Roundtable: Early Heisman Picks

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Every year, the Heisman Trophy is presented to the most outstanding player in all of college football that season. The winner of the award is the one who contributes to his team’s success, while also posting stellar individual statistics. Recent winners include Joe Burrow, Kyler Murray and Lamar Jackson, all of whom have found success in the NFL. Although we’re only a third of the way through the season, it’s never too early to start discussing who deserves college football’s greatest individual honor at the end of the season. The Daily Campus Sports Section give their picks here: 

Michael Penix Jr., Washington QB 

Stratton Stave, Associate Sports Editor 

You could call it a fluke after the first two games against weaker competition, but after a win against No. 11 Michigan State, there’s no mistake now that No. 18 Washington and Penix Jr. are for real. The historically injury-prone quarterback has thrown for 1,079 yards, which ranks second in the FBS. He also has a QBR of 88.6, which is in the top 10. Penix Jr.’s best game was against the Spartans, as he threw for 397 yards and four scores. There’s also reason to believe he won’t get injured in the same way this year, as he is staying back in the pocket more rather than relying on his prior scrambling tendencies. If Penix Jr. can continue at his current pace, there’s no reason to believe he can’t compete with the frontrunners for the Heisman Trophy.  

Stetson Bennett, Georgia QB 
Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett (13) warms up before an NCAA college football game against South Carolina on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022 in Columbia, S.C. Photo by Artie Walker Jr./AP

Ben Snyder, Campus Correspondent   

The Georgia Bulldogs look poised for another run in the College Football Playoff and a possible repeat as National Champions. They have come out of the gates hot, earning themselves the top rank in the AP Top 25 College Football Poll after dominating the No. 11 Oregon to begin the season and stomping South Carolina last week. 

The Bulldogs have been led by senior quarterback Stetson Bennett, who was at the helm last year as well. Bennett has been outstanding throughout the first three games; he has thrown for 952 yards, five touchdown passes and no interceptions, and he also added three scores on the ground. Bennett is my early favorite pick to win the Heisman Trophy, which would make him the first quarterback from Georgia to ever do it. He is currently overshadowed by the likes of Bryce Young, Will Anderson Jr. and C.J. Stroud. If Bennett and the Bulldogs continue to dominate, especially in their tough upcoming games, I would not be surprised to see Bennett accepting the Heisman on Dec. 10. 

C.J. Stroud, Ohio State QB
Southern California quarterback Caleb Williams passes during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Fresno State Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022, in Los Angeles. Photo by Mark J. Terrill/AP

Sam Calhoun, Campus Correspondent 

Stroud has 11 passing touchdowns so far this season, which is tied for first in FBS. With 941 passing yards (13th in FBS) through three weeks, he has thrown zero interceptions and has a QBR of 94.6, which ranks third nationally. Stroud has completed 72.9% of his passes, and he has a very talented group of receivers catching his passes. 

There is great competition for this award, especially when Week 4 is about to begin. Stroud’s going to have to beat out defending Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young, a tough task considering how good of a player he is. While Young, Stetson Bennett and Caleb Williams are all excellent choices, I think C.J. Stroud is the biggest standout. 

Caleb Williams, USC QB 

Evan Rodriguez, Staff Writer 

Under coach Lincoln Riley’s fourth-best scoring offense, I really like Caleb Williams as a sleeper pick for the Heisman. USC is 3-0 thus far, and Williams has naturally played a tremendous part in the team’s early success. When I watched him utterly humiliate Stanford with four touchdowns in just the first half, I could see he was going to turn heads. Williams may not have had a jaw-dropping performance against Fresno State, but he’s shown that he’s going to be in the Heisman race if he continues to put points on the board like he’s done so far. With Riley as his coach, Williams seems poised to continue that exciting play as the Trojans head into a Week 4 matchup with Oregon State. 

Sam Hartman, Wake Forest QB 

Cole Stefan, Staff Writer 

Initially, I was going to go with University of Connecticut linebacker Jackson Mitchell for this selection — his 49 tackles through four games lead the nation and are seven ahead of second place. 

Instead, I went with an underrated quarterback, as that makes more sense at this moment. Last year, Hartman was a critical piece that helped the Wake Forest Demon Deacons play in the ACC Championship game against Pittsburgh. After coming up short against the Panthers and beating Rutgers University in a bowl game, Hartman is out for revenge in his fifth and final season. Although he has played in only two out of Wake Forest’s three games so far, Hartman has thrown for over 300 yards in both games, with seven total touchdowns to boot. Both of those games may have been against non-conference foes (Vanderbilt and Liberty, respectively) and he may have thrown two interceptions, but there is still a lot of the season left. If Hartman posts similar numbers against ACC foes, then I honestly think he will be a Heisman finalist. 

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