B/R's 2022 Heisman Trophy Rankings: Early Tiers for Week 2
One week into the 2022 Heisman Trophy race, oddsmakers have already flipped the favorite.
C.J. Stroud entered the campaign as the front-runner, but a familiar name is back up top following the Ohio State quarterback's low-number debut. Alabama quarterback Bryce Young, the reigning winner, is once again the betting favorite at DraftKings.
However, it's way, way too early in the campaign to merely focus on a small group of players.
Instead, the second round of B/R's weekly Heisman rankings will continue separating the contenders based on four preseason tiers, with an introduction of a fifth for notable Week 1 standouts. This organization is only sensible when the sample size is so small and the competition level is often relatively low.
Think someone is missing or should be listed with a different group? We have good news: It's only Week 2! Tier changes and real-time rankings are on the horizon.
Tier 5: New Long shots
Although this quintet didn't make our preseason cut, each assembled a noteworthy performance in Week 1.
Jared Verse, Edge, Florida State: How's that for a debut? The transfer from Albany registered seven tackles with four stops for loss (three sacks) and a blocked field goal in FSU's thrilling one-point win over LSU.
Kenny McIntosh, RB, Georgia: As the Dawgs destroyed Oregon 49-3, McIntosh showed off his versatility. He only rushed five times for 18 yards and a touchdown but picked up 117 yards on nine receptions.
Drake Maye, QB, North Carolina: The brother of UNC basketball legend Luke, Drake is off a terrific start. In two victories, he's completed 53 of 73 passes for 646 yards and nine touchdowns with zero interceptions and rushed for 131 yards and a score.
Spencer Sanders, QB, Oklahoma State: Familiar name who narrowly missed the cut in Week 1 anyway. Sanders exploded for 463 total yards and accounted for six touchdowns in OSU's 58-44 victory over Central Michigan.
Sean Tucker, RB, Syracuse: A returning AP All-American, Tucker isn't sneaking onto the radar. Low expectations for Syracuse kept him in the background. However, the Orange began the season with a nice win over Louisville, as Tucker collected 183 yards from scrimmage and two scores.
Tier 4: Top-Performing Long Shots
In the preseason edition, we highlighted 17 long shots to monitor in the early moments of the season. These are the four players who enjoyed the strongest performances in Week 1.
KJ Jefferson, QB, Arkansas: The mobile Jefferson guided the Razorbacks past Cincinnati with a diverse day. Along with an 18-of-26 line for 223 yards with three touchdowns and zero interceptions, he rushed for 56 yards and a score.
Stetson Bennett, QB, Georgia: Uh, wow. Bennett laughed away those "game manager" labels with a brilliant performance in UGA's rout of Oregon. The senior completed 25-of-31 throws for 368 yards and two scores, adding a rushing touchdown. Another game like that, and he won't be a long shot much longer.
Deuce Vaughn, RB, Kansas State: As the Wildcats rolled over South Dakota, Vaughn had a respectable day. He gained 126 yards on 18 carries and scored a touchdown.
Sean Clifford, QB, Penn State: He wasn't perfect, but Clifford propelled the Nittany Lions to a solid road win at Purdue. The sixth-year veteran went 20-of-37 for 282 yards with four touchdowns—including a last-minute winning ball to Keyvone Lee—and rushed for a fifth score.
Tier 3: Best of the Chasers
Historically, players on teams with three-plus losses rarely—though not never—win the Heisman. These programs entered the year with 3.5 implied losses or more based on DraftKings win totals. Of the 13 preseason players, here are the best five showings.
Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida: Richardson dazzled in UF's upset of seventh-ranked Utah. While hitting 17 of 24 passes for 168 yards (and a key-two point conversion), he scampered for 106 yards and three touchdowns with the winning score late in the fourth quarter.
Tyler Van Dyke, QB, Miami: You don't win a Heisman for a blowout of Bethune-Cookman, but TVD completed 13 of his 16 throws for 193 yards—12.1 yards per attempt—with two touchdowns and zero interceptions.
Will Rogers, QB, Mississippi State: The third-year starter began the season on a sizzling note. Rogers went 38-of-49 for 450 yards with five touchdowns and an interception in the 49-23 triumph over Memphis.
Hendon Hooker, QB, Tennessee: Hooker picked up where he left off in 2021. As the Vols cruised past Ball State, the dual-threat QB accounted for 233 yards from scrimmage and four touchdowns.
Braelon Allen, RB, Wisconsin: Similar to Van Dyke, the competition level was minimal. Allen nevertheless ripped off a 96-yard touchdown run en route to a 148-yard, two-score evening against Illinois State.
Tier 2: Stock Up, Steady or Down
The following seven players are key contributors on expected top contenders. This is an overview of their Week 1 outings.
Three high-profile transfers made a good impact in their program debuts against low competition. Oklahoma quarterback Dillon Gabriel accounted for 253 yards from scrimmage and three touchdowns, while Alabama running back Jahmyr Gibbs tallied 98 yards on 10 touches. USC wideout Jordan Addison reeled in five passes for 54 yards and two touchdowns.
Ohio State running back TreVeyon Henderson picked up 91 yards on 15 carries in the victory over Notre Dame. Utah lost by three points at Florida, and Cameron Rising's late interception sealed the defeat. Still, he produced 307 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown in a noisy road environment. Disappointing, for sure, but certainly not terrible.
Don't confuse this as panic. Again, it's been one week! However, a leg injury limited Ohio State receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba to a pair of catches for three yards against ND. Georgia defensive lineman Jalen Carter notched one tackle against Oregon.
Tier 1: The Favorites
Will Anderson Jr., Edge, Alabama: The superstar defender collected five tackles (one tackle for loss) and a hurry, according to cfbstats.com, in Alabama's 55-0 dismissal of Utah State. Perfectly fine opening game for Anderson.
C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State: Although the Buckeyes had a rougher offensive day than anticipated, Notre Dame's defense played well—and Smith-Njigba hardly did at all. Stroud survived his top receiver's absence, completing 24 of 34 throws for 223 yards and two touchdowns.
Caleb Williams, QB, USC: Williams kept the hype train moving in his USC debut against Rice. The transfer from Oklahoma finished 19-of-22 for 249 yards with two scores and zero interceptions and rushed for 68 yards.
Bryce Young, QB, Alabama: Utah State couldn't find an answer to contain Young. While completing 18 of 28 passes for 195 yards and five touchdowns, he rushed for 100 yards—the first triple-digit output of his college career—and another score.