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Heisman Race 2022: List of Finalists for Coveted Trophy Announced

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVDecember 5, 2022

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 08:   Caleb Williams #13 of the USC Trojans at United Airlines Field at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on October 08, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

USC's Caleb Williams, Ohio State's C.J. Stroud, Georgia's Stetson Bennett and TCU's Max Duggan will be heading to New York City for the 2022 Heisman Trophy ceremony after being named finalists Monday.

By this point in the season, the consensus has typically coalesced around one player as the Heisman favorite. Perhaps the voting will ultimately be pretty one-sided, but this seems to be a somewhat open race, especially after a topsy-turvy final few weeks.

Stroud's candidacy might have suffered a fatal blow with Ohio State's 45-23 loss to Michigan, a game that saw him finish 31-of-48 for 349 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.

It's not often a player finishes significantly higher on the Heisman ballot—Stroud was fourth in 2021—after posting worse numbers than the year before.

In the same number of games, the Buckeyes star has 1,095 fewer passing yards (3,340), fewer touchdowns (37) and worse efficiency (66.2 percent completion rate and a 176.2 passer rating).

Williams became the front-runner with Stroud's campaign losing steam, only for USC to fall in the Pac-12 title game and miss out on a College Football Playoff berth.

The sophomore shouldn't shoulder much blame for the 47-24 defeat. He played through a hamstring injury and went 28-of-41 for 363 yards, three touchdowns and one interception, and he was a bystander as the Trojans defense allowed 533 yards to the Utah offense.

If anything, the outcome underscored Williams' value to the team and how much his performance helped compensate for a suspect defense. In 13 games, he threw for 4,075 yards, 37 touchdowns and four interceptions and ran for 372 yards and 10 scores.

Of the players still in the Heisman discussion, Bennett unquestionably had the best championship week. He threw for 274 yards and four touchdowns as Georgia dropped 50 points on LSU in the SEC title game.

It might have come far too late to change the minds of the voters, though. The Bulldogs quarterback didn't put up gaudy numbers (3,425 passing yards and 20 touchdowns) overall.

The same goes for Duggan.

The senior quarterback undoubtedly played a massive role in TCU finishing 12-1 and reaching the CFP semifinals, but it's tough to make a case for why he was the most outstanding player in FBS. Duggan posted 3,321 passing yards, 30 touchdowns and a 165.5 passer rating in the regular season.

The Heisman will be handed out Saturday at 8 p.m. ET.