers’ 52-17 win over Pittsburgh. The junior shortened his Heisman odds from +1200 to +500, moving past Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields (+1000), who had his game against Illinois canceled due to the Buckeyes’ COVID-19 outbreak.

Fields was being offered at +250 last week, but will have six regular-season games at most to build his Heisman resume. Ohio State isn’t guaranteed to be eligible for the Big Ten championship if the Buckeyes aren’t able to play at Michigan State on Saturday before closing out their regular season against Michigan.

–Field Level Media

Nov 21, 2020; Nashville, Tennessee, USA;  Florida Gators quarterback Kyle Trask (11) warms up before the game against the Vanderbilt Commodores at Vanderbilt Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Gators’ Kyle Trask takes command as Heisman favorite

An afterthought in the Heisman Trophy race just a few weeks ago, Florida Gators quarterback Kyle Trask is now the heavy favorite to take home the award.

Trask has led No. 6 Florida to a 6-1 start while improving his record as a starter to 14-3 since taking over for Feleipe Franks last year. Fourth in the Heisman Trophy odds much of the season, the fifth-year senior is now the heavy favorite at sportsbooks including DraftKings (-134) and PointsBet (-125).

He has leapfrogged a trio that has been jockeying for the top spot all season.

Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields is being offered at +250 by both books, with DraftKings offering Alabama quarterback Mac Jones at +300 and PointsBet listing him at +350.

Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence began the season as the overwhelming Heisman favorite but has seen his hopes derailed by a positive COVID-19 test and a canceled game, leading to the junior being out of action since last month. He is now being offered at +1200 by DraftKings and +1600 by PointsBet.

Both books are offering Heisman odds on 11 players, but those four are considered the only ones with a legitimate chance to win the award at this stage of the season.

Trask has led the Gators to touchdowns on their opening drive in five of seven games while completing 70.7 percent of his passes on the season for 2,554 yards, 31 touchdowns and three interceptions. His production is considered even more impressive since it has come against an SEC-only slate of opponents in the Gators’ COVID-19-altered schedule.

Only Texas Tech’s B.J. Symons (32 in 2003) has thrown more touchdowns through the first seven games in a season in FBS history. Trask is also second in the nation with an average of 364.9 passing yards per game. He has at least three touchdown passes in every game this season, and at least four in each of his first six games.

Despite his gaudy numbers, the 6-foot-5 Trask is still not considered a first-round NFL draft prospect by most analysts due to moderate arm strength and the lack of dynamic athleticism.

Lawrence may not take home the Heisman Trophy after this season, but he is the overwhelming favorite to be the No. 1 overall pick should he forgo his senior season.

The junior is the -1000 favorite by PointsBet to be the top pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, followed by Fields (+500) and offensive tackle Penei Sewell (+750), who opted out of this season at Oregon to focus on the draft.

–Field Level Media

Nov 7, 2020; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback Justin Fields (1) leads the team before the game against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Ohio Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Ohio State QB Fields making Heisman push

Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields is full throttle in his push for the Heisman Trophy, leapfrogging idle Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence in the odds on the heels of a six-TD performance last week against Rutgers.

Fields is running second in Heisman odds to Alabama quarterback Mac Jones at most books but is now even at BetMGM. Both players are +150 odds, Lawrence is +400 and Florida QB Kyle Trask is fourth at +550.

The biggest mover of the week at BetMGM? Notre Dame quarterback Ian Book went from +10000 to +2500 after guiding the Fighting Irish to an upset of Clemson, then the nation’s No. 1 team.

Jones is at +120 according to Caesar’s, William Hill and DraftKings, which has Fields at +150, and Lawrence, the preseason favorite, at +300. Lawrence has missed the past two games because of a positive COVID-19 test.

He is expected to play in the Tigers’ Nov. 21 game against Florida State following a bye week.

FanDuel opened the Heisman market in February with Fields ahead of Lawrence. Fields was +175 and Lawrence +400.

Fields, Jones and Lawrence are now offered at equal +175 odds. The 7/4 odds mean a bettor placing a $100 wager on the winner would win $175.

–Field Level Media