Heisman Watch – Week 7

Heisman Watch - Week 7

Payne Williams, Senior Sports Reporter

CJ Stroud

CJ Stroud sits in the driver’s seat of both the nation’s most potent offense and the Heisman race halfway into the regular season. The junior leads the nation with 24 passing touchdowns and is doing so without Jaxon Smith-Njigba, one of the best receivers in the country. Stroud is coming off a Heisman-worthy performance with six touchdowns at Michigan State on only 26 pass attempts. The California product’s performance was enough to propel then-No. 3 Ohio State to No. 2 after its dominant win in East Lansing. The Buckeyes are still looking to get their first win over a ranked Big 10 opponent, which could come after their Week 7 bye.

Caleb Williams

Caleb Williams is playing a nearly perfect season as he takes No. 7 USC to its best record since 2017. The former Oklahoma quarterback is shining in his first season in the Pac-12, and along with Lincoln Riley, he has created one of the nation’s best quarterback-receiver duos with Pitt transfer and former Biletnikoff winner Jordan Addison. The only knock on Williams’ Heisman case is the lack of competition on USC’s schedule. However, with ranked opponents like UCLA and Utah still on the schedule, the Heisman-hopeful will have the opportunity to throw his name further into the national conversation.

Hendon Hooker

No. 6 Tennessee isn’t showing any signs of stopping and neither is senior quarterback Hendon Hooker. The former Virginia Tech transfer has yet to throw an interception on the season despite 140 attempts and has the third-best quarterback rating in the nation, just behind CJ Stroud and North Carolina’s Drake Maye. Hooker led the undefeated Volunteers to three wins over ranked opponents, including last week’s 40-13 rout of then-No. 25 LSU. Hooker and Tennessee are facing their biggest test of the season as host No. 3 Alabama, which has a Heisman contender of its own.

Bryce Young

Bryce Young could make history this season as college football’s second-ever player to win the Heisman twice. The junior missed Alabama’s narrow win over Texas A&M last week due to a shoulder injury, and his absence was evident. Alabama, led by backup quarterback Jalen Milroe, recorded just 27 points. The score marked the Crimson Tide’s lowest since Week 2’s matchup against Texas. Other than those two games, Young and Alabama have scored at least 49 points in each contest. It’s still unclear whether Young will play Saturday against Tennessee, but he’ll face a major Heisman test if he does. The Volunteers’ defense is holding opponents to under 18 points per game on average, but Young may have an opportunity to attack a recently underperforming Tennessee pass defense.