The Heisman Trophy is college football’s premiere award, handed out annually to the game’s best player. As teams get ready for the start of the season players are already establishing themselves as favorites to take home the award. Will Bryce Young become the first repeat winner in multiple generations, will C.J. Stroud build off his spectacular sophomore season to become the latest Buckeye to win the award, will a non-quarterback emerge as a serious contender? These are some of the top Heisman storylines going into next year. Let’s take a look at some of the favorites to compete for the 2022 Heisman Trophy.
Bryce Young, QB, Junior,Alabama (+200) –
In 2021, sophomore quarterback Bryce Young set the NCAA on fire, passing for 47
touchdowns and just seven interceptions while leading Alabama to a national championship game appearance. Young was rewarded for his efforts by becoming the first quarterback in program history to win the Heisman trophy. This year, Young is returning to school for his Junior season and is favored to win the Heisman again (+200). Alabama has reloaded as they always do, and Young will have playmakers like wide receiver Jermaine Burton to help him put up more gaudy numbers. However, it must be noted that only one player has won the Heisman Trophy twice, Ohio State running back Archie Griffin in 1974 and 1975. It’s tough to repeat as Heisman and Young may face an uphill battle after losing his top pass catchers Jameson Williams, John Metchie III, and Slade Bolton to the NFL.
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C.J. Stroud, QB, Junior, Ohio State (+350), Best Bet
After taking over the starting quarterback spot following Justin Field’s exit, Stroud quickly established himself as the latest in a string of great Ohio State QBs. In his first season as a starter, Stroud threw for 44 touchdowns to just 6 interceptions and completed 72% of his passes. As Ohio State looks to compete for another national championship, Stroud will have plenty of chances to put up big numbers. Projected first-round pick wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba, who broke the record for most catches and yards in a single game in program history, is back to serve as Stroud’s primary target. The loaded offense also includes playmakers like TreVeyon Henderson at running back and Marvin Harrison Jr. at receiver, which will ease the burden on Stroud to carry the offense. In the aftermath of last season, Stroud mentioned that he wasn’t happy with his fourth-place finish in the Heisman race and that the result would add “more fuel to the fire”. In 2022, Stroud has the intangibles and playmakers around him to hoist the Heisman trophy come December.
Caleb Williams, QB, Sophomore, USC (+1000)-
At this time in 2021, Caleb Williams was the second-string quarterback at Oklahoma behind Heisman favorite Spencer Rattler. Flash forward to 2022, Rattler is now at South Carolina after losing his starting spot in week 6, and Williams has left Norman to follow head coach Lincoln Riley to Southern California. What a difference a year makes! The excitement around the Trojans next year is palpable. Riley brought in an infusion of talent by adding 13 players through the transfer portal, including former Oklahoma receiver Mario Williams and the nation’s top receiver last year in Pitt’s Jordan Addison. Williams impressed in his short time at Oklahoma, throwing for 21 touchdowns and four interceptions, and adding another six score on the ground. Still, the upgraded USC roster will take time to gel, and sky-high expectations don’t always translate to on the field success. Williams’ talent is undeniable, but his limited track record and new surroundings make him a riskier bet than the other quarterbacks on this list.
Bijan Robinson, Junior, RB, Texas (+2500)-
Recent history tells us that it’s usually best to bet on a QB to take home the Heisman. A running back has only won the award three times this century and the last to do it was Derrick Henry in 2015. The fact that Robinson is among the players with the best odds of winning the award is a testament to his unique talent. Robinson was a bright spot for the Longhorns in 2021, rushing for 1,127 yard and 11 touchdowns while also catching four scores. He put up these big numbers despite missing the last few games of the season due to injury. Texas will look to improve on their 5-7 record from last season and should have an upgraded offensive cast to take some pressure off Robinson. Head coach Steve Sarkisian will look to ride Robinson to a Big 12 title which bodes well for his Heisman chances.
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