Rocky Higine/ The Daily Texan
Editor’s Note: This article first appeared as part of the November 5 Double Coverage flipbook.
As the college football season progresses to Week 10, fans have realized anything can happen within Heisman discussions and rankings. Although quarterbacks continue to be the focal point, some running backs have begun to shake up the Heisman contention race. Players such as Kenny Pickett and Matt Corral experienced critical losses in Week 9 that could have potentially dropped their position in the running. Yet, aside from Pickett’s and Corral’s possible departures from the Heisman race, four players continue to stand out.
Kenneth Walker III — Running back
Kenneth Walker III is the sole reason that the Paul Bunyan Trophy stayed in East Lansing last weekend. Coming off his best game of the season, Walker has progressed immensely in the Heisman conversation. Against No. 6 Michigan in Week 9, Walker was able to lead the Spartans to a 37-33 comeback win with five rushing touchdowns and 197 yards. Michigan State remains undefeated this season at 8–0 and handed rival Michigan its first loss of the season. In 23 attempts, Walker averaged 8.6 yards per carry with his longest being a 58-yard touchdown that tied the game for the Spartans. Walker’s speed and ability to break tackles has been the key to the junior’s success, and his talent was put on display Saturday. Michigan State finds competition against Purdue on Saturday, which defeated then-No. 2 Iowa 24-7 earlier in the season.
C.J. Stroud — Quarterback
Although redshirt freshman C.J. Stroud was only able to record one touchdown on the stat line against No. 20 Penn State last week, his talented passing was on display totaling 305 yards of offense. With a 64.7% completion rate on 34 attempts, Stroud led the Buckeyes to a decisive 33-24 win in a ranked matchup. No. 5 Ohio State will travel to Lincoln, Nebraska, on Saturday to take on the Cornhuskers where Stroud will look to produce a Heisman-worthy performance once again.
Bryce Young — Quarterback
Coming off a bye week, Alabama quarterback Bryce Young still continues to be the frontrunner in the Heisman debate. With a conference matchup against LSU on the horizon come Saturday, Young will look to continue producing solid, steadfast performances in SEC play. When looking at conference play this season, Young has a 67.2% completion rate with 1,569 passing yards and 16 total touchdowns. The Tigers have struggled this season against the passing attack, and a matchup against Alabama certainly doesn’t work in their favor. If Young is able to deliver and have an acceptable game Saturday in Tuscaloosa, he’ll surely remain the Heisman favorite.
Caleb Williams — Quarterback
After being awarded the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week, there’s no doubt as to why true freshman Caleb Williams continues to be in discussions surrounding the Heisman. The Week 9 stars aligned for No. 4 Oklahoma against Texas Tech, as the Sooners comfortably beat the Red Raiders 52-21. Williams passed for six touchdowns and just over 400 yards. His longest touchdown of the day was a 67-yard out route to sophomore Marvin Mims — and was also his longest of the season. Continuing Oklahoma’s undefeated season, the Washington, DC, product has 1,189 total yards, 14 touchdowns and only one interception. With Oklahoma scheduled for a bye week in Week 10, the Sooners look to Week 11’s crucial matchup with No. 14 Baylor which mounted a comeback win against Texas last week.