Who are the best heisman candidates for the 2022 season?
By: Tim Rodriguez
There’s no better way to look ahead to the New Year than looking even further ahead. After back to back Heisman Trophy winners from the Alabama Crimson Tide, the rest of the country looks to dethrone the program of the decade. Four of the last five Heisman Trophies have gone to offensive players from Alabama or Oklahoma. Three of those winners have been quarterbacks. With elite skill players and offensive innovators around them, those quarterbacks lit the world on fire and put up ungodly numbers. With constant coaching change and transfer portal news altering the landscape of college football, let’s look ahead at some early favorites for the 2022 Heisman Trophy.
Quinn Ewers: QB, Texas Longhorns
Deal with it. After sitting for the entirety of the 2021 season at Ohio State, Quinn Ewers is going home. The highest rated high school prospect of all time has transferred to Texas to join Steve Sarkisian’s disappointing Texas group coming off of a disastrous 2021 season. Sarkisian’s RPO scheme produced five players that finished top ten in Heisman voting from 2018 to 2020. Three of those seasons belonged to quarterbacks (Tua Tagovailoa twice and Mac Jones in 2020). Ewers has more arm talent than both of those players and will benefit from having all world Bijan Robinson behind him. The biggest hurdle for Ewers will be whether or not Sarkisian will start a player with two career snaps in an important year for the program.
Will Anderson Jr: EDGE, Alabama
Perhaps the most egregious omission of the 2021 Heisman finalists was Alabama edge rusher Will Anderson. Anderson was the most dominant defender in college football this year, and enters the 2022 in a spot we have seen a few times before. Rarely is there ever a non quarterback who enters their season already knowing that they will be an extremely early draft pick next Spring. The last one was Chase Young, who finished as a finalist in his last year in Columbus. Anderson enters the season as the best player in the world and will likely feast on opposing offenses all year.
CJ Stroud: QB, Ohio State
A relatively unknown commodity heading into the 2021 season, Ohio State quarterback CJ Stroud was thought to be simply a placeholder for the aforementioned Ewers. That was far from the truth, as Stroud put together an elite 2021 campaign and found himself in New York as a Heisman finalist. While Stroud is losing several pieces of his elite offense, he will still have plenty of weapons at his disposal in 2022, making him an obvious addition to this list. Ohio State head coach has had several Heisman top ten vote getters as of late with Stroud, Justin Fields in 2019 and 2020, and Dwayne Haskins in 2018. Stroud is one of the safer bets of the 2021 season.
Dark Horse: Jaxson Dart, QB, USC
I don’t have to give you the numbers related to Lincoln Riley and the Heisman Trophy. Offensive players under Lincoln Riley simply produce. USC Sophomore Jaxson Dart is an exciting talent for Riley to work with in Southern California. With countless Southern California quarterbacks deciding not to play for the storied Trojans, it would be fitting that their next Heisman Trophy winner would come from Utah.
Back to Back?
Many would scoff at the omission of 2021 winner Bryce Young on this list. However, it is almost impossible for someone to win this award twice. Young would have to be head and shoulders above everyone else in the conversation. Young is probably the first pick in the 2023 NFL draft, but another Heisman feels unlikely.