Heisman Trophy Race: Ohio State QB CJ Stroud is Pulling Away from the Pack; Hooker, Corum Enter the Conversation

Ohio State signal-caller, CJ Stroud, is leading the field by a wide margin in the latest Heisman Trophy odds. Does anyone have a chance of surpassing the Buckeye standout in the coming weeks, or is this Stroud’s award to lose?

In most NFL Draft circles, Ohio State QB CJ Stroud is the favorite to go No. 1 overall. The former four-star recruit out of Rancho Cucamonga, California, is in year two as the starter in Columbus and is at the peak of his powers as a passer.

Stroud finished the 2021 season fourth in Heisman Trophy voting after failing to take his squad to the playoffs. Although he lost two wide receivers (Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave) to the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft, Stroud has not missed a beat without them.

Jaxon Smith-Njigba returned to Ohio State as the unquestioned top option in the passing game heading into the 2022 season. However, the leading receiver for the 2021 Buckeyes was injured in week one and has yet to get any momentum going in his junior season after appearing in only two games.

Not to fret, Stroud has scarcely noticed the loss of his top three pass catchers from 2021. Marvin Harrison Jr. has stepped up in JSN’s absence, and the running back duo of Miyan Williams and TreVeyon Henderson have become a lethal two-headed monster out of the backfield.

This past Saturday, Stroud pulled ahead of the field by posting a pristine 21-of-26 for 361 yards and six touchdown tosses. The Buckeyes eviscerated the Michigan State defense through the air. Through six games, Stroud has a sparkling stat line: 70.6% completion rate, 1737 passing yards, 24 touchdown passes, and only three interceptions.

On Oct. 29, Ryan Day’s crew will travel to Happy Valley to take on the No. 10 ranked Penn State Nittany Lions. They host the No. 4 ranked Michigan Wolverines in “The Game” in late November. Look for CJ Stroud to take advantage of these crucial matchups and cement himself as the 2022 Heisman Trophy Winner.

There are a few names to monitor if Ohio State QB CJ Stroud falters down the stretch:

Caleb Williams is putting up elite numbers in year one with the USC Trojans. The former Oklahoma Sooner has led his team through the Pac-12 unscathed, but the play has been shaky over the past few weeks, allowing CJ Stroud to create some distance between himself and the field. It is only the beginning of October, leaving a chance for Williams to make this a race.

Bryce Young is the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, and as long as he returns to the lineup this weekend against the No. 6 ranked Tennessee Volunteers, the back-to-back hopes are still alive. To accomplish this feat, it will take brilliant play by Young. The Crimson Tide leader has proven to be someone you don’t want to bet against.

•On the flip side of the Alabama/Tennessee showdown this weekend, Volunteers quarterback Hendon Hooker could close the gap in the Heisman race by pulling off the upset against Nick Saban’s No. 3 ranked squad. Hooker has yet to throw an interception in 2022 while averaging nearly 300 passing yards and two touchdown tosses per game. The first chapter in his Heisman campaign will be written in Knoxville Saturday afternoon.

Blake Corum has burst onto the scene after taking over the top spot on the depth chart in the wake of Hassan Haskin’s departure to the NFL. Corum picked up right where Haskins left off in 2021, recording 500 rushing yards and four touchdowns over the past three games, all against conference foes. Former teammate Aidan Hutchinson earned an invite to the Heisman ceremony last season; Corum could do the same in 2022.