It’s the week before Thanksgiving and you are either in turkey-day-menu prep mode or you’re headed next week to your in-laws for dinner with a side dish or bottle of wine. Are we right?
What we’re even more sure about is that you are primed for multiple helpings of football as we come down the final stretch of the 2022 college football season, one in which the Heisman Trophy race is as exciting as ever.
Players from across the country are making compelling cases for Heisman consideration. Here’s the latest buzz from the college football media world.
The Athletics’ latest straw poll saw Ohio State 2021 Heisman finalist C.J. Stroud in first while North Carolina redshirt freshman QB Drake Maye jumped to second with the most first-place votes (13) among the poll’s 38 voters. Tennessee QB Hendon Hooker was third with nine first-place votes and all three players were close in total points.
Michigan RB Blake Corum was fourth and USC QB Caleb Williams was fifth.
Following TCU QB Max Duggan in sixth was three Georgia players, QB Stetson Bennett, TE Brock Bowers and DT Jalen Carter.
Maye is coming off of a career-best 448-yard passing effort with three TDs as the Tar Heels cliched their division with a win at Wake Forest. He added 71 yards on the ground and another score.
Per The Athletics: “The 6-foot-4 1/2, 220-pound Maye leads the nation in total offense (3,996) and touchdowns responsible for (39). He is tied with Bo Nix for the national lead in points responsible for (236). Maye is also UNC’s leading rusher with 584 yards, a mark that is good for sixth among all ACC players. Maye is up to 70.1 percent passing on the year, and he has thrown just three interceptions.”
ESPN’s latest Heisman polling here has Stroud in first followed by Hooker and Maye with Williams fourth and Stetson, who leads the nation’s No. 1 team, in fifth.
Stroud had a tough day against Northwestern in the wind two Saturdays ago. But per ESPN: “Against the Indiana, he proved he was back to his dominant play. He threw for 297 yards and five touchdowns to lift the Buckeyes to a 56-14 victory. Thanks to his hefty touchdown performance, Stroud is back tied with Maye for most in the FBS (34) after losing the lead last week.”
Hooker, for his part, bounced back from a loss as well, leading the Vols to a win over Missouri with 355 yards passing four total TDs, including this scoring jaunt.
Veteran college football writer Matt Hayes, writing for Saturday Down South, is putting his chips in on Georgia’s talented defensive lineman Carter in this story.
His stats – 17 tackles, two sacks, two forced fumbles – are modest in Georgia’s highly rated defense, but Hayes makes the case of how he impacts the game.
Per Hayes: “He is the best player on the field every time Georgia lines up. He was Saturday night in a rout of Mississippi State and was last week in a rout of Tennessee.”
ESPN made the case for Williams’ candidacy: “He’s the focal point of USC’s offense, which is third highest in scoring in FBS. He currently sits at 10th in the nation in passing yards with 3,010, along with 31 touchdowns and just two interceptions, leading the resurgence of [the] USC program.”
He’ll be on the big stage for potentially three straight weeks to bolster it with games against UCLA (and fellow L.A.-based star QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson) and Notre Dame and the Pac-12 title game if USC wins the first two. Here is one of his TD strikes from last week.
Thompson-Robinson and Nix both took hits when their teams lost last Saturday. Both could still make a late push if UCLA and Oregon finish strong.
ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg profiled Corum here, including this impressive summary: “He’s tied for the national lead in touchdowns (18), leads the FBS in first downs (81) and ranks third in rushing yards (1,349) despite logging only four total carries in the second halves of Michigan’s first three games. He accounts for 26% of Michigan’s plays of 20 yards or longer and averages 5.8 yards per carry in Big Ten play.”
Corum’s coach Jim Harbaugh called him the Heisman frontrunner.
Saturday Blitz has Corum second in its Heisman rankings here. His next two games are against a solid Illinois defense and rival Ohio State, providing a big platform for him.
Alabama QB and 2021 Heisman winner Bryce Young has dropped in recent media polling and is No. 10 in Bleacher Report’s latest rankings despite a great season that includes 2,443 yards passing and 22 TDs with just four interceptions, running for another four scores.
Bleacher Report’s top 1-2 sees Stroud an Hooker with Corum third, Williams fourth and Maye fifth.