Top 10 Heisman Trophy Candidates – Unless it’s CJ Stroud or Bryce Young

Who are the top 10 Heisman Trophy candidates entering the 2022 season – if it’s not CJ Stroud, Bryce Young or Will Anderson taking the award?

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CJ Stroud is not going to win the 2022 Heisman Trophy.

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

That, and the Buckeye defense should be better, Stroud likely won’t have the same numbers and may not be as impressive.

Bryce Young is not going to win the 2022 Heisman Trophy.

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

That, and it was impossible to repeat as a Heisman Trophy winner after Archie Griffin retired from the twozie in 1974 and 1975.

Was Joe Burrow in any discussion to win the Heisman before 2019? It was minimal at LSU, much less nationally.

Could a wide receiver really win the biggest individual trophy in all of sports? It hasn’t happened 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 was the pre-season favorite to win it in 2021?

END OF TIME. 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 a rough year for Clemson.

Stroud was high on the odds, but so were 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 longshot option can pay off, go for it. And if you can get The Field, that’s your best bet.

With all that being said, here are the top ten picks to win the 2022 Heisman Trophy, aside from Bryce, CJ and Alabama tight end Will Anderson – it’s SO hard to rack up the sheer numbers of sacks it takes to get close.

Remember, considering how many finalists come out of nowhere, sometimes the wilder the call, the better, so let’s kick it off with some crazy flyers…

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10. Tyler Shough, QB Texas Tech

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

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

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

Shough’s numbers must be astronomical.

9. Jarek Broussard, RB Michigan State

There was a time last season when Kenneth Walker won the Heisman. He outscored Michigan by five touchdowns – the streak seemed over by 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 that, but Broussard – a Colorado transfer who is rushing for 896 yards in six games in 2020 – has the potential to break out of Walker’s role.

8. Malik Cunningham, QB Louisville

PROFITS: +6600
Stats, stats, stats, stats, stats. It’s asking people for Cunningham to pull a Lamar Jackson — the former Louisville quarterback who won the Heisman in 2016 — but the numbers have to be there.

The senior threw for nearly 3,000 yards with 19 touchdowns last year and ran for over 1,000 yards and 20 scores. If he can get going early and generate some buzz, and if Louisville starts winning right away, the momentum will build for the Nov. 12 date at Clemson.

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7. Bijan Robinson, RB Texas

PROFITS: +2000
Robinson likely would have won the Heisman last season if he had split at halftime of the Oklahoma game on Oct. 9. If he can stay healthy and if he’s able to be the focal point of a Texas offense that will hustle it around the yard, he’ll have a shot.

However, it could all be over immediately with Alabama coming up on September 10th. Or, if he pulls through and the Longhorns win, he might have the Heisman wrapped up. THE …

6. Jahmyr Gibbs, RB Alabama

PROFITS: +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 break out with his speed, home run ability and upside to show off in spotlight game.

5. Anthony Richardson, QB Florida

PROFITS: +5000
If NFL scouts are to be believed, Richardson has already won the Heisman, the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, and he might start fitting into one of those snazzy yellow jackets. They may not be wrong.

Richardson has all the skills and all the talent to have a huge season and has the offense to show for it. Billy Napier’s offense will take Richardson to places where he can do big things and he’ll have a chance to make an early statement with Utah coming to town.

4. Hendon Hooker, QB Tennessee

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

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

The starting quarterback in Tennessee’s offense will be a statistical monster, and if Hooker can tear apart Pitt, Florida and LSU early, the Heisman spotlight will be on when Alabama comes to Knoxville on Oct. 15.

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3. DJ Uiagalelei, QB Clemson

PROFITS: +2500
I still believe.

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

The formula works – who is the big star of the team that is going to be almost impossible to get into 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 will get the spotlight. A re-committed Uiagalelei should have a huge rebounding season as the offense claws back.

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

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

2. Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR Ohio State

PROFITS: +3300
Yes, Stroud is probably the right call if you’re picking a Heisman candidate 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 as he did.

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

A 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 nearly 2,000 yards and 23 scores like DeVonta Smith did.

1. Caleb Williams, QB USC

Everything is set perfectly.

Lincoln Riley’s offense, with Jordan Addison throwing, and the relatively easy schedule to build hype each week. Williams will be front and center in the Heisman race for the first half of the season, and then comes the date in Utah that should make-or-break his candidacy.

If he’s terrific against the Utes and USC continues to win, the spotlight will turn to UCLA and Notre Dame to end the regular season. It’s all there to get the prize…

Unless it’s CJ Stroud or Bryce Young or Will Anderson.

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This story originally appeared on College Football News

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