Heisman Handicap: Tyler Van Dyke

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Tyler Van Dyke being the co-fourth favorite for the Heisman Trophy is wild considering that this time last year he was planning on sitting behind D’Eriq King and waiting for his shot to win the Miami starting job in 2022. Fate had different plans as King got hurt and then what was going to be an in-season competition for the job ended when Jake Garcia got hurt in a blowout win against Central Connecticut. 

Suddenly Van Dyke was THE guy at the U and responded in kind. It was a bumpy start with losses to Virginia and North Carolina, but the Canes went 5-1 down the stretch and Van Dyke didn’t throw for fewer than 316 yards in any of those six games. The highlight came in late October when Van Dyke outdueled Heisman finalist Kenny Pickett as Miami beat Pittsburgh on the road. The Canes enter 2022 with a fair amount of hype with Mario Cristobal taking over as head coach and Canes fans are dreaming of Miami being BACK.

Tyler Van Dyke Heisman Odds: +3000

Tyler Van Dyke 2021 stats

62.3 completion percentage, 2, 931 yards, 25 Pass TD, 6 INT

Why Tyler Van Dyke Can Win The Heisman

If you extrapolate the numbers from his last six games out over a full 12 game season, Van Dyke would throw for over 4,000 yards, 40 touchdowns and six interceptions. If he can put up those kinds of numbers he’d obviously be in the conversation for the Heisman Trophy. 

There have been two kinds of Heisman Trophy winners this decade: best quarterback or skill position player on a title contending team and player who elevated a program that hasn’t been very good in a long time (RGIII, Johnny Manziel, Lamar Jackson). Van Dyke isn’t likely to fall into the former category (more on that later), but he definitely fits the bill of a quarterback who can elevate a team that hasn’t been good in a while. Miami isn’t as down as Baylor was when RGIII was there or Texas A&M was when Johnny Manziel was there, but Miami hasn’t won a conference championship since 2003. The Canes have appeared in the ACC Championship Game just once since moving to the conference and got beat by 35 points against Clemson. 

Why Tyler Van Dyke Wouldn’t Win The Heisman

The excitement in Coral Gables is understandable, but this is probably a ship that really gets going in 2023. Mario Cristobal is already bringing his recruiting prowess to south Florida, but that won’t affect this year’s team which should be good, but probably not great. Miami has to play at Texas A&M and at Clemson this year and they’re currently 8 and 7.5 point underdogs in those games respectively. If they win at Texas A&M, obviously Van Dyke’s Heisman candidacy will take off, but to expect an 8-point dog to win on the road is tough. The rest of the ACC schedule has some speed bumps too with a trip to Blacksburg and the rivalry game with Florida State on the horizon. A 9-3 season would be amazing and feels like a best case scenario, but is that enough to get Van Dyke Heisman votes? He’s not flying under the radar the way Kenny Pickett was last year so if he doesn’t play well every week, his Heisman chances take a hit.

Van Dyke is also going to have to find new targets to rely on in the passing game. Miami lost Charleston Rambo set the Miami single season records for receptions and receiving yards last year. Mike Harley is the Canes all-time leader in receptions. Both are gone, so Van Dyke is going to have to get new targets up to speed quickly with that game at Texas A&M looming in week three.

The other concern for Van Dyke’s Heisman chances is just how aggressive Cristobal will allow the Miami offense to be. A former offensive lineman himself, Cristobal’s teams tend to be more run oriented than pass oriented and that included the 2019 season when he had Justin Herbert at his disposal. With an experienced line and experienced backs and less experience out wide, will Cristobal let Van Dyke air the ball out enough to put up the stats to put him into Heisman contention?

The Verdict

The hype over what Cristobal has already started building is justified, but these things take some time to bear fruit and Miami doesn’t seem quite primed to make the jump in one year. Couple that with the hype, at least in the Heisman market, surrounding Van Dyke and it seems like he’s set up to fail to live up to expectations. As far as betting Heisman futures on him, it’s going to be a pass for me.


Dan Weiner

Hailing from Atlanta and attending college at the University of Texas, Dan is passionate about sports, particularly college football and soccer. He's a diehard Atlanta pro sports and Texas Longhorns fan. He likes every sport and will watch anything and everything the weirder the better. He joined Betsperts after an 11 year career in television production at ESPN.

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