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Which off-the-radar Heisman candidates could contend?

A healthy Justin Herbert will strengthen Oregon's offense. Brian Murphy/Icon Sportswire

The Heisman Trophy, which is awarded every year in December, is without a doubt the most prestigious individual award in college football. The favorites for this year's award are all deserving of their share of the spotlight. The big names at the running back position include Jonathan Taylor of Wisconsin, Bryce Love of Stanford and Rodney Anderson of Oklahoma. The big names at quarterback include Will Grier of West Virginia, Tua Tagovailoa of Alabama, Khalil Tate of Arizona, Jarrett Stidham of Auburn, Trace McSorely of Penn State, Jake Browning of Washington and McKenzie Milton of UCF.

Of the Heisman winners this decade, only twice has that player been in the top five of the favorites heading into the season, with most of this decade's winners initially drawing 20-1 odds or longer. This article will take a look at some players who are off the radar and could be surprise contenders for the Heisman. The odds I list below are courtesy of the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook.

Justin Herbert, Oregon (20-1)

Why he is not a front-runner: Herbert started seven games in 2016 and eight games last season. The Ducks are 11-14 overall the past two years, including 6-12 in Pac-12 play, finishing fifth and fourth in the Pac-12 North Division the past two seasons.

Why he could surprise: Last year when Herbert started, the Ducks averaged an incredible 52.1 points per game. When Herbert was injured, the Oregon offense was grounded to just 15 points per game. Herbert is now fully healthy and is also a relentless competitor. He works behind an offense I rated No. 12 and is one of the top quarterback prospects for the 2019 NFL draft. Oregon's top two competitors in the Pac-12 North are Washington and Stanford. The Ducks get both of those teams at home and could be a surprise Pac-12 champion if they win those two crucial games.