Former Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver DeVonta Smith captured last year's Heisman Memorial Trophy, which is awarded annually to the most outstanding player in college football. File Photo by Corey Sipkin/UPI | License Photo
Dec. 6 (UPI) -- Alabama quarterback Bryce Young, Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud, Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson and Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett were revealed as the finalists for the 2021 Heisman Memorial Trophy on Monday.
The Heisman Trophy, which is awarded annually to the most outstanding player in college football, will be presented Saturday in New York, returning to its usual in-person ceremony and date after last year's presentation of the award was delayed and forced to go virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In recent history, quarterbacks have dominated the Heisman race, winning 17 times since 2000 and taking home four of the last five trophies. Last year, Crimson Tide wide receiver DeVonta Smith became the first wideout to win the award since Desmond Howard in 1991.
Young, a sophomore, strengthened his chances to capture this year's award after throwing for 421 yards and three touchdowns during the Crimson Tide's 41-24 win over the Georgia Bulldogs in Saturday's SEC title game. He now projects as the overwhelming favorite to win the trophy.
The 20-year-old Young was listed at -4000 odds at Caesars Sportsbook, followed by Hutchinson at 20-1 odds. Stroud and Pickett were each at 30-1.
Young, who served as the backup to Mac Jones during his freshman year, ended the regular season with 4,322 passing yards, 46 total touchdowns and only four interceptions for Alabama.
If Young secures the trophy, he would become the first Crimson Tide quarterback to win the Heisman. Alabama, which has had three previous winners of the award, also would become the sixth school to boast back-to-back Heisman winners.
Hutchinson anchored Michigan's stout defense this season en route to Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year honors. The senior pass-rusher has notched 58 tackles and 14 sacks -- a single-season Michigan record -- over 13 games this season.
Stroud, a freshman, led the country in QBR while throwing for 3,862 yards and 38 touchdowns, which led the Big Ten. The young quarterback won the conference's freshman of the year award and also earned Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year honors.
Pickett, playing in his fifth season at Pitt, set the Atlantic Coast Conference record for most touchdown passes (43) in a season, surpassing the marks set by Jameis Winston and Deshaun Watson. He also compiled 4,319 passing yards and a 67.2% completion percentage while guiding the Panthers to their first ACC championship.