It’s the first day of fall and time for our first temperature check of Heisman chatter now that we’re three weeks into the 2021 season.
The loudest of said chatter is centered on Ole Miss QB Matt Corral, who has led the Rebels to a 3-0 start while Lane Kiffin’s offense averages 53 points a game. Corral is three yards short of 1000 to go with nine TD passes with 158 yards rushing and 5 scores on the ground, four of which game last week in this SEC first.
Alabama, less than a year removed from seeing DeVonta Smith hoist the Heisman, now features QB Bryce Young under center. The freshman has led the Crimson Tide to a 3-0 start and already is getting plenty of Heisman hype.
After blowout wins over Miami and Mercer, Young guided Alabama to a 31-29 W over No. 11 Florida. He’s thrown for 811 yards and 10 TDs without an interception to start his career.
Michigan State RB Kenneth Walker III, Maryland QB Taulia Tagovailoa and Oklahoma QB Spencer Rattler round out his top 5.
Fansided had a somewhat similar spin on its Top 5, with Corral at No. 1, Young at No. 2, Walker III at No. 3, North Carolina QB Sam Howell at No. 4 and Michigan RB Blake Corum at No. 5.
Walker has nearly 500 yards on the ground in three games on just 57 carries with six TDs. Howell, after a rough week 1, has thrown for 659 yards and 8 TDs in his last two games, the most recent a 59-39 win over UVA. As for Corum, he has helped the Wolverines to a 3-0 start with 407 rushing yards and 8 TDs.
Bleacher Report ranked its top 6 on its Heisman radar with Young and Corral 1-2 and Walker and Howell 3-4. At No. 5 is Ohio State QB C.J. Stroud, who has amassed 963 passing yards and 8 TDs in his first three starts as a Buckeye. Rattler was at No. 6.
Stroud’s true freshman teammate, RB TreVeyon Henderson, was among those on Bleacher Report’s list to keep an eye on with 452 yards so far. So was Cincinnati QB Desmond Ridder — who received his share of Heisman hype last year – and Liberty QB Malik Willis. Willis has totaled 838 passings yards and 11 TDs thus far.
First-year starting Notre Dame QB Jack Coan has the Irish off to a 3-0 start, albeit in games tighter than some would have expected, while UCLA QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson commands Chip Kelly’s high-octane offense.
There are nine current Heisman Trophy winners playing in the NFL and most are off to strong starts to the 2021 season.
Two Heisman winners are on 2-0 teams, but it’s Kyler Murray who is starting. He is second in the NFL with 689 passing yards with seven TDS while rushing for two more scores. Marcus Mariota is back as Derek Carr’s backup in Las Vegas, the Raiders also 2-0.
Derrick Henry leads the NFL in rushing through two games with 240 yards and three TDs to go with nine receptions for another 74 yards.
Mark Ingram, the most tenured Heisman winner still playing in the league, is off to a fresh start with Houston, gaining 126 yards on 40 carries with a score.
Cincinnati QB Joe Burrow, New Orleans QB Jameis Winston, Cleveland QB Baker Mayfield and Baltimore QB Lamar Jackson are all 1-1, as is NFL rookie WR DeVonta Smith, who snared his first career TD catch in Week 1 and now has eight catches through two games.
Burrow, back on the field after suffering a season-ending knee injury in 2020, has thrown for 468 yards and four TDs, not bad considering it’s his first real live action in almost a year.