The four finalists for the 2022 Heisman Trophy have been announced. The Heisman is an award that historically has been given to a quarterback. The 2022 finalists are all quarterbacks. Max Duggan from TCU, CJ Stroud from Ohio State, Stetson Bennett from Georgia, and Caleb Williams from USC.
If you do not follow college football, Duggan, Stroud, and Bennett are all leading teams in the CFP. It should surprise no one that these quarterbacks are up for the award when they have their team competing to win a national title. However, there is one candidate in this year’s finalists that will stand above the rest. Let’s discuss this, shall we?
From Backup To Starter To Heisman Finalist
The Heisman Trophy Trust states the winner should “exhibit the pursuit of excellence with integrity. Winners epitomize great ability combined with diligence, perseverance, and hard work.”
I understand that as meaning this player essentially stands above any other player both with their performance on and off the field. The player who fits this description is Max Duggan for TCU. Duggan led the Horned Frogs to an undefeated regular season and the #3 seed in the CFP for their first appearance in the CFP in program history.
Duggan was not even named the starter for Week One. However, when Duggan stepped in for Chandler Morris, he never looked back and took over for TCU. Fast forward to now, Duggan has thrown 3,321 yards and scored 36 touchdowns. Duggan is the leader and engine that drives this team week after week.
The Heisman should be given to someone that is the most valuable player to that program. Without Duggan, TCU is not 12-1 and in the CFP with a shot to play for a national title. A players value is important and Duggan is the most valuable player on that roster. When TCU needed a play, Duggan made it, and that kind of player is what describes the Heisman Trophy award. Taking TCU to the CFP for the first time in program history is far more impressive than the repeat appearances from Stetson Bennett and CJ Stroud as well as the no appearance from Caleb Williams.
Duggan Versus The Other Finalists
Caleb Williams–The biggest competition Duggan has for the Heisman will be Caleb Williams. Williams transferred to USC and immediately showed why he is one of the best QBs in the country. Williams finished the season with 4,075 passing yards, 37 touchdowns as well as 372 rushing yards. Williams led the Trojans to an 11-2 record and they will still be in a bowl game of some sorts.
The only thing going against Williams would be the fact that USC got destroyed in the conference title game by Utah. USC without Williams is far from a national title contender or even a Pac 12 contender. The case that Williams makes as the “most valuable player” is a strong one. I would say he has the best case to beat out Duggan.
CJ Stroud–The Ohio State superstar is back in the running for the Heisman and rightfully so. Stroud was in the running last season after an impressive debut for the Buckeyes. Stroud had another impressive season with 37 touchdowns on 3,340 passing yards. It also helps his case that he has the Buckeyes playing in the CFP.
With the amount of talent around him, Stroud has shown that he is their guy. Without Stroud, this offense lacks that two-way quarterback skillset he brings to their roster. Stroud might not carry the “wow factor” from his sophomore season but he is one of the best quarterbacks or even players in the country.
Stetson Bennett–The 25 year-old Georgia superstar has found himself in the Heisman running. I admit I did not see this selection happening but here we are. Bennett put together a stat line of 3,425 passing yards and 20 touchdowns as well as seven rushing touchdowns. He might not have the touchdown stats of the other candidates but he is valuable to the Bulldogs’ offense.
To come in as a walk on and become the starter is a tough task. However, Bennett has now led the Bulldogs to a national title, SEC title and a chance for another national title this season. He also has Georgia sitting at the #1 overall seed in the CFP for the first time in program history. Call it what you want, Stetson Bennett is a college football star, deal with it.
The way I see it, Max Duggan is everything the Heisman committee wants in a finalist. To take a team from zero CFP appearances to their first one ever is a huge accomplishment, not to mention they’re 12-1. Duggan might not have the touchdown or passing yards lead but he isn’t trailing by much. Hopefully Duggan has proven that his performances and resume this season are enough to take home the Heisman.