Top Heisman Trophy contenders for 2022 college football season


Alabama's Bryce Young won the 2021.

Alabama's first quarterback and fourth player overall to win the Heisman is Bryce Young. There is a score of (4:46).

9:00 PM

It took until the 14th week of the season for the race to really become a focus, but there was no doubt who the winner should be.

The first Alabama quarterback to win the Heisman Trophy was Bryce Young. The way Young closed the season, which included a dominant performance against Arkansas, a comeback win over auburn and an amazing victory over Georgia, made him the odds-on choice for the hardware.

When the season began, it wasn't surprising that Young won the award. It was surprising that most of his fellow preseason favorites quickly disappeared. Young and Ohio State's C.J. Stroud were notfactors in the race by the middle of the year.

Will we be better at predicting the best players in college football in the future? With Young, Stroud and a host of other top performers returning, there is a good chance we will get a few more of them right. There are many options for 2022, from a Young repeat to a comeback performance from Rattler or Uiagalelei.

Top contender, up-and-comers, and players with momentum are what you should jump to.

There are redemption stories and big-name transfers.

The top contender.

Is it possible that Bryce Young can win the Heisman for a second time?

Alabama quarterback Bryce Young.

One of the sports facts that everyone knows is that Ohio State's Archie Griffin was the only two-time winner of the Heisman. In the past decade, three players have a chance to repeat, but none came that close. Young's year may not be 2022, according to history. His talent and Alabama's offense tell a different story. Young is the odds-on favorite to win in 2022, and it's hard to imagine a scenario where he doesn't improve from his terrific campaign in 2021.

C.J. Stroud is the quarterback for Ohio State.

If Young is the top pick for the 2022, he is 1A. The nation's best offense was led by Stroud, who has a year of experience under his belt. He'll almost certainly be in New York City again next season if he builds on the 35 touchdown and five interception season he had as a sophomore.

The Ohio State running back is called TreVeyon Henderson.

Maybe his teammate will take the trophy if he doesn't win it next year. As a true freshman, Henderson was the most dangerous runner in the nation, with an average of 7 yards per carry and 19 touchdown runs. Henderson is sharing a backfield with one of college football's best, and he's not sure if he'll be able to win the Heisman.

The Oklahoma QB is named Caleb Williams.

Williams was Oklahoma's starting quarterback until Week 7 of his freshman year, but he almost won the Heisman as a true freshman. Despite throwing more than 10 passes in only seven games, Williams finished the season with 24 total touchdown and just four turnovers. Williams' coach will be the biggest question. After Lincoln Riley made Oklahoma the epicenter of the Heisman race, he's off to Southern California, where he's datememe datememe datememe is the program's new head coach. Will the offense be as productive without Riley?

Texas running back Bijan Robinson.

Robinson was one of the preseason favorites for the year, but his campaign was cut short by an injury after 10 games. It's obvious why so many people thought Robinson would win the trophy. He was one of just nine Power 5 backs with 1,400 total yards and 15 touchdown, despite the injury and lack of offensive support, and he topped 100 rushing yards in six of his first seven games.

Alabama LB Will Anderson Jr.

He created an uproar when he wasn't named a finalist for the trophy, despite his incredible numbers, which included 52 solo tackles, 31.5 tackles for loss, 15.5 sacks, nine QB hurries and two pass break-ups. The Alabama defense was sparked by Anderson the same way Young's offense was. It's always difficult for a defensive player to make a run at the award, but if he's equally productive in 2022, maybe some voters will feel he's due a makeup call.

The up-and-coming.

When Tyler Van Dyke took over for Miami, he became one of the country's most prolific passers.

These guys have the numbers to show off their skills. They need a bigger stage, some luck, a few more opportunities and a spotlight focused on them. All should be in the mix for the award.

Miami quarterback Tyler Van Dyke.

It would be like saying Ed Reed played hard. It's true, it's a massive understatement. New AD Dan Radakovich and new head coach Mario Cristobal are both big reasons for the enthusiasm in Coral Gables, but perhaps the biggest piece to the puzzle is Van Dyke, who came on as a replacement for D'Eriq King in September and quickly blossomed into one of the country's In the last six games of the season, Van Dyke threw for 300 yards and three touchdown.

Braelon Allen is a running back for Wisconsin.

Despite getting just 12 carries in the first month of the season, Allen blossomed into a star and finished with 1,109 rushing yards and 12 touchdown. Allen ran for over 400 yards against Nebraska and Northwestern in a two-week period. He'll be Wisconsin's clear-cut starter, No. 1 weapon and a genuine contender for the Heisman.

The quarterback of Coastal Carolina is Grayson McCall.

If things had gone differently in the year 2021, McCall might have been a contender for the award. In November, Coastal Carolina lost to App State by a field goal, and McCall lost to Georgia State by two points. The fall out of the top 25 likely meant most people missed the sophomore season in which he led the nation in yards per attempt and passer rating, while tossing 23 touchdown and just three picks. If Coastal can once again be a force in the Group of 5, it will be possible for him to move to NYC.

NC State QB.

The depth of the QB class in the Atlantic Coast Conference made it easy to overlook the work done in Raleigh. He threw for 3,433 yards, 35 touchdown and just five interceptions after battling injuries in 2020. At a school like NC State, where Philip Rivers, Russell Wilson, Jacoby Brissett and Ryan Finley set the precedent, Leary's performance still stood out. He can join Rivers as the only quarterbacks in school history to win 10 games in a season with a win in the Holiday Bowl.

Boston College quarterback Phil Jurkovec.

Jurkovec should get a lot of preseason Heisman love. He was the most prolific passer in the country in his first year at the Eagles, throwing for 2,558 yards and 17 touchdown passes. He had a wrist injury in September and was out for the rest of the season. He returned to the field in November, but was not 100%. A healthy Jurkovec in the year 2022, will be a genuine contender to blossom into next season's Kenny Pickett.

The guys who were so good in the year 2021.

Cunningham is a runner with a change of direction.

The Michigan football team has a quarterback and a running back.

Who is more valuable to Michigan's offense? In the first three games of the season, Corum ran for more than 100 yards each time. McNamara made some big strides in the first month of the season, and by October he was making his share of plays in the passing game. McNamara will not need a month to get ready for Big Ten football this time, as he will be the featured back next season, despite Corum dealing with an injury late in the year. Both should be in the mix.

Sean Tucker is a running back for Syracuse.

Tucker set the school rushing record in 2021 with 1,496 yards, and also had a 255-yard receiving performance. He has enough moves to evade tackles. It remains to be seen how committed Babers will be to the ground-and-pound approach that brought a modicum of success in 2021. Tucker is the best runner in the conference, and he should be getting touches regardless of the offensive approach.

Will Rogers is a quarterback at Mississippi State.

It's possible that Rogers ends up being the best of the bunch because of Mike Leach's history of big numbers. In the regular season, Rogers threw for 300 yards or more in 11 of 12 games and finished with 35 touchdown passes. We know that Rogers will have a good stat line in Year 3 as the starter in the Air Raid scheme. The big question is whether he can elevate the team enough for voters to embrace the player.

Cunningham is a quarterback for Louisville.

Five years ago, college football had never seen anyone like Lamar Jackson. Cunningham has been cut from the same cloth as well, and he just so happens to play for the same team. Jackson was made a marvel by Cunningham's change-of-direction ability. He was one of the most productive ball-carriers in the country in 2021, running for 968 yards and 19 touchdown. He did a good job in the passing game, where he completed 62% of his throws with 18 touchdown and just six picks. Only five other Power 5 quarterbacks have had 18 rushing and 18 passing touchdown in the same season. Four of them won the Heisman, and the other two finished second.

The stories of redemption.

Spencer Rattler had completed 75% of his passes when he was benched.

Spencer Rattler was a quarterback for Oklahoma.

Rattler seemed like a better bet for the Heisman than any other quarterback. He was Oklahoma's starter by mid-October. Rattler's performance was overstated, but the offense never clicked with him, even though he was still completing 75% of his throws when he was benched. Wherever he lands, he'll be one of the most talented players in the country, and he'll enter in 2022.

D.J. Uiagalelei is the quarterback of the University of Clemson.

It's a credit to Uiagalelei that despite the significant struggles in the face of huge expectations in 2021, he kept taking the field and fighting for points, eventually getting Clemson to a 9-3 record that was far short of the Tigers' typical record. Maybe the experience will make Uiagalelei more determined to return for another year.

USC's quarterbacks.

Who will be taking snaps for the USC Trojans in the year of 2022? Kedon has not announced his decision. Dart showed some flashes of his talent. The transfer portal is an option. It doesn't matter, because it's important that whoever lands the job, and that's because Riley is the coach now, and that means whoever lands the job deserves a lot of attention.

The Florida quarterback is Anthony Richardson.

Richardson wasn't without his own issues, but the Gators fans wanted him to start from the beginning in 2021. The new coaching staff and fresh start is perhaps the more important storyline. Richardson's athletic ability is not ignored, and given a clean slate for 2022, it's possible he puts it all together.

Georgia quarterback J.T. Daniels.

We don't know if Daniels will return for a third season at Georgia, and as the past two seasons have shown, he's not guaranteed to be the starter regardless. Due to injuries and competition on the depth chart, a quarterback who was once among the top recruits in the nation, but who has started just eight games in the past three years, could use the transfer portal. Along with Daniels, a few other players, including North Carolina's Sam Howell, Michigan State's Kenneth Walker, and Alabama's Jameson Williams, could be in the mix for the award.

The people who are not working.

It's a long shot as a tight end, but Brock Bowers could make a run at the award.

Want to leave the board? That is probably not a bad bet. Both Pickett and Hutchinson made strong cases by the end of the season, and they weren't getting much preseason love. When the season began, none of the players were heavy favorites. It's likely the winner comes from nowhere, so here are a few other things to keep in mind.

Oklahoma State's DE is Collin Oliver.

Do you need a defender to compete with Alabama's Anderson? Oliver might be the best bet. In his freshman year, he was the leader of the Oklahoma State defense, making 15 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks, while also making big plays down the stretch that almost led the Pokes to a Big 12 title.

The quarterback of the team is from the University of Clemson.

If Uiagalelei isn't going to make the leap in 2022, it will be the incoming freshman who gets the nod. As a high school senior, Klubnik won the Texas football player of the year award, and he has the leadership and moxie that helped make Deshaun Watson andTrevor Lawrence Heisman candidates.

Texas Tech's quarterback.

Who will it be? We don't know. The transfer portal has some intriguing options. The Red Raiders' new offensive coach, who turned Bailey Zappe into a star at Houston Baptist and then at Western Kentucky, is moving to Lubbock hoping to up the ante.

The big-name transfers.

If the portal was meant to be a place for role players to find a bigger role on a different team, it has quickly moved to an outlet store for big-time talent. Former Georgia Tech running back Jahmyr Gibbs and former Ohio State quarterback Quinn Ewers are two of the names in the portal. Depending on their landing spots and how quickly they adjust to their new surroundings, any one of them could make a run at the Heisman.

The non-QBs are not quarterbacks.

Pitt's Jordan Addison won the Biletnikoff Award as the nation's best receiver, but a repeat performance will need to come with a new quarterback, which makes a real Heisman run a long shot.

It's not likely that a tight end will make a real run at the Heisman, but Notre Dame's Michael Mayer and Georgia's Brock Bowers are two unique talents at the position, and both are coming off exceptional seasons in 2020. This will be a race to see who can win the Mackey Award for the nation's top tight end, but let's take a moment to dream of a day when a tight end can win the Heisman.

The tailback from Kansas State deserves a mention. He's the centerpiece of the offense, and his ability to pick up yards as a runner and receiver makes him a unique weapon.

If the offense gets a new spark after a bad year, Will Shipley will be a big part of the story, putting him in the Heisman mix. Texas A&M's running back, who won the Most Valuable Player award of the Orange Bowl last season, dominated the SEC on the track in the spring, then played a supporting role in the backfield, still ran for 900 yards.

With starting running back Isaiah Spiller expected to enter the NFL draft, Achane should get the lion's share of the carries next season, and that could be a nightmare for opposing defenses.