Way-Too-Early 2022 Heisman Trophy Predictions and Sleepers

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistJune 2, 2022

Way-Too-Early 2022 Heisman Trophy Predictions and Sleepers

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    Alabama quarterback Bryce Young will enter the 2022 season with a chance to become only the second two-time Heisman Trophy winner in college football history.

    But the competition looks strong.

    Two more top-five finishers—Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud and Alabama edge-rusher Will Anderson Jr.—from 2021 voting also return. USC quarterback Caleb Williams and Texas running back Bijan Robinson highlight the next group of early contenders.

    Alongside the current DraftKings odds, we've previewed the front-runners, highlighted a few sleepers and provided an early prediction for the 2022 Heisman Trophy race.

Early Heisman Trophy Odds

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    • C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State: +250
    • Bryce Young, QB, Alabama: +350
    • Caleb Williams, QB, USC: +900
    • Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas: +2000
    • DJ Uiagalelei, QB, Clemson: +2800
    • Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State: +3000
    • Dillon Gabriel, QB, Oklahoma: +3000
    • Tyler Van Dyke, QB, Miami: +3500
    • Jaxson Dart, QB, Ole Miss: +3500
    • Will Anderson Jr., Edge, Alabama: +4000
    • TreVeyon Henderson, RB, Ohio State: +4000
    • Spencer Rattler: QB, South Carolina: +4000
    • Kedon Slovis, QB, Pitt: +4000
    • Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida: +4000

    For a complete list of odds, see DraftKings.

Previewing the Favorites

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    C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State (+250)

    The early front-runner is Stroud, who threw for 4,435 yards and 44 touchdowns last season. He tossed just six interceptions in 441 attempts, guiding Ohio State to an 11-2 record and Rose Bowl victory. Although the Buckeyes lost key receivers Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson, Stroud's top targetJaxson Smith-Njigbais back. Marvin Harrison Jr. is a likely breakout player as well.


    Bryce Young, QB, Alabama (+350)

    Young's race for another Heisman will include a new cast of teammates. Wide receivers Jameson Williams, John Metchie III and Slade Bolden headed to the NFL, and running back Brian Robinson Jr. did the same. Young, nevertheless, will have Georgia Tech transfer Jahmyr Gibbs in the backfield with Georgia transfer receiver Jermaine Burton, sophomore wideout Ja'Corey Brooks and tight end Cameron Latu leading the pass-catching group.


    Caleb Williams, QB, USC (+900)

    Williams won't have a shortage of targets in his USC debut. After leaving Oklahoma to rejoin head coach Lincoln Riley, Williams' main target will be Pitt transfer Jordan Addisonthe Biletnikoff Award winner as the nation's best receiver in 2021. USC also brings back Tahj Washington and Gary Bryant Jr., who combined for 98 catches for 1,181 yards and eight touchdowns last season. Oklahoma transfer Mario Williams should be a valuable contributor too.


    Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas (+2000)

    For about half the 2021 campaign, Robinson had Heisman-caliber numbers. But as losses piled up for Texas, he slipped out of contention. The versatile back still collected 1,422 yards from scrimmage and 15 touchdowns. If the Longhorns improve as expected, Robinson should be a foundational part of their success.

Early Candidates Most Likely to Fall

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    DJ Uiagalelei, QB, Clemson (+2800)

    As a true freshman, Uiagalelei played excellently in two surprise starts. Those performances set the stage for an expected breakout in 2021. However, his first season as the full-time quarterback didn't go well. Uiagalelei mustered just 6.0 yards per attempt, throwing nine touchdowns and 10 interceptions. It's fair to expect a stronger year, but Uiagalelei ascending from that disappointing season to a legitimate Heisman contender would be remarkable.


    Kedon Slovis, QB, Pitt (+4000)

    There's no question Slovis would be worthy of consideration if Pitt still had Addison. Though the receiving corps remains talentedsenior wideout Jared Wayne and Akron transfer Konata Mumpfield give the Panthers a solid one-two punchtop-10 Heisman odds for Slovis seems ambitious, even as Pitt returns the entire offensive line from last season's ACC championship team.


    Bo Nix, QB, Oregon (+5000)

    The bright side is Nix's best college seasonin 2019 at Auburnhappened with Kenny Dillingham as the offensive coordinator, and they've reunited at Oregon. The main obstacle is the Ducks have a talent-filled yet unproven group of receivers around Nix. Whether it's Kris Hutson, Troy Franklin, Dont'e Thornton or someone else, Oregon needs a true No. 1 target to emerge. Nix should be an upgrade, but Heisman-caliber production is a huge leap.

Sleeper Candidates

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    Braelon Allen, RB, Wisconsin (+6000)

    Wisconsin has excellent depth in the backfield with Allen, Chez Mellusi and Isaac Guerendo. The latter two, though, are recovering from knee and ankle injuries, respectively. While they should both be healthy relatively early in the 2022 season, rehabs can be unpredictable. But we know Wisconsin will lean on the running game anyway. Allen rushed for 1,268 yards and 12 touchdowns as a freshman despite handling only 12 carries in Wisconsin's first four games of the season.


    Hendon Hooker, QB, Tennessee (+6000)

    Team performance has a considerable influence on Heisman votes. That removed Hooker from consideration in 2021Tennessee managed a 7-5 pre-bowl recordand might drag him down in 2022. But it would be foolish to overlook a power-conference QB who racked up 3,558 total yards, accounted for 36 touchdowns and tossed only three interceptions last season.


    Cam Rising, QB, Utah (+10000)

    Value is the important part, right? There are worse options than an established QB on a key Power Five conference contender. If the Utes aren't the Pac-12 favorite, they're close. Rising didn't hold a major role until the third game of 2021 yet accumulated 2,992 yards of offense and totaled 26 scores. Utah could use a star target but returns five of its six most productive pass-catchers. It's not a dissimilar outlook to that of Nix at Oregon, but Rising's odds are far more profitable.

Early Heisman Trophy Prediction

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    The award's lone two-time winner is Ohio State running back Archie Griffin (1974-75). Perhaps it'd only be fitting if an OSU player stopped Young from joining the exclusive club.

    Stroud lands our earliest projection to hoist the Heisman.

    Although the Buckeyes need to replace Olave and Wilson, their receiving room is stacked with talent. The unquestioned star is Smith-Njigba, who posted top-10 national rankings in both catches (95) and yards (1,606) last season.

    When the NFL-bound duo decided to skip the Rose Bowl, Harrison pulled in six passes for 71 yards and three touchdowns. Emeka Egbuka—a 5-star in the 2021 cycle—is the early favorite to join the starting lineup, and TreVeyon Henderson (27 receptions) is a versatile player out of the backfield too.

    Ohio State, Notre Dame and Oklahoma lead the nation with seven all-time Heisman winners. Stroud has a terrific opportunity to put the Buckeyes ahead on the list.

    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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