The Case For C.J. Stroud To Win The 2022 Heisman
Ohio State may not be the favorite to win the National Championship next January, but the Buckeyes can take solace in their star quarterback being the early favorite to capture the Heisman Trophy.
C.J. Stroud is back for a second and likely final season as Ohio State’s signal-caller. The 20-year-old is in a prime position to build off of last year’s great numbers and earn some coveted hardware before becoming an early first-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Much of the focus on Stroud will be on his pro-readiness. Instead, let’s assess his chances of becoming the first Buckeye since Troy Smith in 2006 to capture the Heisman Trophy.
Stroud Opens Season as Heisman Betting Favorite
As a redshirt freshman, Stroud showed few signs of struggle in leading the Buckeyes. Now a redshirt sophomore, his experience will only benefit him in his quest for the Heisman.
Stroud is currently +175 to win college football’s most prestigious award. The only players remotely close are Bryce Young, the Alabama QB who won the Heisman in 2021, and Caleb Williams, the USC transfer who previously played for the Oklahoma Sooners.
Young and Williams are +350 and +700, respectively, while Alabama running back Jahmyr Gibbs is +1000.
Keep up with our Heisman betting odds right here on betJACK Training Camp.
Ohio State’s Weapons Will Benefit Stroud
Last season, Stroud had the benefit of throwing to Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave, both of whom went back-to-back in the first round of April’s draft. But even without Wilson and Olave, the wide receiver room in Columbus is loaded with NFL-caliber talent.
Stroud’s top weapon is Jaxon Smith-Njigba, a junior who’s projected to go in the first round next year. Ohio State also features Marvin Harrison Jr. and Julian Fleming at wideout, giving the Big Ten powerhouse a dominant trio of pass-catchers.
Redshirt freshman TreVeyon Henderson has also shown his chops catching passes out of the backfield, giving Stroud yet another option to enhance his numbers.
Stroud’s Numbers Will Only Improve
Under Ryan Day, Ohio State has churned out first-round QBs on a regular basis. Dwayne Haskins and Justin Fields are two examples of signal-callers who put up big campaigns in Columbus before heading to the pros.
Stroud’s first year as a starter saw 4,435 passing yards to go with 44 touchdowns and six interceptions in 12 games. For context, the Heisman-winning Young had 4,872 yards and 47 touchdowns, although he had more interceptions and a worse completion percentage.
In Ohio State’s pass-happy offense, the 20-year-old Stroud has a chance to be even better than Haskins and Fields as he makes his case for the Heisman.
Less QB Competition
Just like the NFL MVP, quarterbacks have a greater chance to win the Heisman than any other position. And unless someone makes a Joe Burrow-esque climb this year, there are a select few QBs with a realistic shot at winning the award.
As mentioned earlier, Young and Williams have a decent shot. However, Young will really have to blow away the field in order to earn votes for a second straight Heisman, while Williams may face some sort of adjustment after leaving the defensively-challenged Big 12 Conference.
Elsewhere, other QBs getting some sort of preseason Heisman love include Miami’s Tyler Van Dyke, Clemson’s DJ Uiagalelei, Texas’ Quinn Ewers, and Ole Miss’ Jaxson Dart. However, Stroud is head and shoulders above each of them.
There is admittedly some truth to the idea that the preseason Heisman favorite has a tough time living up to the high expectations. But if there’s any year to back the favorite, it’s this one.
As a teenager, Stroud put up a fantastic season in Columbus and finished fourth in Heisman voting. With more experience under his belt, along with a great receiving core, pass-friendly staff, and fewer QBs in his way, the Buckeye signal-caller is worth betting on.
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