NEW YORK — There are two kinds of players among the four finalists for the Heisman Trophy that will be handed out on Saturday night.
Three of those four players are quarterbacks, long the stars of football. The third is one that plans to make a living making those quarterbacks miserable.
Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson is the lone defensive player nominated as a finalist for the 2021 Heisman Trophy, and if history serves as a reference, he has long odds to leave the Lincoln Center with the trophy on Saturday night.
Just one primarily defensive player has won the award, which has been given out since 1935. That was Michigan cornerback Charles Woodson in 1997. Hutchinson understands that he’s up against it when it comes to winning, but he doesn’t feel that it’s an unfair process.
“It’s tough just because I think quarterbacks and running backs, guys like that, are put in more game-changing scenarios,” Hutchinson said. “You put the ball in their hands and they can make a play, whereas defensively, you’ve really got to do a lot. The play has got to come your way. There’s a lot of factors that go into it in order to change the game. So, I just think the roots of football and how the game was made, even with the trophy, it’s difficult for defensive guys to be finalists. You’ve got to play great in the big games. You’ve got to perform when it matters the most. I think I’ve done that. I think that’s why I earned my ticket here.”
Who will win on Saturday night? Alabama quarterback Bryce Young is the favorite, followed by passers C.J. Stroud of Ohio State and Kenny Pickett of Pitt. That leaves Hutchinson is the lone hope for defenders around the country that don’t want to see another quarterback honored in New York.
He’s counting on their support.
“I would hope so. I’m putting out for the defense right now.”