- Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud (+150) is the clear betting favorite to win the Heisman Trophy, but his 83.7 PFF grade ranks tied for 27th among FBS quarterbacks.
- Alabama quarterback Bryce Young is just +900 to repeat as a Heisman winner despite earning an impressive 91.3 PFF grade that puts him third among players at his position.
- USC quarterback Caleb Williams is sandwiched between them at +400. Williams ranks 14th among FBS QBs in PFF grade.
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We’re getting close to the halfway point of the 2022 college football season, meaning the Heisman race is starting to heat up.
Using BetMGM's latest Heisman odds, here’s how some of the top candidates have graded this season.
QB C.J. Stroud, Ohio State Buckeyes: +150
2022 Grade: 83.7 (T-27th out of 140 FBS QBs)
Stroud is the heavy favorite to win the Heisman right now, with his odds giving him a 40% implied probability of taking home the award.
While box score stats might make him the front-runner, Stroud’s grade doesn’t paint quite such a strong picture — he’s made six turnover-worthy plays compared to just seven big-time throws. The Buckeyes signal-caller is also in a much better environment than other top Heisman contenders, with a scheme and a receiving corps that creates a significant number of open throws.
Percentage of throws to a receiver with a step or more of separation
|Player||School||% of throws|
|C.J. Stroud||Ohio State||86.7%|
Stroud certainly hasn’t played poorly this year, and his 92.2 grade last year shows he is capable of top-tier play over the second half of the season. He just hasn’t had to shoulder as much of the offense as other top quarterbacks have so far.
QB Caleb Williams, USC Trojans: +400
2022 Grade: 87.5 (14th out of 140 FBS QBs)
Like Stroud, Williams has had a very good start to the season, but his Heisman odds are more a product of preseason expectations than his on-field play. Through five weeks, the sophomore’s 83.2 passing grade is the 19th-highest in the country, while his 3.5% big-time throw rate is just 94th.
The USC passer should also improve as the season goes on. As a true freshman last year, his 91.3 grade was a top-10 mark in the Power Five. He’s also coming off a very impressive 90.4 grade against Arizona State this past weekend.
As long as No. 6 USC remains in the thick of the College Football Playoff hunt, Williams will also stay in the race for the Heisman.
QB Bryce Young, Alabama Crimson Tide: +900
2022 Grade: 91.3 (3rd out of 140 FBS QBs)
Voter fatigue seems to be holding Young back here, as he’s picked up right where he left off last season — he is the nation’s third-highest graded quarterback (91.3), and he’s done that despite having a receiving corps that ranks 67th in the country in team receiving grade (67.7).
He also quarterbacks the top-ranked team in the country, and team success certainly plays a role in the Heisman race. Only Archie Griffin has won the trophy twice. Based on what we’ve seen so far this year, Young would get my vote to join Griffin as the second repeat Heisman winner.
QB Hendon Hooker, Tennessee Volunteers: +1300
2022 Grade: 90.5 (7th out of 140 FBS QBs)
The Tennessee Volunteers have been one of the biggest surprises of the 2022 college football season, going from unranked in the preseason AP poll to No. 8 after just five weeks. The driving force behind the Volunteers’ success is their offense, specifically quarterback Hendon Hooker.
Hooker’s 88.5 rushing grade is the highest among Power Five quarterbacks this season. He couples that with a solid 82.2 passing grade that’s tied with C.J. Stroud for 16th in the Power Five. Hooker has another opportunity to bolster his resume on the road against No. 25 LSU this week.
QB Adrian Martinez, Kansas State Wildcats: +1400
2022 Grade: 84.2 (T-23rd out of 140 FBS QBs)
Martinez has combined with running back Deuce Vaughn to form one of college football's most lethal rushing attacks. His 503 rushing yards and 28 rushing first downs/touchdowns lead the nation among quarterbacks.
However, he still has his struggles as a passer. The Nebraska transfer’s 71.7 passing grade is tied for 64th in the country, and in five years as a starting quarterback, that’s still the best mark of his career. Martinez will put up gaudy numbers as a runner, but he’ll need to make a significant leap as a passer to have a real chance at winning the Heisman.
RB Blake Corum, Michigan Wolverines: +1800
2022 Grade: 89.6 (2nd out of 151 FBS RBs)
The first running back on this list, Blake Corum has been the engine for Michigan’s offense.
He’s the nation’s second-highest graded running back, behind only Ohio State’s Miyan Williams. However, Williams works more in a committee with TreVeyon Henderson, while Corum is unquestionably the Wolverines’ top back.
Corum leads the nation with 10 rushing touchdowns and is fourth in the country with 611 rushing yards. It might not show up on the stat sheet, but Corum is an excellent pass-protector, too: His 85.0 pass-blocking grade is the second-highest mark for Power Five backs.
Fourth-ranked Michigan will continue to rely on him as they try to make their second consecutive Playoff berth.
QB Stetson Bennett, Georgia Bulldogs: +2000
2022 Grade: 87.7 (13th out of 140 FBS QBs)
After winning a national championship a season ago, Bennett looks even better this year. In fact, his 85.1 passing grade is over five points higher than his 2021 mark (79.9).
He may play the role of a game manager in Georgia’s offense, but he does so at a very high level. His big-time throw rate (2.8%) is tied for 112th in the country, but his turnover-worthy play rate (1.7%) is 20th. Since second-ranked Georgia will likely make yet another Playoff appearance, Bennett will receive enough national attention to stick in the Heisman race.
RB Jahmyr Gibbs, Alabama Crimson Tide: +2000
2022 Grade: 80.3 (15th out of 151 FBS RBs)
The second Alabama player on this list, Gibbs is electric with the ball in his hands, especially as a receiver. His 14 forced missed tackles on receptions is four more than any other Power Five running back, while his 84.5 receiving grade is the second-highest figure for Power Five backs.
It’ll be difficult for any Alabama player not named Bryce Young to win the Heisman, but Gibbs can certainly push Blake Corum for the Doak Walker Award.
QB DJ Uiagalelei, Clemson Tigers: +2500
2022 Grade: 86.2 (11th out of 140 FBS QBs)
Last season, Uiagalelei’s poor performance was a big reason why Clemson missed the College Football Playoff for the first time in seven years. But this season, his performance looks like the catalyst for yet another CFP run for the fifth-ranked Tigers.
Uiagalelei currently has an 89.0 passing grade, sixth-highest among Power Five quarterbacks. Last year, his 64.4 passing grade was the 11th-lowest in the Power Five.
His big-time throw rate and turnover-worthy play rate are both among the five best in the Power Five, and he's the only player to accomplish that feat. Not only could Uiagalelei emerge as a legitimate Heisman candidate, but he could also become a first-round pick in the 2023 Draft.
QB Jalon Daniels, Kansas Jayhawks: +4000
2022 Grade: 84.3 (22nd out of 140 FBS QBs)
Kansas has been one of the best stories of college football this season. The Jayhawks are currently ranked 19th in the AP poll, the first time there’s a number next to their name in 13 years.
Daniels has been a major reason for that. His 85.6 passing grade is the seventh-best among Power Five quarterbacks. And if that holds, it’d be by far the highest passing grade a Kansas quarterback has had since PFF began grading college football in 2014.
Highest single-season passing grade by a Kansas quarterback (Since 2014)
If Kansas continues its Cinderella run, Daniels could become the school’s first Heisman finalist since David Jaynes in 1973.