Washington quarterback Jake Browning throws a pass against Penn State during the Fiesta Bowl on Dec. 30, 2017 in Glendale, Ariz. (Ross D. Franklin/ Associated Press)

Washington quarterback Jake Browning throws a pass against Penn State during the Fiesta Bowl on Dec. 30, 2017 in Glendale, Ariz. (Ross D. Franklin/ Associated Press)

UW’s Browning a top dark-horse candidate for the Heisman

The senior quarterback has thrown for over 9,000 yards and 78 touchdowns the past three seasons.

By Joe Reedy

Associated Press

Washington’s Jake Browning is hoping to repeat what Baker Mayfield did last year.

Mayfield was a Heisman Trophy longshot in the preseason, but ended up winning the award while leading Oklahoma to the College Football Playoff for the second time in three years.

Browning was sixth in the Heisman voting two years ago after leading the Huskies to a Pac-12 title and the playoff, where they lost to Alabama in the semifinals. His productivity declined last year though as his touchdowns fell from 43 to 19.

Washington was 10-3 last season, but is the preseason favorite to win the Pac-12. Browning and the Huskies will also have an early opportunity to make a favorable impression to rest of the nation as they face Auburn in the opener in Atlanta on Sept. 1.

Browning — who has thrown for over 9,000 yards and 78 touchdowns the past three seasons — is facing high expectations, but none might be bigger than what coach Chris Peterson expects out of the senior.

“Jake plays really good football and has made some spectacular plays in his career,” Peterson said. “We’re looking for him to do that at the most difficult position in football at a really high, elite level play after play after play.”

A look at other Heisman longshots looking to improve their odds:

Ed Oliver, DT, Houston

The junior might have set the record for being the earliest to announce that he is entering the NFL Draft. But there is good reason for that as Oliver might be the top pick. The 6-foot-3, 290-pound defensive lineman faces huge odds to win, but with 38 1/2 tackles for loss the past two seasons and the possibility that coach Major Applewhite could use him on some offensive plays, he could at least get to New York as one of the finalists.

McKenzie Milton, QB, Central Florida

Milton was eighth in the voting this past season after he led the Knights to an improbable 13-0 record and a victory over Auburn in the Peach Bowl. He was second in the nation in passing efficiency (179.3) and yards per attempt (10.22), finishing behind Mayfield. However, UCF has a new coach in Josh Heupel after Scott Frost left for Nebraska. Also hampering Milton’s bid is a lack of weekly exposure. The Knights’ first national appearance won’t be until Sept. 15 against North Carolina.

Drew Lock, QB, Missouri

Lock set an Southeastern Conference record last season with 44 touchdown passes. Three SEC quarterbacks have won the award since 2007, but the senior is going to need to produce wins for a Tigers squad that lost five of its first six this past season before finishing 7-6.

Cam Akers, RB, Florida State

New coach Willie Taggart says that the theme of his offense is “lethal simplicity.” That is also an apt description of Akers. The sophomore had four 100-yard games in 2017 along with setting Florida State’s freshman rushing record with 1,025 yards. Akers will be counted on early to be a focal point of Taggart’s offense, starting with the Sept. 3 opener against Virginia Tech.

Brian Lewerke, QB, Michigan State

The junior is a dual-threat quarterback who led the Spartans to 10 wins as a sophomore while accounting for 3,352 yards of total offense. With the turmoil surrounding Ohio State’s program, Michigan State could end up as the favorite in the Big Ten East.

Rodney Anderson, RB, Oklahoma

There have been only three occasions where the same school has produced different Heisman winners in back-to-back seasons. Anderson didn’t even start until mid-season this past year but finished with 1,442 yards and 18 touchdowns from scrimmage. In his best game, he had 290 yards and four touchdowns from scrimmage in a regular-season win over TCU. At 6-foot-1 and 220 pounds, he is a powerhouse with breakaway speed and good enough hands to have grabbed five touchdown receptions in 2017.

Talk to us

More in Sports

Marysville Pilchuck soccer player Edgar Martinez

Standout defender also kicked for the football team and shares a name with a Seattle Mariners icon.

AquaSox season over after MLB cancels minor-league season

In a statement, the team said it looks “forward to having AquaSox baseball back at Funko Field in 2021.”

What’s next for Mariners’ minor-leaguers?

The the minor-league season canceled, most young players will be left to work out on their own.

Everett Merchants’ season canceled due to pandemic

The semi-pro summer baseball team was hoping to play its 47th season under coach Harold Pyatte.

Empty stands at Emerald Downs leave empty feeling inside

The reality of the summer sets in when witnessing first-hand empty stands at a sporting event.

Community sports roundup: GP grad headed to rodeo finals

Plus, an EvCC pitcher signs with the Yankees, locals affected by SPU shuttering gymnastics, and more.

Canadian Hockey League hit with abuse lawsuit

The lawsuit alleges the CHL and its member leagues have been complicit in the abuse of underage players.

Amazon pays for rights to rename KeyArena ‘Climate Pledge’

The stadium will be the home for Seattle’s yet-to-be-named hockey team.

Everett Silvertips defenseman Olen Zellweger controls the puck before a backdrop of fans during a game against the Saskatoon Blades last November at Angel of the Winds Arena. Readers weighed in on whether they’d be comfortable attending a Silvertips game with Angel of the Winds at 50% capacity amidst the coronavirus pandemic. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
POLL RESULTS: Majority of fans would attend Tips games

However, 38% would not be comfortable going to Angel of the Winds Arena at 50% capacity.

New Seattle hockey venue to be named Climate Pledge Arena

Amazon purchases the naming rights for the former KeyArena and puts the focus on its climate-change message.

NFL says training camps still on for late July

Although contingency plans are being made, the league intends to start training camp on time.

Snohomish track and field standout Ellie Grant

The talented jumper overcame scoliosis and will study biochemistry at the University of Idaho.