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Alabama added its third Heisman Trophy winner last season as DeVonta Smith became the first receiver to earn the honor in almost 30 years. While Smith has moved on to the NFL with several of the stars from last year’s offense, the Crimson Tide still returns a few players capable of taking home the hardware this season.

Recently, William Hill Sportsbook released its latest Heisman betting odds heading into the summer. Alabama quarterback Bryce Young has the third-best odds to win the award at 9/1 behind Clemson quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei (7/1) and Oklahoma quarterback Spencer Rattler (11/2).

Here’s a breakdown of Young and some of Alabama’s other early Heisman hopefuls.

Bryce Young, quarterback (9/1)

2020 stats

Games: 9

Completion percentage: 59.1

Passing yards: 156

Passing Touchdowns: 1

Interceptions: 0

The case for: Bryce Young is going to be the starting quarterback for a playoff-caliber team. That alone makes him a legitimate Heisman contender. While Smith earned the honor last season, 17 of the previous Heisman winners were quarterbacks.

Young didn’t get much action last year as he took a backseat to Mac Jones’ record-breaking season. However, if this spring is any indication, the five-star sophomore appears primed to shine during his turn in the spotlight this year.

Young showed plenty of promise during Alabama’s A-Day game where he earned MVP honors while completing 25 of 44 passes for 333 yards and a touchdown. Unlike Jones, the dual-threat passer has the ability to make plays with his legs, giving him more opportunities to put up big numbers on the statsheet. The last five Heisman-winning quarterbacks have recorded at least 300 yards on the ground.

The case against: While there’s no denying Young’s talent, he won’t have a lot of the weapons Jones had at his disposal last season. Along with losing Smith, Alabama will also be without another first-round receiver in Jaylen Waddle as well as the Doak Walker Award winner in running back Najee Harris. In addition, the Crimson Tide loses three starters from its Joe Moore Award-winning offensive line, including Outland Trophy winner Alex Leatherwood and Rimington Trophy winner Landon Dickerson.

Young’s lack of in-game experience could also come into play during his Heisman campaign. Alabama opens its season up against Miami before traveling to Florida in Week 3. Young can’t afford to get off to a slow start and waste those two important chances to make a good first impression to voters.

Brian Robinson Jr., running back (50/1)

2020 stats

Games: 13

Rushing yards: 483

Yards per carry: 5.31

Rushing touchdowns: 6

The case for: After patiently waiting his turn behind Harris and a loaded Alabama backfield the past four years, Brian Robinson Jr. could finally become the Tide’s featured back. Heading into his fifth season, the Tuscaloosa, Ala. native is taking advantage of the NCAA’s blanket eligibility waiver which will provide him with one final opportunity to shine for his hometown team.

While Robinson received limited carries last season, he averaged 5.5 or more yards per attempt in six of his 13 appearances. That included a solid showing against Ohio State in the national championship game where he ran for 69 yards on 10 carries.

The case against: Unlike Harris last year, Robinson isn’t expected to become a bell-cow back as Alabama figures to spread its carries out a bit more this season. The Tide will feature six other scholarship backs on its roster, all of whom ranked as either a four- or five-star recruit entering the program.

On top of sharing the workload, Robinson is also running behind an offensive line that is looking to replace three of its starters. Alabama has several talented linemen waiting in the wings, but the unit might take some time to gel.

John Metchie III, wide receiver (75/1)

2020 stats

Games: 13 (11 starts)

Receptions: 55

Receiving yards: 916

Receiving touchdowns: 6

The case for: Heisman receivers certainly aren’t the norm, but John Metchie III now has a blueprint of how to win the award after playing alongside Smith last season. Metchie is coming off a breakout season in which he finished second on the team with 55 receptions for 916 yards and six touchdowns.

With Smith and Waddle now in the NFL, Metchie projects to be Alabama’s No. 1 target. It’s also worth noting that the rest of Alabama’s returning wide receivers combined for just 30 receptions last season.

That being said, if Metchie wants a serious shot at winning the Heisman, he’ll have to contribute as more than just a receiver. Smith became the frontrunner for the award last season after taking on punt return duties.

The case against: Last year was the exception, not the norm. While Smith was more than deserving of his Heisman, a COVID-altered season made it a lot more possible for a receiver to win the award.

One of Metchie’s biggest competitors for the award is his own quarterback. Unlike Jones, who sat back in the pocket and delivered the ball to his playmakers, Young could take matters into his own hands a bit more by picking up yards with his feet. If Young and Metchie both end up as Heisman finalists the way Jones and Smith did last season, those extra yards on the ground might see the quarterback get the nod over his receiver.

Jase McClellan, running back (80/1)

2020 stats

Games: 12

Rushing yards: 245

Yards per carry: 10.65

Rushing touchdowns: 2

The case for: Jase McClellan might not currently be Alabama’s projected starter at running back. However, based on last year’s performance he could be the most talented option in the Tide’s backfield.

McClellan made the most of his limited workload during his freshman season, posting a team-high 10.65 yards per carry. The 5-foot-11, 212-pound back flashed his big-play ability several times, including an 80-yards touchdown run against Arkansas. He also looked good during the A-Day game where he ran for 46 yards on 12 carries while recording seven receptions for 62 yards. If McClellan can keep up that production this season, he’ll be hard to take off the field.

The case against: As is the case with Robinson, it’s difficult to imagine Alabama using one back the way it did with Harris last season. McClellan should get more touches than last year, but it likely won’t be enough to put him in Heisman contention.

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