NEW YORK – Even though Dwayne Haskins was invited to Saturday’s Heisman Trophy ceremony, most people don’t expect him to ultimately walk away with the award.
Haskins is one of just three finalists in New York with a chance to win this year’s Heisman, but the other two finalists – Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray and Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa – have been considered the favorites to win the award for most of the season.
As of Friday night, Murray was considered the favorite to win the award with -240 odds, with Tagovailoa second with +180 odds, while Haskins was a distant third with +5000 odds, according to BetOnline.
Take a look at the season Haskins had, though, and he appears to be as deserving of winning the award as anyone. He leads the Football Bowl Subdivision with 4,580 passing yards and 47 passing touchdowns – breaking Big Ten records in both categories – while throwing just eight interceptions. He has completed 70.2 percent of his passes and led Ohio State to a 12-1 record, putting together a pair of spectacular performances in the Buckeyes’ last two games to lead them to a 62-39 win over Michigan and a 45-24 Big Ten Championship Game win over Northwestern.
He did all of that in his first (and possibly only) season as Ohio State’s starting quarterback, and in a season that began with tumult, as Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer was suspended for the first three games after an investigation determined he failed to take sufficient management action against former wide receivers coach Zach Smith, who was fired less than two months before the season.
Haskins believes the way he performed this season to lead his team through that, breaking nearly every single-season Ohio State passing record in the process, makes him worthy of winning the Heisman.
“Throughout all that adversity, I felt like I did the most I could for my team, and I feel like I should be respected,” Haskins said.
Haskins has had five 400-yard passing games this season; Ohio State had only had one in school history before this season. Haskins has also had five games with five or more passing touchdowns this season; there had only been such games in Ohio State history before this season.
As such, Haskins doesn’t feel like he had any one specific “Heisman moment” – though his 396-yard, six-touchdown performance against what had been a No. 1-ranked Michigan defense, or his 499-yard, five-touchdown performance against Northwestern in the Big Ten title game, could certainly both qualify – but rather that his body of work makes his case for being the best individual player in college football this year.
“Throughout all that adversity, I felt like I did the most I could for my team, and I feel like I should be respected.”– Dwayne Haskins
Despite that, the vast majority of the national spotlight leading up to Saturday’s Heisman presentation has centered upon Tagovailoa and Murray, leaving Haskins as a projected third-place finisher. But he’s not letting the lack of widespread media recognition deter his confidence.
“I kind of like being the underdog,” Haskins said. “I feel like I’m the best … but it’s not my choice.”
Even though he feels like should have as good a shot as any of the three finalists of winning the award on Saturday night, that’s not to say he thinks Murray and Tagovailoa aren’t also deserving. He considers both of them friends, and expressed praise for both of them on Friday.
“To be in the same conversation with them is just humbling,” Haskins said.
Regardless of how Saturday night plays out, Haskins wants to soak up his Heisman experience and make the most of it.
“Just to be able to sit there and be there in the moment, we’ll see what happens,” Haskins said. “There’s no expectations of winning or losing. I’m just excited to be here.”