Tuesday, January 25

Heisman Trophy Watch for Week 10 – Odds Updated, Top Candidates to Win 2021 Prize

Michigan state running back Kenneth Walker III made his statement about the Heisman Trophy on Saturday.

The nation’s leading running back propelled the Spartans to a 37-33 upset against Michigan at Spartan Stadium on Saturday with a remarkable performance.

Walker finished with 23 carries for 197 yards and five touchdowns. He scored on runs of 58 and 23 yards in a wild fourth quarter that will never be forgotten in East Lansing, Michigan.

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He made his season totals of up to 1,194 yards and 14 TDs, and two-thirds of the way on the season. Syracuse’s Sean Tucker has more yards with 1,267 along with 11 TDs, but Walker is in a college football playoff contender. That is the difference.

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“Kenny Walker, I don’t know what else to say.” Michigan State coach Mel Tucker later said . “This is a great stage, everyone is watching. You get to see what kind of player he is and obviously whatever recognition he’s getting, consideration from Heisman, it’s well deserved.”

At the Big Ten, a conference that spawned crushing-mouth football and “ten feet and a cloud of dust,” which used to be the easiest path to the Heisman Trophy. Ohio State’s Archie Griffin remains the only two-time winner, and Wisconsin’s Ron Dayne (1999) is the last conference running back to win the award. Since 2000, seven runners from the Big Ten have finished in the top five in the Heisman vote. Here is a closer look:

2002 Larry johnson Penn State 2,087 yards, 20 TD Third
2003 Chris perry Michigan 1,674 yards, 18 TD Room
2006 Mike hart Michigan 1,562 yards, 14 TD Fifth
2011 Montee Ball Wisconsin 1,923 yards, 33 TD Room
2014 Melvin gordon Wisconsin 2,587 yards, 29 TD 2nd
2017. Saquon barkley Penn State 1,271 yards, 18 TD Room
2019 Jonathan Taylor Wisconsin 2,003 yards, 21 TD Fifth

Melvin Gordon of Wisconsin had the best finish and is one of only three 2,000-yard runners among those seven running backs. Walker is on track for 1,791 yards and 21 touchdowns in a 12-game season, and there is the possibility of another Heisman moment against Ohio State on November 20. Ohio State has a Heisman hope in first-year running back TreVeyon Henderson, but he’s part of an offensive machine. Walker is the best player on his team and he proved it against the Wolverines.

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“Overall, I don’t feel like it’s a Heisman moment,” Walker said in his subsequent press conference, “but I feel like it was a great team win.”

Walker proved Saturday that he can lead his team to victory. If he can lead a Big Ten championship win, then he could come close.

The rest of Heisman’s field heading into November consists of, you guessed it, quarterbacks.

Six Heisman Trophy Candidates to Watch

Bryce Young, QB, Alabama

Young remains a logical candidate with an easy path ahead of him. He has the numbers with 2,453 passing yards and 26 TDs with three interceptions. He can lead Alabama to the SEC championship game if he remains undefeated in November. That would lead to the biggest possible stage in the SEC championship game against Georgia’s top-ranked defense. He also has the head-to-head victory against Corral and Ole Miss.

Matt Corral, quarterback, Ole Miss

Heisman de Corral’s hopes took a hit after the Rebels suffered a 31-20 loss at Auburn. Corral was briefly off with an ankle injury, completing 21 of 37 passes for 289 yards with an interception while adding 45 yards and a rushing touchdown. Totals are still impressive at 2,202 passing yards, 519 rushing yards and 25 total TDs, but some of that gloss has faded due to losses.

CJ Stroud, QB, Ohio State

Stroud threw for 305 yards in a 33-24 win against Penn State, and remains on track to be the third consecutive Ohio State quarterback to be a finalist. Since missing Akron’s game with a shoulder injury, Stroud has averaged 298.4 passing yards with 15 TDs and one interception. The Buckeyes still have high-profile games against Michigan State and Michigan as well.

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Caleb Williams, quarterback, Oklahoma

In Oklahoma’s last four games, Williams averaged 292.8 passing yards with 14 TDs and one interception, and he has 227 rushing yards and three rushing TDs. He may not have the full season numbers, but if the Sooners win the Big 12 championship, the discussion will follow.

Sam Hartman, quarterback, Wake Forest

Hartman is this week’s seniors’ feel-good story. He passed for 402 yards and three touchdowns in a 45-7 blowout against Duke. He has 860 passing yards and eight touchdowns in the past two weeks. He has 2,475 yards, 23 TDs and three interceptions, and the Demon Deacons remain undefeated in the ACC. If Wake Forest can bring Clemson to a 10-0 record in a few weeks, then that would provide an opportunity to make a statement.

Kenny Pickett, quarterback, Pitt

Pickett’s is a statistic candidate for the ACC, but his chances were one hit in a 38-34 loss to Miami in Week 9. Pickett racked up a whopping 519 passing yards with three TDs and two interceptions in the loss that left Pittsburgh down. 7 -2. Pickett averages 344.4 passing yards per game with 28 TDs and three interceptions. The senior will have to keep those big numbers coming in to have a chance.

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Heisman’s current probabilities

Here are the current Heisman odds based on FanDuel.com

Player Odd
Bryce Young (QB, Alabama) +150
CJ Stroud (QB, Ohio State) +350
Matt Corral (QB, Ole Miss) +600
Kenneth Walker III (RB, Michigan State) +600
Caleb Williams (QB, Oklahoma) +850

When is the Heisman trophy ceremony?

The Heisman will be awarded on December 11, one week after the conferences hold their conference championship games. Last year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ceremony took place virtually and not until January 5. This year, the ceremony returns to its normal date in mid-December.


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