August 12, 2022

The 10 Heisman contenders entering December

The 10 Heisman Contenders

Photo courtesy of Iowa State Athletics

It’s that time of the year where everything gets serious, champions are born and the Playoff rankings take center stage.

Experience, leadership and production is vital when it comes to a player’s quest for superstardom. Everyone is looking for the individuals that take advantage of the spotlight and leaves fans in awe with their breathtaking performances. Style points are key and it does matter what school and conference the player is representing when the smoke clears.

Regardless of position, all of these individuals have displayed what it takes to bring home the hardware. With only a couple of games left on each teams’ slate, now comes the time for all of them to make that lasting impression.

10. Spencer Rattler, QB, Oklahoma: It’s not easy being a Sooner signal-caller because of the expectations. However, Rattler’s performances have been promising. The redshirt freshman is second in the Big 12 with 22 touchdown passes and has four rushing scores. Rattler had four touchdown passes apiece against Missouri State, Kansas State and Oklahoma State. Not to mention the Phoenix native scored five times in the Bedlam win. The No. 13 Sooners control their own destiny and the road to the Big 12 Title still goes through them. Rattler has 2,319 yards through the air, which ranks first in the conference. Oklahoma is averaging 45.2 points per game, which also helps Rattler’s cause. The Heisman is a long shot, but he’s probably a lock for the Big 12’s Offensive Newcomer of the Year. Still, if Rattler leads the Sooners to their sixth-straight Big 12 Title, he’ll be in the conversation.

9. Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida: He’s a matchup nightmare, who makes defenders look silly with his crisp routes and acrobatic catches. Pitts was on a tear until a dirty hit by a Georgia defensive back gave him a concussion and forced him to miss two games. Last Saturday the Philadelphia native returned against Kentucky like he never left and hauled in three touchdown passes. Pitts has caught at least five balls in three different games. He’s also second in the SEC with 11 touchdown catches. The six-foot-six, 243-pounder has a touchdown reception in five of the six games he played in this season, including four against Ole Miss. Defenses have to know where he’s located on every play because he’s so dynamic. Pitts makes everything look easy and is a NFL tight end playing college ball. Bottom line, he’ll be in the Heisman discussion if the Gators win the SEC.

8. Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson: He was the favorite and put up nice numbers until he tested positive for COVID. That forced Lawrence to miss Clemson’s game against Boston College and Notre Dame. Not to mention the cancelled clash with Florida State will hurt Lawrence’s stats in the long run. However, his overall portfolio will keep him in the discussion as long as the Tigers keep winning. The Georgia native returned last Saturday against Pittsburgh and threw for 402 yards and two scores in the blowout win. Lawrence has 19 touchdown passes, two interceptions and four rushing scores through seven games. He’ll get his chance at redemption in the rematch against Notre Dame in the ACC Championship Game. A win over the Fighting Irish will be a statement in itself. Winning the Heisman probably doesn’t mean much because Lawrence wants another National Title to add to his incredible legacy.

7. Najee Harris, RB, Alabama: The California native has been one of the most productive rushers in the SEC and averages 111 yards per game. Harris plays for the No. 1 team in the country and has a jaw-dropping, 17 rushing touchdowns, which ranks first in the FBS. He has the soft hands that NFL coaches love and can make defenses pay out in space. The six-foot-two, 230-pounder eclipsed the century mark in rushing against Georgia and Mississippi State. If his 206-yard rushing performance in the win over Ole Miss wasn’t enough to get everyone’s attention, the five touchdowns were. He also had three rushing scores apiece against Missouri and Tennessee. Harris is the total package, who can block, run between the tackles and has the speed to outrun defenders. The Crimson Tide still has some big games left, including the SEC Championship for Harris to make a statement.

6. Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State: The Big Ten forced the Buckeyes to start the season late, but the signal-caller has dazzled in the four game he played in. Fields has put up video game numbers and been deadly accurate. The Georgia native has scored at least three touchdowns in every game, including six in the win over Rutgers. Not to mention the six-foot-three, 228-pounder has thrown for 300 or more yards in Ohio State’s last three games. Unfortunately for Fields the Buckeyes had two of their games cancelled, which will hurt his numbers. However, Ohio State still has marquee matchups on the road at Michigan State, Michigan in the Horseshoe and the Big Ten Championship Game. Regardless of the matter Fields has 1,208 yards through the air to go along with 16 total touchdowns in just four games. That’s enough to keep the quarterback on everyone’s mind throughout December.

5. Zach Wilson, QB, BYU: The 9-0 Cougars are the No. 8 team in the nation and he’s the reason for the program’s highest ranking since 2009. Wilson’s 2,724 passing yards ranks seventh in the FBS. He has also scored 34 total touchdowns in nine games. Naysayers will knock Wilson for BYU’s schedule, but all the quarterback has done is win games. The Utah native has scored at least four touchdowns in six different games, plus he only has two interceptions this fall. Not to mention 17 of Wilson’s 26 pass touchdowns came in the last five games. BYU has only one game left on its’ slate against San Diego State for Wilson to pad his stats. Despite the quality of opponents the Cougars have faced, the voters will have a hard time ignoring Wilson’s numbers. It’ll speak volumes if he can lead BYU to a New Year’s Six Bowl.

4. DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama: He pretty much has the Biletnikoff Award on lock at this point. Smith is by far the most dynamic receiver in College football. The senior has been dominating every week and is impossible to cover one-on-one. Smith has eight touchdown receptions over Alabama’s last three games, including four against Mississippi State. The Louisiana native has had at least two touchdown catches in four games this fall. Smith’s incredible hands has allowed him to record four 100-yard receiving games. Not to mention the six-foot-one, 175-pounder surpassed the 200-yard receiving mark in the win over the Bulldogs. Smith’s 12 touchdown catches is tied for first in the FBS. He has hauled in 72 passes for 1,074 yards and is virtually a highlight reel on film. It’s even more impressive that Smith stepped up his game after Jaylen Waddle went down with injury against Tennessee. He stays ready.

3. Breece Hall, RB, Iowa State: The true sophomore has stampeded his way through the Big 12 this fall. Hall’s 1,260 rushing yards rank first in the Power Five. Not to mention he’s second in the FBS with 16 touchdowns on the ground. The former four-star prospect has surpassed the century mark in rushing in eight of the Cyclones’ nine games. The Kansas native scored the go-ahead touchdown in last week’s win at Texas that basically landed Iowa State a berth in the Big 12 Championship Game. Hall is No. 1 in the Power Five averaging 140 rush yards per game. He scored three touchdowns in wins over TCU and Baylor. It’ll be a complete shocker if Hall isn’t named the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year. He’s a gamer with a chance to have the most rushing yards in a single season by a Cyclone since Troy Davis.

2. Mac Jones, QB, Alabama: He hasn’t made Crimson Tide fans forget about Tua Tagovailoa, but no one expected the quarterback to have so much success this season. Jones is third in the SEC, with 2,728 passing yards and has the highest completion percentage in the league. In just eight games the Florida native has 23 touchdowns through the air. Jones posted three-straight 400-yard passing games against Texas A&M, Ole Miss and Georgia. Not to mention he finished with 10 touchdowns and just two interceptions during that span. Critics will argue that Jones has a plethora of weapons around him that makes his jaw-dropping stats look nice. However, they need to remember that he has remained consistent and his worst game this fall came against Tennessee, when he threw for 387 yards. Alabama is averaging 48.5 points per game and hasn’t scored under 40 since the opener against Missouri.

1. Kyle Trask, QB, Florida: He’s the best quarterback the Gators have had since Tim Tebow. In just eight games, Trask has 34 passing touchdowns, which ranks first in the country and is four more than any other quarterback in the FBS. Florida snapped its’ three-game losing streak to Georgia, is currently No. 6 in the Playoff rankings and already clinched a berth in the SEC Championship Game. He has a chance to become the first former walk-on to win the Heisman since Baker Mayfield. He leads the Power Five with 2,810 passing yards and has three interceptions. Trask is on pace to break Danny Wuerffel’s single-season record of 39 touchdown tosses, which been in place since 1996. The Heisman race has come down to a two-man race between Trask and Jones and they’re likely to go head-to-head in the SEC Championship. The winner will emerge as the favorite.

Honorable Mention

Sam Ehlinger, QB, Texas: He scored 31 total touchdowns through eight games, but the Longhorns have a 5-3 record.

Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati: He has 27 total touchdowns for the 8-0 Bearcats, but lacks a quality opponent.

Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss: The sophomore is second in the SEC with 2,744 passing yards and 24 touchdown tosses.

Javonte Williams, RB, North Carolina: He has 18 touchdowns for the Tar Heels this fall, including 15 on the ground.

D’Eriq King, QB, Miami: The Houston transfer has scored 21 total touchdowns for the ninth-ranked Hurricanes (7-1).

Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson: His 1,379 all-purpose yards is impressive and he’s the ACC’s all-time leading rusher.

Sincere McCormick, RB, UTSA: His 1,345 rushing yards is No. 1 in the FBS and he has 11 touchdowns on the ground.

Grayson McCall, QB, Coastal Carolina: He has scored 25 total touchdowns for the undefeated Chanticleers.

Malik Willis, QB, Liberty: He has scored 30 total touchdowns through nine games for the 25th-ranked Flames.

Jaret Patterson, RB, Buffalo: He has 710 yards and 12 touchdowns in the last two games for the undefeated Bulls.