One of the best returning receivers in the ACC this year is Louisville’s Chatarius Atwell – often called Tutu. Could he make a run at the Heisman Trophy? Here are two props available to wager at Mybookie on Atwell’s Heisman Trophy chances and Louisville’s 2020 college football season – assuming there is one – and an overview.
Chatarius Atwell Heisman Trophy Odds & Analysis For 2020 Season
Louisville has had one Heisman Trophy winner in school history and that of course was quarterback Lamar Jackson in 2016 – he’s now the reigning NFL MVP.
Atwell attended powerhouse Miami Northwestern High School and was a four-year starter. As a senior he was the Miami-Dade County Player of the Year. Atwell’s speed and athleticism made him a dynamic force in the pocket and also able to torch a defense when he broke out of the pocket and gained large chunks of yards with his feet.
Yet Atwell, who also goes by the first name Tutu, wasn’t a top recruit because most schools saw him as a receiver or athlete and not a QB. He was a three-star recruit and ranked as the No. 110 player in Florida. He originally committed to Florida Atlantic but eventually chose Louisville over other offers from East Carolina, Florida International, Illinois, Marshall, South Florida, UAB, McNeese State, Northern Colorado, Georgia State, Toledo, and Valdosta State.
As a freshman at Louisville in 2018, Atwell played in all 12 games solely as a receiver. He finished fourth on the team with 24 receptions for 406 yards and two scores and led team with a 16.9 per catch average. Against Wake Forest, he caught eight passes for 132 yards, setting a Louisville record for most receiving yards in a game by a true freshman.
Louisville improved by leaps and bounds in 2019 under new coach Scott Satterfield and Atwell became a star. He would lead the ACC in receiving yards (1,276), touchdowns (12) and yards per game (98.2). The yardage set the school record yards. That was previously held Harry Douglas with 1,265 yards, which was set in 2007. Atwell tied the school mark with seven 100-yard receiving games, was named a Pro Football Focus first team All-American and first team All-ACC. The 12 TD catches tied a school mark.
Even in Satterfield’s run-heavy system, that didn’t stop the 5-foot-9, 165 slot receiver from having a record-setting year. The Louisville offense became one of the highest-scoring groups nationally. With an average of 33.1 points per game, the Cardinals finished No. 2 in the ACC and No. 30 nationally in 2019.
A good deal of Atwell’s production came in the screen game, and Pro Football Focus graded him as a 93.8 on those types of plays. He still was a big threat downfield as Atwell had 21 targets coming 10 or more yards downfield in which he was deemed open (more than a couple of steps of separation) — among the 20 most in college football.
Atwell’s biggest game last year was in a win over Western Kentucky when he had five receptions for 145 yards and three touchdowns against Western Kentucky, the first Louisville player with three TD receptions since 2015. Overall, he has 94 for 1,682 yards and 14 touchdowns in just the two seasons and already ranks 11th in school history with those 14 TD catches.
If he has another big season, Atwell could be a fairly early pick in the 2020 NFL Draft if he declares. He has the highest ceiling of any Louisville draft-eligible prospect simply because of his breakaway speed.
Louisville could be really good offensively this year with Atwell, RB Javian Hawkins and QB Micale Cunningham all back. The Cards are scheduled to open at home on Sept. 3 against ACC Atlantic foe NC State.