10 Best Heisman Trophy Candidates - If It's Not CJ Stroud or Bryce Young

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

10 Best Heisman Trophy Candidates - If It's Not CJ Stroud or Bryce Young

Heisman Trophy Watch

10 Best Heisman Trophy Candidates - If It's Not CJ Stroud or Bryce Young


Who are the 10 best Heisman Trophy candidates going into the 2022 season – if it’s not CJ Stroud, Bryce Young, or Will Anderson taking the prize?

Contact/Follow @ColFootballNews & @PeteFiutak

CJ Stroud isn’t going to win the 2022 Heisman Trophy.

Actually, he might – he’s certainly talented enough and Ohio State will be in the national championship chase all season long – but that’s too easy.

That, and the Buckeye defense should be better, Stroud probably won’t have the same numbers, and he might not be quite as sensational.

Bryce Young isn’t going to win the 2022 Heisman Trophy.

Actually, he might – he’s certainly talented enough and Alabama will be in the national championship chase all season long – but that’s too easy.

That, and it has been impossible to repeat as the Heisman Trophy winner after Archie Griffin pulled off the twozie in 1974 and 1975.

Was Joe Burrow in any discussion to win the Heisman before 2019? He was barely a blip at LSU, much less nationally.

Could a wide receiver really win the greatest individual trophy in all of sports? It didn’t happen since Desmond Howard pulled it off in 1991, and then DeVonta Smith was unstoppable in 2020.

How hard is it to win the Heisman Trophy? Quick, off the top of your head, who were the favorites before the 2021 season to win it?

Time’s up. Yes, Bryce Young was one of the favorites, but he was behind Spencer Rattler – the former Oklahoma quarterback is now at South Carolina – and DJ Uiagalelei, who struggled through an ugly year for Clemson.

Stroud was high up in the odds, but so was Texas RB Bijan Robinson, Iowa State RB Breece Hall, North Carolina QB Sam Howell, Miami QB D’Eriq King, Arizona State QB Jayden Daniels, USC QB Kedon Slovis, and Georgia QB JT Daniels.

Where was Pitt QB Kenny Pickett? He was hanging out with Michigan DE Aidan Hutchinson about 50 miles off the radar.

Here’s my advice – if you think your long shot option might pull it off, go for it. And if it’s possible to take The Field, that’s your best bet.

With all of that said, here are the ten best picks to win the 2022 Heisman Trophy other than Bryce, CJ, and Alabama edge rusher Will Anderson – it’s SO hard to crank up the massive sack numbers needed to get close.

Remember, considering how many finalists come from out of nowhere, sometimes the wilder the call, the better, so let’s start this off with a few insane fliers …

2022 CFN Preview of all 131 Teams

10. Tyler Shough, QB Texas Tech

ODDS: +10000
I’ve been trying for a few years to make Tyler Shough into a thing ever since he was at Oregon.

He’s got the talent, he’s got the tools, and he’s got the NFL upside to be a top pick. He now has the Texas Tech starting quarterback job after winning a three-way battle.

But really, why is he here? You know that Western Kentucky offense that threw for over 6,000 yards and 63 touchdowns last season? It’s now in Lubbock under new offensive coordinator Zach Kittley.

Shough’s numbers should be astronomical.

9. Jarek Broussard, RB Michigan State

ODDS: Off The Board
There was a moment last season when Kenneth Walker had the Heisman won. He ripped up Michigan for five touchdowns – the race appeared to be over going into November. Six carries for 25 yards against Ohio State ended that, but he had a Heisman-caliber season.

Wisconsin transfer Jalen Berger might have something to say about it, but Broussard – a transfer from Colorado who rancor 896 yards in six games in 2020 – has the potential to bust out in Walker’s role.

8. Malik Cunningham, QB Louisville

ODDS: +6600
Stats, stats, stats, stats, stats. It’s asking the world for Cunningham to pull of a Lamar Jackson – the former Louisville quarterback who won the Heisman in 2016 – but the numbers should be there.

The senior threw for close to 3,000 yards with 19 touchdowns last year and ran for over 1,000 yards and 20 scores. If he can go off early and generate a buzz, and if Louisville can start winning right away, the momentum will build for the November 12th date at Clemson.

CFN Expert Picks: Week 0
Week 1 Thursday/Friday | Week 1 Saturday

7. Bijan Robinson, RB Texas

ODDS: +2000
Robinson probably would’ve won the Heisman last season if it was handed out at halftime of the Oklahoma game on October 9th. If he can stay healthy, and if he’s able to be the focus of a Texas offense that’s going to wing it around the yard, he’s got a shot.

However, it could all end immediately with Alabama coming up on September 10th. Or, if he goes big and the Longhorns win, he might have the Heisman wrapped up. Or …

6. Jahmyr Gibbs, RB Alabama

ODDS: +3300
The Texas game could be the showcase for the new Alabama starting running back.

While Bryce Young and Will Anderson should be the headliners, Gibbs – a Georgia Tech transfer – has the potential to blow up with his speed, home run hitting ability, and upside to show off in spotlight game after spotlight game.

5. Anthony Richardson, QB Florida

ODDS: +5000
If you believe the NFL scouts, Richardson has already won the Heisman, the No. 1 pick in the draft, and maybe start fitting him for one of those snazzy yellow jackets. They might not be wrong.

Richardson has all the skills and all the talent to have a huge season, and he has the offense to show off. The Billy Napier attack will get Richardson in places where he can do big things, and he’ll get a shot to make an early statement with Utah coming to town.

4. Hendon Hooker, QB Tennessee

ODDS: +6600
Sort of like Louisville’s Malik Cunningham, the Heisman potential here comes down to stats, stats, and stats.

Hooker took over the Tennessee starting gig after a few games, and he ended up throwing for close to 3,000 yards with 31 touchdowns and just three picks, and he ran for 613 yards and five touchdowns.

The starting quarterback in the Tennessee offense will be a statistical monster, and if Hooker can rip up Pitt, Florida, and LSU early on, the Heisman spotlight will be on when Alabama comes to Knoxville on October 15th.

CFN Ranking of All 131 Teams

3. DJ Uiagalelei, QB Clemson

ODDS: +2500
I still believe.

So do the oddsmakers – +2500 just isn’t that high.

The formula works – who’s the big name star on the team that’s going to be a near-lock to make the College Football Playoff? Ohio State has Stroud, Bama has Bryce, and Clemson has … well, Clemson’s stars are on the defensive line, but it’s the quarterback who’ll get the spotlight. A recommitted Uiagalelei should be in for a huge rebound season as the offense perks back up.

If he puts up big numbers early and Clemson rolls by NC State, Boston College, Wake Forest, and Florida State, the stage will be set for the showdown in South Bend when the Tigers deal with Notre Dame on November 5th.

Uiagalelei threw for 439 yards and two scores and ran for a touchdown the last time he made that trip.

2. Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR Ohio State

ODDS: +3300
Yeah, Stroud is probably the right call if you’re picking any Heisman contender from Ohio State, but again, his numbers probably won’t be what they were in 2021. He’ll still be great, but he won’t have to bomb away like he did.

However, Smith-Njigba could be the guy who steps out as the main man after catching 95 passes for 1,606 yards and nine scores.

The 15-catch performance against Utah in the Rose Bowl set the tone, and it’s not crazy to think he could end up with 117 catches for close to 2,000 yards and 23 scores like DeVonta Smith did.

1. Caleb Williams, QB USC

ODDS: +700
Everything is set up perfectly.

The Lincoln Riley offense, having Jordan Addison to throw to, and the relatively easy schedule to build up the hype week after week. Williams will be front-and-center in the Heisman race over the first half of the season, and then comes the date at Utah that should make-or-break his candidacy.

If he’s amazing against the Utes and and USC keeps on winning, the spotlight will be on at UCLA and against Notre Dame to end the regular season. It’s all there to take the prize …

If it’s not CJ Stroud, or Bryce Young, or Will Anderson.

Predictions of Every Game
Bowl Projections | Rankings
Schedules For All 131 Teams


More College Football News