Well, after Sunday’s edition of our Heisman Watch, the four finalists were revealed last night. We came very close to being spot on. The only difference is C.J. Stroud has made it over Kenneth Walker III. The three other finalists then, of course, are quarterbacks Bryce Young of Alabama and Kenny Pickett of Pittsburgh, and defensive end Aidan Hutchinson of Michigan. Those four finalists will meet in New York on Saturday. That is when the final presentation will take place at the Downtown Athletic Club, where the winner will be announced. It will be a return to the normal routine after last year’s ceremony was virtual.
Young is the heavy favorite as of now after his terrific performance against Georgia in the SEC Championship. The Crimson Tide quarterback not only did that but he also led Alabama to a late comeback in the Iron Bowl. With that and his outstanding performances throughout the season, it will be hard for anyone to unseat him. Young broke the SEC Championship game record with 421 passing yards. For the majority of the season, there was no clear frontrunner in the race. There were a number of changes since the first week of the Heisman Watch. Texas running back Bijan Robinson was once heavily favored until he became irrelevant due to Texas proving to be not back.
BRYCE YOUNG IS UNSTOPPABLE.
326 YDs & 3 TDs in the first half 😤
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) December 4, 2021
Hutchinson does have a strong case, however. He looks to be the first Michigan player since Charles Woodson in 1997 to win the Heisman. That would also make him the first defensive player to win since then. There have been three Michigan players to win the Heisman, the other two being running back Tom Harmon in 1940 and receiver Desmond Howard in 1991. The Wolverines pass rusher finished the season with 15 tackles for loss, 13.5 sacks, and two forced fumbles in his 13 games. He also delivered three sacks in Michigan’s 42-27 defeat over Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship. The last defensive player to be a Heisman finalist was Ohio State defensive end Chase Young in 2019, who finished fourth. The last defensive lineman to finish in the top three was Pittsburgh’s Hugh Green, who finished second in 1980. Hutchinson has played very strong all season and has an argument at being the first overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Aidan Hutchinson is a beast. He sacked CJ Stroud to force an Ohio State fourth down
— Brad Galli (@BradGalli) November 27, 2021
The Sauceman Pickett returned to Pitt for a fifth season after the NCAA gave players an extra year of eligibility. He had a record-breaking season which has elevated his draft stock. The New Jersey native broke school records with 4,319 passing yards and 42 touchdowns and led the Panthers to their first ACC title. Pickett is the first Pitt player to be a finalist for the award since Larry Fitzgerald finished second in 2003. The only Pitt player to win the Heisman was running back Tony Dorsett in 1976.
Stroud is now the third Ohio State quarterback to be a Heisman finalist in four years. He joins Justin Fields in 2019 and Dwayne Haskins in 2018, who both finished third. Stroud actually has a slight edge over Young in some statistical categories, including average yards per game, yards per attempt, completion rate, and passer rating. Stroud completed 70.9 percent of his passes to Young’s 68 percent, had 351.1 yards per game to Young’s 332.5, and 182.2 passer rater to Young’s 175.4 passer rating.
Who will win the award? Find out next weekend as I provide you with exclusive coverage of the weekend events in New York.
Follow Alex Kielar on Twitter @AlexKielar
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