It’s never too early for Notre Dame football to kick off a Heisman campaign.
Ian Book obviously had an intricate role in Notre Dame football reaching the College Football Playoff. Without him, and despite the talent on the rest of the team, the Irish wouldn’t have made it this far. The offense would have fallen flat, and I believe we all know this to be the truth.
Once Book became the starter, Notre Dame’s offense saw a renaissance.
So, in the wake of Kyler Murray’s insane Heisman run, what chance does Ian Book have to become the first Notre Dame player to win the Heisman Trophy since Tim Brown?
Having not been the starter in Week 1, Book never had a true shot this season. He will, however, be the starter next season from kickoff weekend and will have as good a shot as anyone in the country of being in New York for the Heisman ceremony.
Tua Tagovailoa will be the front-runner for the 2019 season all year. Given his age, talent, and high profile, this will be a tough hurdle for anyone to clear. Of course, he was the front-runner this season, too, and that didn’t work out in the long run.
Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins, who came in third place for this season’s Heisman Trophy, could be back — but it’s not likely. Kyler Murray will of course be in the Oakland A’s organization.
Gardner Minshew and Will Grier are gone. McKenzie Milton probably won’t be healthy to start the season, either. This eliminates the rest of the quarterbacks from this season’s Top 10 vote getters.
For an award that has essentially become a more prestigious Davey O’Brien Award of late, this leaves the field wide open.
We all know no defenders or linemen have a shot. Desmond Howard in 1991 was the last Wide Receiver to take the trophy home, and only two running backs in the last decade have won the Heisman.
It’s a quarterback award.
Book is in as high profile a job as any player in the country. He’ll have twelve FBS games to prove himself. He threw a little over two touchdowns a game this year and had a completion percentage of 70.4%. He also had his best games against the better teams on Notre Dame’s schedule.
Compare this to Tua, who dropped the ball statistically against the better teams he played, and had a season completion percentage of 67.7%.
There’s no reason why Book can’t surpass that Alabama quarterback in votes.
Of course, there will be detractors who call foul for Notre Dame not playing in a conference championship game, and others will rise. Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence will almost definitely be there. Adrian Martinez from Nebraska could be a great sleeper pick if the Cornhuskers can get back to winning. No doubt others will surprise everyone and come out of nowhere.
Given all of this, there is no reason Ian Book can’t be in New York for the Heisman Trophy ceremony a year from now. Let’s kick off that campaign!