In the landscape of college athletics, Penn State football is one of the most historic and storied programs out there. Over the years, the Nittany Lions have had multiple undefeated seasons, national championships, individual award winners, and College Football Hall of Fame inductees. But the one accolade that has often eluded Penn State is the Heisman Trophy, with running back John Cappelletti winning the program’s only Heisman in 1973.
With several talented young stars on its current roster, the Nittany Lions may be entering one of its best windows of opportunity to win the award in quite some time. Both Drew Allar and Nick Singleton have been listed among Heisman frontrunners since the end of last season. However, following spring practice, several sportsbooks have been fading on Penn State’s talented sophomore running back in the 2023 Heisman odds.
Nick Singleton slips in latest 2023 Heisman odds
In January, we reported on the early betting odds for the 2023 Heisman Trophy. According to BetOnline, projected starting quarterback Drew Allar had a 25/1 chance to win the award. Nick Singleton came in with much longer 50/1 odds.
Four months later, Vegas hasn’t moved on Allar, as the sophomore quarterback still sits with 25/1 odds (+2500), according to BetOnline. However, the sportsbook has lowered Singleton’s chances of winning the award, which currently sit at 66/1 (+6600). Singleton has the fifth-best odds among running backs to win the Heisman, coming in behind Michigan’s Blake Corum, Ohio State’s TreVeyon Henderson, Ole Miss’s Quinshon Judkins, and Clemson’s Will Shipley.
Most sportsbooks agree on the placement of Penn State’s two sophomore standouts. Rotowire, which aggregates odds from several different sportsbooks, has Singleton’s best odds at 65/1, while Allar remains at 25/1. The best odds I could find for Singleton come from Barstool Sportsbook, which has the sophomore running back at 50/1 (and Allar at 30/1).
Can Penn State bring home its second Heisman Trophy ever?
Of course, the big warning label that has to be put on this entire discussion is that it’s May. Even as players rise and fall in these rankings, it’s not tied to anything they’ve done on the field. For me, the Heisman discussion doesn’t get really serious until at least November.
Odds aside, I think it would be difficult for Nick Singleton to win the Heisman. While I believe Singleton is one of the most talented players in the country, the award has moved away from running backs in recent years. Mark Ingram (2009) and Derrick Henry (2015) are the only two running backs to win the Heisman since 2000, with quarterbacks taking home the award in every other year but 2020 (Devonta Smith). Further still, many college coaches have started to employ load management to protect the NFL futures for their star running backs, and Singleton shares the backfield with the extremely talented Kaytron Allen.
So, like the sportsbooks, I think that Penn State’s best shot at a Heisman winner would be Allar. However, this season is likely premature, with the sophomore quarterback expected to step into a starting role for the first time.
More than anything, having two second-year players among the early 2023 Heisman odds speaks to the talent on Penn State’s roster. There may still be growing pains as these young stars step into leadership roles, but the future looks bright for the Nittany Lions.
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