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Friday, January 15, 2021

UF was too little, too late in campaigning for Kyle Trask

UF shouldn’t have been so shy about campaigning for their star quarterback

<p>Kyle Trask threw three interceptions in Wednesday’s loss to Oklahoma. Photo from UF-Virginia game in December 2019.</p>

Kyle Trask threw three interceptions in Wednesday’s loss to Oklahoma. Photo from UF-Virginia game in December 2019.

 If you look at the Heisman odds as of late, you may realize something.

Vegas has Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith as the current favorite (-200). He’s followed by his quarterback, Mac Jones (+150), Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence (+1000) and teammate Najee Harris (+1600). 

After them is the quarterback who leads college football in passing yards and touchdowns.

Kyle Trask had been the Heisman favorite until Dec. 13. After a shocking loss to LSU, Jones and Smith leaped over him. A second team All-SEC nod — as opposed to a first team nod — all but confirms that we won’t have another statue added to Ben Hill Griffin Stadium at the end of this year.

The Heisman isn’t a team award, and players with three losses to their name have taken home the trophy before. So what happened?

Perhaps UF shouldn’t have been so shy about campaigning for their star quarterback.

See, the voting deadline for the Heisman trophy was Monday. On that very same day — the day Heisman votes were due — the Gators and coach Dan Mullen tweeted out their case for Trask. It was the first time they had done so all year, and in my eyes, it was too little, too late.

Alabama and Clemson have been active in promoting their Heisman candidates. Alabama posted a graphic Nov. 27 highlighting stats from all three of its current candidates. Clemson tweeted their own the next day, using the hashtag “#Trevor4Heisman.” 

As for the Gators? They last mentioned the word “Heisman” in an Oct. 29 tweet about Steve Spurrier kicking a field goal in 1966.

A large part of Heisman selection is hype. While in a few cases some Heisman candidates are indisputable — such as how Joe Burrow finished last year with Heisman odds at -12500 — the candidate who sports programs, writers and fans are pushing is likely to turn the heads of the voters. 

While Trask was on the field throwing touchdowns and racking up yards, guys like Jones and Smith were getting buzz from their play and for their victories, and programs capitalized on that through social media. 

Florida should have done the same.

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Would Trask have won with that push from UF? It’s impossible to say, but I would guarantee you would have seen his name in the top four candidates this time of year.

Contact River Wells at rwells@alligator.org and follow him on Twitter @riverhwells


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