2023 college football odds, predictions: Can Marvin Harrison Jr. win the Heisman?

One follower of “The Joel Klatt Show” didn’t mince words with his mailbag question on this week’s show.

“How realistic is it that Marvin Harrison wins the Heisman this season? He is clearly one of the best players in college football heading into this season, but it is no secret that quarterbacks tend to dominate this award.”

Way to go right at it, Alex S. 

So, how realistic is it? The odds say it’s a long shot.

Currently at FanDuel Sportsbook, Ohio State’s Harrison has the 15th-best odds to win the award at +3000, trailing a host of star QBs, including last year’s winner, USC’s Caleb Williams (+500) and LSU’s Jayden Daniels (+1000). 

History is also not on the stud wide receiver’s side, as only three have ever won the award — Tim Brown (1987), Desmond Howard (1991) and DeVonta Smith (2020).

As for Klatt’s answer to the mailbag question, he laid out the path on which Harrison could traverse to be in the running for the award, saying that several of the top QBs in the nation would have to have a hiccup or two during the season.

“If one of these quarterbacks has a great year, they’re gonna win the Heisman Trophy,” Klatt said. “If one of these quarterbacks leads their team to an undefeated regular season and into the CFP, they’re probably gonna win the award. So a lot has to go right for Marvin Harrison.”

However, one thing Klatt believes Harrison has working in his favor is that he won’t have to battle for votes with his own signal-caller.

” … How does a wide receiver actually win the award? … Well, in Marvin’s case in particular, I think it’s probably good for him that he’s gonna be working with a new quarterback. Because it’s unlikely that he will be fighting for votes with his quarterback, even if the Ohio State quarterback is having an unbelievable season. To me, Marvin is still the focal point. He’s the star. He’s the one that’s gonna garner the attention.”

Currently, the Buckeyes are deciding between junior QB Kyle McCord and sophomore QB Devin Brown. McCord has seen action in 12 games over two seasons. Brown saw action in two games last season.

As noted above, the last wideout to win the Heisman was Alabama’s Smith in 2020, who had an inexperienced Mac Jones as his QB.

“Although Mac was generating some buzz for the Heisman … Mac was a one-year starter,” Klatt pointed out. “So DeVonta, who had been Alabama’s leading receiver the previous season, was kind of duplicating that after [Jaylen] Waddle got hurt, and that’s one of the reasons you saw DeVonta Smith win the Heisman that year.”

Lastly, Klatt said that in order for Harrison to have a chance at the award, he needs to show up and show out when the college football world is watching.

“Then it comes to stages and performances on those stages. You’ve gotta play your best when everybody is watching. I think Ohio State is gonna have the biggest stages in college football this year. … You can make an argument that of the Heisman contenders, he will play in front of more eyeballs than any of them.”

As a sophomore, in 13 games, Harrison caught 77 balls for 1,263 yards and 14 touchdowns. He was a unanimous All-American and named first-team All-Big Ten.

Whether he is the Heisman winner or not, Harrison has a bright NFL future ahead of him, according to nearly every scout on earth, including FOX Sports NFL Draft analyst Rob Rang, who has Harrison projected to go second in the 2024 NFL Draft. 

“An even better prospect than his Pro Bowl father was as a first-round pick of the Indianapolis Colts back in 1996, Harrison, Jr. was viewed by most as an elite prospect even as a true sophomore last year,” Rang said.


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