Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Bryce Young won the 2021 Heisman Trophy. Below, we examine the 2022 Heisman Watch and candidates that will have a shot at taking the trophy away from Stroud next season.
It should come as no surprise that Young is the 2022 Heisman favorite. He’ll be entering his second season as the starting quarterback, a moment when many of the best players in college football take a step forward. But Young will be losing some of this top wide receivers and the competition for the award will be even deeper.
With that in mind, let’s examine the early 2022 Heisman Trophy contenders.
Bryce Young, quarterback, Alabama Crimson Tide
It should come as no surprise that the reigning Heisman Trophy winner is atop the 2022 Heisman Watch list. Bryce Young dominated college football this season, earning the most coveted individual tropy in sports with an epic performance in the SEC Championship Game. While he’ll lose Jameson Williams to the NFL, Ja’Corey Brooks (five-star recruit in 2021) could be the next star Alabama wide receiver. It also helps Young that the Crimson Tide will likely earn a spot in the College Football Playoff, which is important for voters. When next season begins, Young will be No. 1 in our 2022 Heisman Watch.
C.J. Stroud, quarterback, Ohio State Buckeyes
There couldn’t be a Heisman Watch list without C.J. Stroud. Ohio State’s star quarterback was the favorite at on point, likely atop many Heisman Trophy ballots after he racked up 432 yards and six touchdowns in barely three quarters against Michigan State. Really, the Buckeyes’ defense not showing up in “The Game” is what cost him this time around. While Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave are off to the NFL, Stroud will make plenty of highlights with Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Marvin Harrison Jr. and Emeka Egbuka.
Tyler Van Dyke, quarterback, Miami Hurricanes
We might be on the verge of the Miami Hurricanes becoming a respected ACC power again. Miami turned to freshman quarterback Tyler Van Dyke late in the season and he delivered. The 2020 four-star recruit finished his first season with 2,931 passing yards, a 25-6 TD-INT ratio and the eighth-best QBR (80.6) in the FBS. With Mario Cristobal set to help Miami take a huge step forward, all Van Dyke needs is a great offensive coordinator like Joe Brady to put up eye-popping numbers over a full season. That’s why he’s on our Heisman Watch this early.
Braelon Allen, running back, Wisconsin Badgers
Wisconsin Badgers running back Braelon Allen is supposed to be finishing high school right now. Instead, the 17-year-old freshman is coming off an absurd first year at the collegiate level. He finished with 1,109 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns, posting the highest yards per carry (7.1) by any FBS running back with 100-plus touches. Headed for an even bigger role in 2022, he could be the next Wisconsin back to enjoy a 2,000-yard season (Jonathan Taylor, 2018 and ’19). While a running back winning the Heisman Trophy feels unlikely at this point, voters might be more inclined if an 18-year-old is the best rusher in the sport.
TreVeyon Henderson, running back, Ohio State Buckeyes
The No.1 running back in the 2021 recruiting class became one of the leading rushers in college football as a true freshman. Ohio State’s 5-foot-10 ball carrier accounted for 1,172 yards on the ground, 285 as a receiver and racked up 19 total touchdowns. Much of the heavy lifting came from a 277-yard showing vs. Tulsa, but Henderson’s 7.0 ypc and an even bigger role in Ohio State’s offense certainly makes him a 2022 Heisman Trophy contender.
Will Anderson, edge rusher, Alabama Crimson Tide
The simple fact is, Alabama edge rusher Will Anderson deserved more votes in 2021 than Aidan Hutchinson. Anderson led the country in sacks (15.5), ranked second in quarterback pressures (73) and tacked on 91 total tackles and 29 tackles for loss. Returning for his junior season, Anderson can extend his streak of seven consecutive games with a sack (12.5 during that span) and he belongs in our preliminary Heisman Watch for the 2022 season.
Caleb Williams, quarterback, USC Trojans
No matter where he landed, Caleb Williams would be on the 2022 Heisman Trophy watched. He made a case for the award in a short stint as Oklahoma’s starting quarterback in his freshman season. Now headed to Southern California, Williams stays in an offense he knows and will be surrounded with plenty of weapons. The Trojans likely aren’t a championship contender immediately, but 35-plus touchdowns and double-digit wins will earn Williams plenty of Heisman votes.
2022 Heisman Watch candidates: Quinn Ewers, QB, Texas Longhorns; Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas Longhorns; Caleb Williams, QB, Oklahoma Sooners