Heisman Rankings 2018: Top 20 Heisman Trophy candidates

(Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
(Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /
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Photo by Jeff Speer/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Photo by Jeff Speer/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images /

Justin Herbert played his high school ball at Eugene (OR) Sheldon High School in Eugene, Oregon, so it made sense that he would play his college ball at Oregon. During his freshman year, he began the season sitting behind graduate transfer Dakota Prukop, but it did not take long for him to get in there and start for the Ducks.

Once Herbert was inserted as the starter, he showed the coaching staff why he should remain in that position moving forward. The Ducks only went 2-5 in his starts during that freshman campaign, but he threw for nearly 2,000 yards and had a touchdown to interception ratio of 19-4, which is a pretty solid stat for a young quarterback in the Pac-12.

In 2017, he began the year as the starter under new head coach Willie Taggart and got his Ducks off to a hot start. However, with his team sitting at 5-1, Herbert suffered a shoulder injury against Cal, and it really cost the Ducks the conference title. He returned late in the season, and played very well, finishing the year with 1,750 yards and 13 touchdowns against three interceptions.

The 2018 Oregon Ducks will not have the luxury of having Royce Freeman in the backfield, as their star running back will be scoring touchdowns for the Denver Broncos on Sundays. That means Herbert is going to have to step up and throw the ball, even more, this season, which will be Mario Cristobal’s first as Oregon’s head coach.

Standing at 6-foot-6, Herbert has the physical gifts to likely be a first round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft if he decides to declare early. Whatever he decides to do, the 2018 season is going to be a monster one for him in Eugene, and the based on his incredible intelligence at the quarterback position, he is going to put up eye-popping numbers if he stays healthy.