Whispers became murmurs and murmurs became shouts as Aidan Hutchinson’s Heisman Trophy campaign was shot out of a canon throughout the month of November. The senior edge defender was monumental in the Michigan Wolverines’ Big Ten Championship, dominating rival Ohio State and completely taking over Iowa’s game plan last Saturday.
As expected, Hutchinson was named one of four Heisman finalists, becoming the first Michigan player to be invited to New York since Jabrill Peppers in 2016. Hutchinson is looking to become the second ever defender to win the award, given to the Wolverines’ last winner, Charles Woodson, in 1997.
The competition is tough this year, as Hutchinson will be joined by three quarterbacks. Signal callers have won four of the last five awards and nine of the last 11, so there certainly is a preference among voters. The Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year is not the favorite, but his invite was not just a formality either. Below were the latest odds listed heading into the weekend from DraftKings Sportsbook.
Bryce Young, QB, Alabama (-200)
The presumed favorite, Young has the stats: 4,322 passing yards, 43 touchdowns, and just four touchdowns. He struggled for most of the Iron Bowl but manufactured a late touchdown drive to send the game into overtime before coming out ahead over Auburn. Young likely wrapped up the award with a big SEC Championship Game. The quarterback on the No. 1 team always has great odds to win the Heisman.
C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State (+400)
For a bit of time, it looked like Stroud was going to be the 2021 winner, especially after his ludicrous 32-for-35, 432-yard, six-touchdown performance against Michigan State in essentially just the first half. Even though Stroud put up good numbers against Michigan, Ohio State’s loss — and exclusion from the Big Ten Championship — likely kept him from winning the award.
Aidan Hutchinson, DE, Michigan (+1400)
A school-record 14 sacks, a couple forced fumbles, and plenty of pressures and hurries have Hutchinson in a defensive class of his own. Perhaps no non-quarterback has had a bigger impact on their team this year, and Michigan would not be close to where it is this season without Hutchinson. In terms of best pure player, the standout defender has as good of an argument as anyone, regardless of if he wins the Heisman or not.
Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh (+1600)
Pickett has been a fun watch this year, airing the ball out a ton and helping Pittsburgh take home the ACC crown. He is a tier below Young and Stroud but is still a very good quarterback, and he is likely to earn a first round selection in the upcoming draft. His inclusion was not too controversial, though there is one player who has a legitimate reason for disappointment: Alabama linebacker Will Anderson.