Ranking the Heisman Favorites Heading into Week 7

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistOctober 12, 2021

Ranking the Heisman Favorites Heading into Week 7

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    Rogelio V. Solis/Associated Press

    Right as Bryce Young created a bit of separation in the 2021 Heisman Trophy race, the slight gap promptly closed. The award may be several weeks from having a clear front-runner again.

    And that is a fantastic thing for college football.

    Young and fellow SEC quarterback Matt Corral remain the favorites, but several players aren't terribly far behind. Cincinnati QB Desmond Ridder, Michigan State running back Kenneth Walker III and Ohio State QB C.J. Stroud lead the chasing group, which has officially lost Oklahoma QB Spencer Rattler.

    Additionally, a new face has joined the Heisman race in advance of his team's first true showdown this season.

    B/R's Heisman Trophy update is released every Tuesday. The order focuses on the current favorites for the award and ranks those players as if votes were due today.

On the Radar

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    Mike Stewart/Associated Press

    TreVeyon Henderson, RB, Ohio State

    The unspecified injury that limited TreVeyon Henderson last weekend certainly didn't hold him back against Maryland. Henderson rushed for 102 yards and two touchdowns, adding four catches for 67 yards and a score. The freshman has collected 766 scrimmage yards and 11 touchdowns this season.


    Kenny Pickett, QB, Pitt

    Pitt has played a soft schedule and lost to Western Michigan. From a team perspective, Kenny Pickett holds a thin margin for error. But through five games, the super-senior has totaled 1,873 yards and accounted for 21 touchdowns with one interception. That production deserves a nod as Pitt enters a three-week stretch of Virginia Tech, Clemson and Miami. Navigate that, and he's in the race.


    Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas

    Had the Longhorns edged Oklahoma, Bijan Robinson would've merited his own spot in the rankings. Instead, he rushed for 137 yards and a touchdown in a heart-breaking loss that dropped Texas to 4-2. At the halfway mark of the regular season, Robinson has piled up 958 yards from scrimmage and 10 touchdowns.

5. C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State

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    Jay LaPrete/Associated Press

    That unexpected week off has reinvigorated C.J. Stroud.

    Since resting a shoulder injury against Akron on Sept. 25, the redshirt freshman has put together two stellar games. Stroud threw for 330 yards and five touchdowns at Rutgers last Saturday and followed that performance with 406 yards and five scores in a blowout win over Maryland this weekend.

    Rutgers and Maryland are not exactly the peak of Big Ten competition, sure. Tossing 10 touchdowns in a two-game window is never not impressive, though.

    Thanks to those two massive days, Stroud is up to 1,699 passing yards and 18 scores with three interceptions. His next chance to pad those numbers is next Saturday; Ohio State is idle in Week 7 before traveling to Indiana on Oct. 23.

4. Kenneth Walker III, RB, Michigan State

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    Adam Hunger/Associated Press

    Kenneth Walker III is the midseason surprise in college football.

    While he made a nice impact at Wake Forest, nobody is pretending 1,558 yards and 17 touchdowns is an incredible two-season sample. Do that in one season, however, and it's a different storyand that narrative may be reality in 2021.

    Michigan State is 6-0 behind a breakout year from Walker, who remains the nation's leading rusher after putting 233 yards on Rutgers. The primary highlight was a 94-yard touchdown run in which he set an MSU record for the longest play from scrimmage.

    Walker has amassed 913 rushing yards122 more than anyone elseand has totaled 10 scores so far.

    This weekend, the Spartans head to Indiana. They'll have an idle Saturday in Week 8 prior to the season-ending gauntlet.

3. Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati

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    Aaron Doster/Associated Press

    Desmond Ridder is lurking.

    As top-ranked teams fall and once-prime contenders exit the Heisman conversation, Cincinnati's quarterback is positioned well to capitalize on further attrition.

    Granted, his numbers aren't overwhelming. Ridder has passed for 1,304 yards and 13 touchdowns with two interceptions, rushing for 104 yards and three scores. Yet that production is very good, and the Bearcats have risen to No. 3 in the AP Top 25.

    Cincinnati staying undefeated is essential to his candidacy, but the strength of his resume is building.

2. Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss

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    Rogelio V. Solis/Associated Press

    While most eyeballs were glued to Oklahoma's comeback win over Texasfor good reason!anyone with a second screen probably had Ole Miss and Arkansas pulled up, too.

    I mean, this matchup was spectacularly entertaining.

    Trailing 52-45, Arkansas scored a touchdown as time expired. But the Razorbacks' two-point conversion failed, giving Ole Miss a chaotic 52-51 victoryand keeping Corral's 68-yard touchdown with 1:07 remaining as the game-winning score.

    Corral finished the day with 381 total yards, passing for 287 and running for 94. He threw and rushed for two touchdowns apiece.

    For the season, Corral has posted 1,752 yards of offense and accounted for 20 touchdowns with a single turnover. He'll lead the 13th-ranked Rebels into Tennessee this weekend.

1. Bryce Young, QB, Alabama

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    Sam Craft/Associated Press

    Last week, Corral stayed put at No. 2 despite the loss to Alabama. Bryce Young gets a similar treatment this week, but the separation between Corral and Young is negligible again.

    During the loss to Texas A&M, Young completed 28-of-48 passes for 369 yards, three scores and one interception. It was an adequate showing from the first-year starter.

    Now, the negative result has to be measured carefully. Young engineered a 14-point second-half comeback, capping it with a go-ahead touchdown late in the fourth quarter. But then, after Alabama's defense gave up a game-tying score, the Tide went three-and-out before A&M's winning field goal.

    Had he performed poorly, the second-year QB would deserve to drop behind Corral. That simply wasn't the case for Young, who has thrown for 1,734 yards and 20 touchdowns this season.

    Young's bounce-back opportunity comes this weekend on the road at Mississippi State.


    All recruiting information via 247Sports. Stats from NCAA.com, cfbstats.com or B/R research. Follow Bleacher Report CFB Writer David Kenyon on Twitter @Kenyon19_BR.


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