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Heisman Contenders for the 2022 Season

Heisman

Aside from the National Championship trophy, the Heisman trophy is the most distinguished and important trophy handed out during the college football season. It recognizes the best player in college football that season and enters them into a forever fraternity and a living legend. Nothing can take away that accomplishment, regardless of where their career goes at the next level. Last season Alabama QB Bryce Young won the award, making it two Tide players in a row. Here are five new players to watch for in 2022 alongside Bryce Young who will try to be the first two-time winner since Ohio State's Archie Griffin.

Alabama Edge Will Anderson

Can the Tide make it three straight? Will Anderson is head and shoulders the best defensive player in college football, and many would argue the best overall player. Only one defender has ever won the award, Michigan's Charles Woodson. Woodson was also a master returner and took snaps at receiver, which also played a role in his eventual victory. Manti Te'o probably should have won the award in 2012 over Johnny Manziel, but it remains that no defender has won it before or since Woodson. Anderson is just something different, as he recorded 31 TFLs, and 17 sacks during his sophomore campaign. Nick Saban expressed that nobody can stop him on their roster, and that's at Alabama. Feasting and eating will be #31 for the Tide in 2022. Can he do enough to get to New York though and win it?

Ohio State QB CJ Stroud

CJ Stroud has everything you would like from the standpoint of being one of the best prospects for the NFL draft. He is over 6'3 and has considerable arm talent. He was inconsistent at times as the QB for the Buckeyes despite what the numbers might tell you, but the young man continued to mature and show growth throughout the season. Bryce Young was clearly better in 2021, but could 2022 yield a different result? 44 touchdowns to just six interceptions are unquestionably brilliant for a freshman campaign. Sure, the losses of Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave should not be understated, however, with Smith-Njigba returning and the Buckeyes WR recruiting there will be plenty to toss the pigskin to. If Stroud can be more consistent then he will have as good of a chance to lift that trophy.

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Ohio State WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba

Smith-Njigba is wired differently. He is the best WR in the country and it's not particularly close he was beyond the word dominant despite having two other first-round wideouts taking targets away from him. He's strong, so he is tough to jam, he is a great route runner so he can produce in the slot or outside, and he is quick so he is hard to stay with. He is also a tremendous athlete, so even if you do everything right he can still pluck the ball anyways. I believe Smith-Njigba is the best player in the nation, and he would be my favorite to win the Heisman trophy today.

Southern Cal QB Caleb Williams 

Williams showed off undeniably great but very raw talent in 2021 as the QB of the Oklahoma Sooners. He came in and replaced last off-season's Heisman favorite Spencer Rattler. In limited action, he had 21 touchdowns to just four interceptions and added another six rushing touchdowns showing he is a true dual-threat. Williams had not played since his junior year of high school due to Covid-19, and you could tell he was a freshman during Oklahoma's November run. He struggled to read defenses or even know where his eyes were supposed to be, to begin with. Williams should take a substantial leap forward in 2022 and at times he looked like could be the best player in 2021. USC was fortunate to get him from the transfer portal to reunite with Lincoln Riley. We expect USC to take a huge step forward, but if USC gets to the CFP, it will be because of Caleb Williams.

Oklahoma QB Dillon Gabriel

Oklahoma QBs are seemingly always in the discussion, but Gabriel is a quiet candidate for me. Oklahoma is still the best team in the Big 12 and has a top-five roster in college football. Dillon has experience running Jeff Lebby's offense, and with the trio of Jalil Farooq, Marvin Mims, and Theo Wease, he will be swimming in talented pass catchers in a way he simply has never experienced. All reports indicate he has been an incredible leader and has shown off a strong left arm for the Sooners in camp. If Oklahoma makes it to the College Football Playoff, which I believe will happen. Given all the perceived turmoil Venables and Gabriel will get a boatload of credit. Do not be surprised to see #DimeTime trending on several college football Saturdays this season.