Home Sports C.J. Stroud, Caleb Williams highlight Joel Klatt’s Heisman Tiers

C.J. Stroud, Caleb Williams highlight Joel Klatt’s Heisman Tiers

by Atlanta Business Journal

Welcome to the “Year of the Quarterback.”

Any football historian will tell you that the 1983 NFL Draft was the true “Year of the Quarterback,” as six college signal-callers — highlighted by John Elway, Jim Kelly and Dan Marino — were selected in the first round following impressive showings in the 1982 college football season.

Fast-forward 40 years, and we could be looking at another loaded class of quarterbacks, led by a pair of players who have been referred to as “generational talents.”

Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud and Alabama‘s Bryce Young are among the favorites to take home this year’s Heisman Trophy award, but according to FOX Sports college football analyst Joel Klatt, there are plenty of other names playing themselves into the conversation.

Klatt broke down his top 13 candidates for the sport’s most prestigious individual award, separating them into three tiers on the latest episode of “The Joel Klatt Show.”

[Heisman Watch: Blake Corum, Adrian Martinez on the rise]

TIER 1

Ohio State QB C.J. Stroud

2022 stats: 1,376 passing yards, 18 passing touchdowns, two interceptions.

What Klatt said: “This one is a no-brainer. This guy is the cream of the crop right now. He’s the best quarterback right now in the nation and that’s the best offense in the nation. He will be there as long as they continue to play this way, which they will.

“He has had to deal with the fact that the running back we felt like was going to get the bulk to the carries has not — TreVeyon Henderson — and he hasn’t had his best offensive weapon, Jaxon Smith-Njigba. So he’s doing this, putting himself right at the top of this race, even without his best skill-position player.”

Alabama QB Bryce Young

2022 stats: 1,202 passing yards, 14 passing touchdowns, three interceptions, 154 rushing yards, three rushing touchdowns. 

What Klatt said: “This is a no-brainer. He’s the defending Heisman Trophy winner, although now we call into question what his status is going to be moving forward. He can play through this injury. He will be back on the field and still be very effective. 

“Bryce Young won the Heisman Trophy in large part due to the fact he had incredible numbers last year. And the hard part in trying to defend that or win it in back-to-back years is that a lot of voters are going to hold him to that standard, not just whatever standard is in front of him with his peers this season. I don’t think that’s the correct way to vote or look at it, but I am at least acknowledging the reality that’s likely how voters will look at Bryce Young.

“He’s going to need to get healthy, and then he’s going to need to have some monster games throughout the middle of this schedule. This is a guy that’s going to be there until the end.”

USC QB Caleb Williams

2022 stats: 1,402 passing yards, 12 passing touchdowns, one interception, 144 rushing yards, three rushing touchdowns.

What Klatt said: “I’m sorry OU fans, but listen, this is the name of the game. Caleb Williams is clearly playing himself into the Heisman conversation, and he’s on Tier 1. I think to not acknowledge that is just being a hater. It’s pretty clear that without a great defense, the entire show is that offense for the Trojans, and he is the trigger man.

“I think this is the type of guy that could have the stages in front of him, whether it’s Utah, UCLA, the Pac-12 championship game. There are a lot of voters that are going to start looking at Caleb Williams and be like ‘Man, you are a difference maker.’ That’s pretty clear, judging by where they came from a year ago and where they are at this year.”

Who leads the Heisman Trophy Race?

Joel Klatt reflects on the college football season so far and ranks his top Heisman Trophy candidates.

TIER 2

Michigan RB Blake Corum

2022 stats: 611 rushing yards, 10 rushing touchdowns, four catches, 20 yards.

What Klatt said: “Two weeks ago, against Maryland, he had to be the absolute bell cow for Michigan. They don’t like doing that, by the way. Maryland … they were going to be a very tough out that day in the Big House unless Blake Corum was going to play great, and he did.

“Then they go to Iowa, the No. 1 scoring defense in the country, this is Iowa’s defense that is clearly one of the better defenses in the country, and this guy put up 29 carries for over 100 yards. 

So in back-to-back weeks, he’s gone 59 carries for 376 yards. That’s sensational stuff folks. He’s got all the stages in front of him to get himself into that conversation.”

Kansas QB Jalon Daniels

2022 stats: 983 passing yards, 11 touchdowns, one interception, 329 rushing yards, five rushing touchdowns.

What Klatt said: “This is my favorite story in college football. Jalon Daniels has been outstanding for Kansas. He is the reason why they are an undefeated team hosting Game Day. This snapshot this week for the Jayhawks is about the fact that Jalon Daniels has been so good. It’s not just his ability to throw the ball, it’s his ability as a runner as well. He’s rushing it for over seven yards per carry and has had five touchdowns.

“Jalon Daniels might not need his team to be great at the top end because the story of Kansas is resonating wildly in college football, and rightfully so. It might just be where he needs to lead his team to an eight or nine-win season in order to go to New York, and that would be a huge deal for Kansas. 

“I don’t think it’s as important for his team that he has those big stages. It’s not as important that his team plays for a championship or a playoff spot because they are 5-0 because of this kid. They were at the bottom of the barrel and have risen to the point where they are playing meaningful games in October because of Jalon Daniels.”

Tennessee QB Hendon Hooker

2022 stats: 1,193 passing yards, eight passing touchdown, zero interceptions, 175 rushing yards, three rushing touchdowns.

What Klatt said: “I just think he’s played outstanding football. I think that Tennessee, unfortunately, is a bit of fool’s gold. I don’t think they are going to get through this stretch. This is not the year that they are going to make a run, in part because of their schedule. But that doesn’t mean you don’t acknowledge what Hendon Hooker has done up to this point.”

Kansas State QB Adrian Martinez

2022 stats: 654 passing yards, three touchdowns, 469 rushing yards, nine rushing touchdowns.

What Klatt said: “This is the one that’s gonna raise some eyebrows, but he has played unbelievable in the past couple of weeks. That performance against Oklahoma was transcendent.

“I also think that this is an amazing comeback story. From what he was at Nebraska, the way that ended under Scott Frost and that fan base, to show up at Kansas State, clearly be gun-shy early in the season and not playing his best, and then to show up the way he did against Oklahoma on the road. That’s outstanding stuff, and I love it. He has come alive.”

Adrian Martinez fakes the handoff and runs for a TD

Kansas State QB Adrian Martinez fakes the handoff and rushes for a 6-yard touchdown against Oklahoma.

TIER 3

Clemson QB DJ Uiagalelei

2022 stats: 1,242 passing yards, 11 passing touchdowns, one interception, 242 rushing yards, three rushing touchdowns. 

What Klatt said: “I thought he’s been great over the past couple of weeks. The problem is that they don’t have a lot of marquee games from this point on in a weak ACC.”

UCLA QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson

2022 stats: 1,211 passing yards, 11 passing touchdowns, one interception, 223 rushing yards, three rushing touchdowns.

What Klatt said: “How about the way he played against Washington? Now, he’s got a stage against Utah this week. This UCLA team is undefeated and DTR is playing really well. He’s got a chance.”

Alabama RB Jahmyr Gibbs

2022 stats: 378 rushing yards, two rushing touchdowns, 207 receiving yards, three receiving touchdowns.

What Klatt said: “Without Bryce Young out there this week and maybe in coming weeks, they will run the crap out of the ball. You literally read Nick Saban’s lips when he was screaming. I think Jahmyr Gibbs is going to have a couple monster weeks coming up, and he can play himself into this conversation.

Oklahoma State QB Spencer Sanders

2022 stats: 1,097 passing yards, 11 passing touchdowns, two interceptions, 185 rushing yards, four rushing touchdowns. 

What Klatt said: “Is anybody mentioning Oklahoma State? They are really good. They’re just hanging out in the top 10, and no one is noticing. He (Sanders) is playing really good football, and they will be there in the end.”

Spencer Sanders finds Bryson Green for the TD

Oklahoma State QB Spencer Sanders connected with Bryson Green on a beautiful 7-yard touchdown pass. 

Georgia TE Brock Bowers

2022 stats: 20 receptions, 342 receiving yards, two receiving touchdowns, 82 rushing yards, three rushing touchdowns.

What Klatt said: “If he continues to have performances like he’s had, he will play himself into the conversation.”

TCU QB Max Duggan

2022 stats: 997 passing yards, 11 passing touchdowns, 149 rushing yards, two rushing touchdowns. 

What Klatt said: “They were fantastic against Oklahoma last week at home, and now they’ve got the stage against Kansas in an undefeated matchup in Lawrence.”

Read more:

Can UCLA, Kansas or Tennessee remain unbeaten?

– Red River Showdown: Storylines to watch in Oklahoma-Texas

– Inside Steve Sarkisian’s magic touch developing QBs

– Michigan-Indiana, Oklahoma-Texas: CFB Week 6 by the numbers

– Big Noon Kickoff: Everything to know about Michigan-Indiana

– As elite teams reveal flaws, opportunity arises for Ohio State, USC, others


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