Caleb Williams, C.J. Stroud, Max Duggan and Stetson Bennett will vie for the coveted award.
The Heisman Trophy has lengthy been, principally, a quarterback award. Extensive receiver DeVonta Smith gained it in 2020, and defensive finish Aidan Hutchinson was at the least invited to New York final yr for the ceremony, however they might as properly change the trophy from a stiff-arming soccer participant to 1 finishing a throwing movement. Once more this season, there does appear to be a transparent front-runner who emerged late in November to steal the award—as a result of Heisman candidacies are about platform along with on-field exploits.
That’s the reason the finalists could not produce other clearly nice gamers, like Michigan’s Blake Corum or Tennessee’s Hendon Hooker or Washington’s Michael Penix Jr. Additionally so far as invitations go, the Heisman Belief is not going to invite gamers who aren’t inside placing distance of successful through the vote tabulation. They will invite as many as 5 gamers, however generally select to not for that cause. And so we arrive at this yr’s Heisman finalists.
Caleb Williams: QB, USC
It’s not simply what Williams did on two wholesome legs this season that has him in pole place to win the Heisman; it’s additionally what he did on one within the Pac-12 championship sport with a big hamstring damage.
Watching Williams on any given Saturday will embrace an array of throws from completely different arm angles, on completely different platforms, oftentimes out of construction when all hell has damaged unfastened round him. He has been box-office worthy from the second he first took the sector at Oklahoma final season, all the way in which to Hollywood at USC.
Williams has damaged faculty passing information for whole touchdowns, whole offensive yards and dashing yards by a QB. If he performs within the Cotton Bowl he’ll probably grow to be USC’s single-season passing chief, and he has solely 4 interceptions in 407 makes an attempt. He’s an offense unto himself in a method product of all his personal freewheeling, with messages painted on his nails and a mouthpiece dangling always. If Williams wins, he’ll be the seventh Trojans participant to win the award, and the primary to do it with anyplace close to this sort of blueprint.
C.J. Stroud: QB, Ohio State
From a yardage and completion proportion standpoint, the Buckeyes quarterback has not been this yr what he was final yr, and that’s though he’s performed in 12 video games this season in comparison with 11 at this level in 2021. His 37 passing touchdowns, although, are tied for probably the most nationally. Final yr, Stroud was adeptly distributing the ball to Garrett Wilson, Chris Olave and Jaxon Smith-Njigba; this yr, that turned Emeka Egbuka and Marvin Harrison Jr.
The names have modified, however Stroud’s dazzling potential to get them the ball has not.
Nothing about Stroud’s manufacturing on this offense is reasonable, with an adjusted passing yards per try variety of 10.7 (second nationally) that’s only a tick above two different Heisman finalists. Maybe he’s hindered a contact by the Buckeyes’ championship-or-bust mentality, and simply as final yr, one wonders what would have been completely different had his Buckeyes beat Michigan late within the season. His return to New York is properly earned both approach.
Max Duggan: QB, TCU
Duggan has all the time been in regards to the dramatic comeback. On the sector, he’s led a number of of them for TCU this season. Off the sector, he’s overwhelmed the percentages as properly.
If there had ever been an instance of leaving all of it out on the sector trope, the QB did that towards Okay-State. It’s the sample of his profession to proceed to get off the mat when knocked down. He was benched to start out the 2022 season, and but right here he was main these Frogs. He performed a lot of the ’19 season on a busted foot, opting to not put on a boot so he wasn’t photographed, and survived emergency surgical procedure in ’20 after a well being screening revealed he was born with a coronary heart situation referred to as Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome.
The pure uncut dual-threat Duggan got here within the Large 12 championship sport towards Kansas State, the place he accounted for 95 yards dashing by himself to will the Frogs down the sector to tie the sport and ship it to extra time.
As he threw the cross that transformed the two-point attempt, he sunk to the turf in exhaustion. The heroics are what you discover, pulling them out of nowhere to place these Horned Frogs in a Playoff in a approach no person noticed coming. The Frogs have been lots enjoyable this season, however he’s their soul and he hasn’t allow them to down but.
Stetson Bennett: QB, Georgia
The previous walk-on has been underrated all through his profession; maybe with this invite to New York, Bennett is lastly correctly rated. It doesn’t matter what the bodily limitations to his sport are in comparison with first-round NFL locks, Bennett has been the regular hand that has now steered the Dawgs to 1 nationwide championship and in placing distance of one other, all with just one loss over the past two seasons. He’s environment friendly, cool below stress and a slippery runner if a protection loses observe of him.
The best way Bennett’s sport will get portrayed reads as if he’s an adjunct, serving to denigrate how he manages the sport and Georgia’s offense and erasing his company. Typically Heisman voters take a holistic view of a participant’s profession. Bennett’s Heisman case is just a little little bit of that, along with his surgical effectivity that flies below the radar of flashier gamers with gaudier stats. His is a candidacy that’s constructed in another way from others, however it’s nonetheless stable and it’s nonetheless price applauding.