Top five Heisman candidates for the 2022 college football season

The 2022 college football season is upon us, and that means the top players in the country are set to be back in the national spotlight.

But who are the best of the best? FOX Sports college football writer RJ Young already has his list crafted, and on the most recent episode of the “No. 1 Ranked Show”, Young unveiled his top five Heisman Trophy candidates.

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

Young’s thoughts: “He had 4,400 yards passing last year, 44 passing touchdowns, just six interceptions. He’s got the tools, he’s got the weapons. We’ve got Jaxon Smith-Njigba catching passes from this dude for the past two years. We’ve got TreVeyon Henderson going into what I expect to be an even bigger year for him now that Evan Pryor is out for the year. That offensive line is long and mean. And you’ve got Julian Fleming. … He’s also joined by Emeka Egbuka, who was the No. 1 WR recruit in the Class of 2021, and Marvin Harrison Jr., whose daddy is a Hall of Famer and has apparently turned into David Boston in the offseason. Have you seen him with his shirt off? For Stroud to go win the Heisman Trophy, all they have to do is run the table.”

2. Bryce Young, QB, Alabama

Young’s thoughts: “I’ve gotta put Bryce Young on the list because everyone would have something to say if I didn’t. … I think the Heisman voters are a little petty in that if he throws for 5,600 yards, 60 TD and five INT — à la Joe Burrow — they’ll still try to give it to somebody else because they just don’t want to have the same guy winning it back-to-back. That said, he needs to really put away the bad games — the Auburns, the A&M’s. … And he’ll have to do that without the likes of Jameson Williams, John Metchie III, Slade Bolden. … You’ve got to throw the ball to some running backs this year. … It’s his trophy right now.”

3. Will Anderson, LB, Alabama 

Young’s thoughts: “[He’s] probably the best player in all of college football. Probably the guy that I’m going to be stomping on the table for. He’s a do-everything player for Alabama. The statistics are just gaudy: 34.5 tackles for loss, 17.5 sacks last year. That is ridiculous. You have entire FBS programs that will not get to 17 sacks in an entire year. We’re all talking about him being a first-round — maybe the No. 1 overall pick — because he is that dynamic.”

4. Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State

Young’s thoughts: “We’ve had two wide receivers win this award in 30 years. We’ve had a total of I think four, ever. I don’t think people gave DeVonta Smith that trophy because he was the best player on that team, I think they gave it to him because he was the healthiest best player on the team. This award is all over the map. No offensive lineman, safety or linebacker is going to win it. I would really like to be proven wrong about Smith-Njigba. That dude went for a stupid amount of yards last year. The idea that he was left off the finalist list for the Biletnikoff Award list is asinine.”

5. Dillon Gabriel, QB, Oklahoma

Young’s thoughts: “A lot of this has to do with his partnership with Jeff Lebby, and they’re going to try to get the band back together. … They were pretty good when they were both at Central Florida. Jeff Lebby took the offensive coordinator job at Ole Miss, and they moved the ball pretty well with Matt Corral, who I didn’t think was a great quarterback at all coming off of 2020. If Dillon Gabriel can avoid that kind of outing, he’s going to be outstanding, because the schedule sets up for him.”

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