Who will be the next transfer to win the Heisman Trophy?

The initial transfer portal deadline has officially passed and with this season in the books for most teams, coaching staffs are planning ahead for next season by recruiting those who are looking to switch schools. With 5 of the last 7 Heisman winners having been transfers, we at VegasInsider compiled odds on who could be the next transfer to take home the trophy. Listed below are the odds for 14 of the top athletes on the move this season to win the Heisman Trophy, as well as a few players from previous years’ portals who still have a chance at glory.

Current Transfers

Dillon Gabriel, QB

Transfer from: Oklahoma

Transfer to: Oregon

Odds: +750

Dillon Gabriel had a great season for the Oklahoma Sooners this past season, ending the year with a higher QB rating (172.0) and more total touchdowns (42) than Heisman runner up Michael Penix Jr. (who is currently readying his team to face off against Michigan for the national championship). Now Gabriel is headed to Oregon for his final year of eligibility to replace Bo Nix as the Ducks transition to the Big Ten. Nix, a former transfer from Auburn, finished third in the Heisman voting this season and was coming off a worse final season with the Tigers before heading to Oregon than Gabriel had this past year at Oklahoma. If Gabriel can take a similar step forward as Nix did, the Ducks could very well have their first Heisman winner in 10 years.

Dante Moore, QB

Transfer from: UCLA

Transfer to: Oregon

Odds: +1500

It might seem strange that two quarterbacks transferring to Oregon sit atop this list, but Dante Moore, the gifted young quarterback previously at UCLA, has three seasons of eligibility remaining. Dillon Gabriel will almost certainly sit atop the depth chart during the 2024 season before graduating, but that will give Moore a season to sit and learn the offense before taking over with at least two more seasons left to play as the starter. That extra time to understand the system could make the difference. Bo Nix came alive this year, his second with the Ducks, throwing for 1,000 more yards and 16 more touchdowns in 2023 than in 2022. Moore, the 4th ranked recruit in the class of 2023, struggled in his first season with the Bruins but still has the natural talent to develop into a star quarterback. While he might not be on the radar this year, keep an eye on Dante Moore for the 2025 Heisman watch.

Malachi Nelson, QB

Transfer from: USC

Transfer to: Uncommitted

Odds: +1500

Malachi Nelson’s USC career seems to be coming to an end after just 3 pass attempts. ESPN’s #1 ranked recruit in the class of 2023 was a playmaker in high school but redshirted this year, leaving him with four remaining seasons of eligibility. While Nelson remains uncommitted to a new program (and could technically return to USC), wherever he goes he will have plenty of time to make it his home. His odds could improve depending on where he winds up, but whether he becomes an immediate starter somewhere or sits and learns a system, Nelson has a better chance than most in the portal to bring home a Heisman one day.

Riley Leonard, QB

Transfer from: Duke

Transfer to: Notre Dame

Odds: +2500

Riley Leonard has played a major role in making “is Duke a football school?” a legitimate question thanks to his play with the Blue Devils over the last two years. But after an injury-plagued season and with head coach Mike Elko out the door, Leonard is following the Sam Hartman route and heading to Notre Dame for his final season of eligibility. Suiting up for the Fighting Irish will allow Leonard the opportunity to play big time games against talented opponents in front of primetime audiences. If Leonard can deliver some big performances in those matchups like we saw him do at Duke (and perhaps lead Notre Dame to the newly-expanded playoffs) it isn’t hard to imagine him ending the 2024 season as a Heisman finalist.

Will Howard, QB

Transfer from: Kansas State

Transfer to: Uncommitted

Odds: +3000

Will Howard is a quarterback in the mold of Josh Allen; big-bodied, great on the run, and able to take contact well. In Kansas State’s run-heavy scheme we saw that ability in full swing, but Howard also accounted for over 2,500 yards and 24 touchdowns with his arm as well this season. Imagine how those numbers could look in a pass-oriented scheme. With rumors swirling that schools such as USC and Ohio State are interested in bringing him in for his final season of eligibility, we might not need to imagine long. Under the guidance of someone like Lincoln Riley or Ryan Day, Howard could explode and put up some gaudy numbers.

Maalik Murphy, QB

Transfer from: Texas

Transfer to: Duke

Odds: +5000

Maalik Murphy performed well enough in his two starts for the Texas Longhorns this season to win both games and keep the team in the playoffs. Despite that, with Quinn Ewers looking set to return to Austin for another season (more on that later) and the highly-touted Arch Manning the heir apparent, Murphy decided he wanted to move on to a new team that he could make his own. He found just that with the Duke Blue Devils, who had an opening for a new starting quarterback following the departure of the previously mentioned Riley Leonard. Murphy will have three seasons to lead Duke along with new head coach Manny Diaz, who is familiar with winning in the ACC. Given some time to get comfortable in a new system, Murphy could make a push to bring the Blue Devils their first ever Heisman winner.

DJ Uiagalelei, QB

Transfer from: Oregon State

Transfer to: Florida State

Odds: +10000

DJ Uiagalelei was the #2 overall prospect and highest ranked pocket passer in the class of 2020 and was supposed to continue Clemson’s dynasty after Trevor Lawrence but could never quite reach those heights. After three unspectacular years with the Tigers, Uiagalelei moved on to Oregon State where he led the Beavers to a Top 25 finish. Now on his way back to the ACC, Uiagalelei will take over a FSU team that was one Jordan Travis-ankle injury away from reaching the playoffs. Despite the injury, Travis finished 5th in this season’s Heisman voting. Could Uiagalelei make a comeback for the ages and lead FSU to the promised land? It would be a great story, and the Heisman voters love a good story.

Kyle McCord, QB

Transfer from: Ohio State

Transfer to: Syracuse

Odds: +10000

Despite throwing for over 3,000 yards and 24 touchdowns as the starter for Ohio State last season, Kyle McCord wasn’t promised the starting job for the Buckeyes in 2024, so he looked towards the transfer portal to find a guaranteed job elsewhere. He decided on Syracuse, where he headlines a solid class of transfers and recruits brought in by new head coach Fran Brown (who was hired largely due to his recruiting abilities). The Orange haven’t had a Heisman winner since Ernie Davis won the trophy back in 1961, so McCord faces some long odds. In a new environment and with a talented group of receivers around him though, McCord could pick up some votes if he is able to surprise people and lead Syracuse to a newly expanded College Football Playoffs.

Evan Stewart, WR

Transfer from: Texas A&M

Transfer to: Uncommitted

Odds: +6500

We have officially reached the non-QB part of the list, kicked off by Evan Stewart. The #2 ranked player in this year’s transfer portal and the #6 overall recruit in the class of 2022, Stewart’s production has been solid but unspectacular through two seasons, bringing in 91 catches for over 1,100 yards and 6 touchdowns. But Stewart battled through a leg injury this past season (one he seems to feel the A&M medical staff was not entirely truthful with him about) and a sputtering offense. At full health Stewart is still a phenomenal athlete with track star speed that could put up big numbers with his next team. While the Heisman often goes to a quarterback, the last non-QB to win the position was someone analysts have compared Stewart to: Devonta Smith. Reportedly considering a number of big name programs known for explosive offenses, and with two remaining years of eligibility, he could be the next non-QB and transfer athlete to win the award.

London Humphreys, WR

Transfer from: Vanderbilt

Transfer to: Georgia

Odds: +6500

Playing for Vanderbilt doesn’t put you in the national spotlight much, so the name may not be as well known, but Humphreys was a big play machine for the Commodores last season. He averaged 20 yards per reception and brought in 4 touchdowns as a true freshman this past year. By transferring to Georgia though, Humphreys is making sure he’s squarely in the middle of the spotlight. If he continues to put up big plays with his new team, people will take notice. And with three seasons of eligibility remaining, he has a better chance than most position players of bringing home the Heisman during his career. He’ll have to put up some flashy numbers to do it though, and playing for a Georgia offense that is always loaded with weapons won’t make it easier.

Trevor Etienne, RB

Transfer from: Florida

Transfer to: Georgia

Odds: +8000

A talented running back who already has a history of production in the SEC, Trevor Etienne could be a game changer at Georgia. Having already rushed for nearly 1,500 yards and 14 touchdowns while at Florida, Etienne has shown enough to warrant immediate playing time with the Bulldogs and should make the most of it behind an always-stellar Georgia offensive line. A running back hasn’t won the Heisman since 2015 but if no quarterback takes control of the race and Etienne explodes as the premier back on Georgia’s offense, he could put himself in the conversation. He’ll have two years of remaining eligibility to do it.

Princely Umanmielen/Tyler Baron/Walter Nolen, DL

Transfer from: Florida/Tennessee/Texas A&M

Transfer to: Ole Miss

Odds: +30000

Originally set to each be listed on their own in this article, all three of the top defensive lineman in the portal committed to Ole Miss and evened out their chances to be the second defensive player in the history of the award to win the Heisman. While that remains very much a long shot, the Rebels’ defense is based on rushing the passer and creating havoc. Adding the two best edge rushers (Umanmielen and Baron) and the best interior lineman (Nolen) in the portal can help with that. All three are coming from within the SEC, so they are used to the level of competition they will face. If Ole Miss makes a playoff run and the defense is the reason why (as opposed to being led by fellow potential Heisman-contender Jaxson Dart on offense) and one of these three cements themselves as the star of the show, we could see the Ole Miss defense represented among the Heisman finalists this year. Walter Nolen has two seasons (Umanmielen and Baron each only have one) to seize the opportunity, but likely faces an uphill climb unless he can put up more sacks and TFLs than the edge rushers around him.

Former Transfers

With this year’s class of transfers out of the way, we took a look at a few players who switched schools in previous years who could still contend for the Heisman.

Shedeur Sanders, QB

Transfer From: Jackson State

Transfer to: Colorado

Transfer Year: 2023

Odds: +1500

Expected to return and play out his final season of eligibility under his father at Colorado, Shedeur Sanders is considered by many analysts to be one of the early favorites for the Heisman Trophy in 2024. After a hot start to the 2023 season the Buffaloes sputtered in the second half of the season, finishing 6-6. Despite playing through injury for part of the season and being sacked a record 54 times, Sanders still finished the season with a nearly 70% completion percentage while throwing for over 3,200 yards and accounting for 31 touchdowns. If his offensive line can keep him upright this year, Shedeur Sanders could deliver Colorado their first Heisman in 30 years.

Quinn Ewers

Transfer from: Ohio State

Transfer to: Texas

Transfer Year: 2022

Odds: +1500

Quinn Ewers was one lofted pass away from taking Texas to the national championship game. It was a great season overall for the Longhorns and for Ewers, who threw for nearly 3,500 yards and contributed 27 total touchdowns. He is expected to return to Austin next season, rather than test his luck in a 2024 NFL Draft that is said to feature a crowded quarterback class. With two years of eligibility remaining, Ewers will have multiple chances to go back after the national championship and the Heisman if he wants them. The former Ohio State quarterback showed a lot of development between year one at Texas and year two, and if that trend continues his name will be on the mind of every Heisman voter at the conclusion of the 2024 season. He will have to do it while learning to work with new weapons however, as three of his top pass catchers are expected to head to the pros this year.

Travis Hunter, WR/CB

Transfer From: Jackson State

Transfer to: Colorado

Transfer Year: 2023

Odds: +2500

Travis Hunter is a phenomenal athlete who produces results on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball. After following Shedeur and Coach Deion Sanders from Jackson State to Colorado last year, Hunter immediately became the team's best defensive back and one of their best receivers. He led the team in interceptions and also finished second in both receiving yards and receiving touchdowns despite missing time due to injury this season. Hunter is a name that intrigues many across the football world, and if he continues to produce at this level as a two way player, Heisman voters are going to have to consider him for their ballots. He’ll have two more seasons at Colorado if he wants them to bring home the trophy.

All rankings courtesy of 24/7 Sports unless otherwise noted. All stats courtesy of ESPN. 

DISCLAIMER: These odds posted are for illustrative & editorial purposes only. The data was created by a betting industry expert at VegasInsider.

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