The 2022 college football season is only a little over a month away. Ahead of the season, one of the main focuses will be on preseason favorites to win the Heisman Trophy. The winner of last year’s trophy, Bryce Young, will have a chance to win the award for the second year in a row, but he will have competition from a strong group of other players.
Bryce Young might be the favorite ahead of the season, but it won’t be easy for him to win the award for the second time. Here is a look at some of the favorites for the 2022 Heisman Trophy.
Bryce Young, QB, Alabama
The Heisman conversation begins with Young, who won last year’s award and will return to an Alabama program that is a national title favorite. Young was second in passing yards and touchdowns last season, and had the seventh-best quarterback rating in the country.
Archie Griffin is the only two-time winner of the award, but Young has one of the best chances in recent memory to win the Heisman for the second time. He and Alabama are one of the favorites to win the national championship alongside Georgia, who they lost to in the title game last season, and the program is also the clear favorite in the SEC West.
However, Young will face a lot of competition for the award. Including another quarterback at Griffin’s alma mater who was a Heisman finalist last season.
C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State
Ahead of last season, C.J. Stroud was in a competition to win the starting quarterback job at Ohio State. In his debut against Minnesota, Stroud proved why he won the competition, completing 13 of his 22 passing attempts for 294 yards and one touchdown.
His debut game began an excellent first season as the starter at Ohio State. The Buckeyes had the best offense in the country, mostly due to Stroud, who was a Heisman finalist. He finished second in quarterback rating to Grayson McCall, five spots ahead of Young, and was fifth in passing yards and third in touchdowns. He also had the fourth-best completion percentage in college football.
Stroud, unlike Young, did not reach the College Football Playoff last season after Ohio State lost to both Oregon and Michigan in the regular season. This year, Stroud will be without receivers Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson, who were selected in the NFL Draft, as he and Ohio State attempt to return to the College Football Playoff.
Will Anderson, Jr., DE, Alabama
Alabama will have one of the best defensive lines in football next year, and Anderson is the best player in the group. Last season, it could be argued that Anderson should have been a Heisman Trophy finalist; or even the potential winner.
In 2021, Anderson led the nation in sacks with 17.5, which was the third most in a single season in Alabama history. He also led the nation in tackles for loss with 34.5, was a consensus first-team All-American, won SEC Defensive Player of the Year, and won the Bronko Nagurski Trophy.
Anderson hopes to become only the second defensive player to win the award. It has always been difficult for defensive players to win the Heisman Trophy. However, heading into this season Anderson is clearly the best defensive player in college football. After contending to win the Heisman Trophy last season he has a very good chance of winning the award this year.
Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas
Expectations at Texas are very high heading into the 2022 season, which will be Steve Sarkisian’s second year as the head coach of the program. One of the main reasons for that is running back Bijan Robinson, who enters this year as a Heisman contender after a phenomenal sophomore season.
Robinson played in only 10 games last season due to an injury that forced him to miss the final few weeks of the year. Despite that, he had 1,127 rushing yards to go along with 26 receptions for 295 yards. On 35 carries against TCU Robinson had 216 yards and two touchdowns, and he had 137 yards against Oklahoma and 135 yards against Oklahoma State in two of Texas’ biggest games of the season.
Last year, Robinson was on the All-Big 12 First-Team, and this year he will be one of the favorites for Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year and the Heisman Trophy. He will also have a huge opportunity to become one of the early-season leaders for the award when Alabama travels to play Texas in the second week of the season.
Caleb Williams, QB, USC
When Lincoln Riley left Oklahoma to take the job at USC there were immediate rumors that Caleb Williams would enter the transfer portal. Those rumors became reality when Williams entered the portal and eventually transferred to USC.
Williams’ transfer was one of the biggest stories in college football this offseason because he will be a Heisman Trophy candidate this year. He was sixth in quarterback rating last season, just behind Stroud and ahead of Young and fellow 2021 Heisman finalist Kenny Pickett. He was a Freshman All-American despite not being the starting quarterback at Oklahoma for most of the first half of the 2021 season.
USC was 4-8 last season, but the Trojans will likely be a consensus Top 25 team heading into 2022 due to Williams and several other key transfers. Williams will hope to lead USC back to a bowl game and the Pac-12 Championship Game in Riley’s first year in charge, while also hoping to become USC’s first Heisman Trophy winner since 2004; when Matt Leinart won the award.
Tyler Van Dyke, QB, Miami
Tyler Van Dyke wasn’t expected to start any regular season games at quarterback for Miami ahead of last season. D’Eriq King, who had led Miami to an 8-3 record and a No.22 finish in the polls in 2020, had returned to the program and was the starting quarterback.
However, an injury to King meant Van Dyke started Miami’s fourth game of the season against Central Connecticut, and he spent the rest of the season as the Hurricanes’ quarterback. After an October 16 loss to North Carolina, Miami finished the season with a 5-1 record in their last six games in large part due to Van Dyke. He won ACC Rookie of the Year, had more than 300 passing yards in the final six games of the season, and had 25 touchdowns and just six interceptions.
Like Williams, Van Dyke will begin this season with a new head coach, as Mario Cristobal begins his first season coaching his alma mater. Van Dyke has a great chance to be Miami’s first Heisman Trophy finalist since 2002, and the program’s first winner since Gino Torretta in 1992.
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