The finalists for the 2022 Heisman Trophy were revealed on Monday night, and four quarterbacks will head to New York this weekend with the hopes of taking home college football’s most prestigious individual award. Ohio State quarterback CJ Stroud, USC quarterback Caleb Williams, TCU quarterback Max Duggan and Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett are this year’s finalists after tremendous efforts.
The Heisman race thinned out over the last month of the season as Williams led the Trojans to the brink of the College Football Playoff prior to their loss to Utah in the Pac-12 Championship Game. Part of the reason Williams rose to the top of the pack was the torn ACL that Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker suffered in mid-November, ending the season (and Heisman hopes, apparently) for the dual-threat star.
Let’s take a closer look at their respective résumés.
Caleb Williams, QB, USC
The Oklahoma transfer has been a superstar in his first season with the Trojans. His 37 touchdown passes are tied for first nationally, along with Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud and Houston‘s Clayton Tune. He also ranks sixth at 313.5 yards passing per game and added 10 touchdowns on the ground. He was the catalyst for a USC offense that thrived under first-year coach Lincoln Riley, playing particularly well down the stretch. More impressively, Williams had to have that kind of season just to keep the Trojans in national title contention. Without Williams, USC, which won 11 games, wouldn’t have been anywhere close to a Pac-12 title, much less a playoff spot. As far as value to his team goes, Williams has a strong case.
C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State
Stroud was a Heisman finalist last year after a fantastic debut, and he followed that up with another Heisman-caliber year. Though he shares the lead for most touchdown passes, and his yards per game numbers aren’t as good as Williams’, he edges the USC signal-caller with an impressive 9.4 yards per attempt. In some ways, it feels as though Stroud’s high-level production gets taken for granted because it’s so workmanlike (and because of the absurd skill around him). And in a wide-open race, there are simply other players who finished stronger. Still, it’s hard to imagine a gathering of college football’s finest players and Stroud not being in attendance.
Duggan didn’t even open the season as TCU’s starter, but he stepped in for Chandler Morris in Week 1 and led the Horned Frogs to an undefeated regular season and a No. 3 seed in the CFP. He threw for 3,321 yards and scored 36 touchdowns on the season. Some voters place value as the most important attribute when casting their ballots, and Duggan’s value to the Horned Frogs can’t be denied. If his offense needs a play, Duggan finds a way.
Bennett was given the keys to Georgia’s offense from the moment the season began. He drove that bus all the way to the College Football Playoff as the No. 1 seed with a de facto home semifinal game in the Peach Bowl in Atlanta. He threw for 3,425 yards and 20 touchdowns and added 184 yards and seven touchdowns. Bennett doesn’t have the stats as the other finalists, but what he brings to the reigning national champions is invaluable.