Heisman Watch and National Players of the Week – Week 14 (Conference Championship Weekend)
The Finish Line
This is crazy! My top six going into the final week of the regular season my top five were Caleb Williams of USC, C.J. Stroud of Ohio State, Blake Corum of Michigan, Max Duggan of TCU, Bo Nix of Oregon, and Drake Maye of North Carolina. Stroud and Nix played themselves out of Conference Championship Weekend and Corum had to have season-ending knee surgery. That left Williams, Duggan, and Maye all of who lost this past weekend when the Heisman was there for the taking.
So where does that leave us? With no clear front-runner I think the votes will be split regionally. The West will go with Caleb Williams. The Southwest with Max Duggan. The East with Drake Maye. The Midwest with C.J. Stroud with a possible split with Blake Corum. There was a different deciding factor for me. It was answering the question of who did the best with the most on the line. For me that was…
1) Max Duggan, TCU, Quarterback, Junior.
The Heisman front-runners faltered down the stretch, but Max Duggan played the best when it mattered the most, even if it didn’t result in victory. If TCU lets Duggan keep the ball on 3rd and 4th down at the one-yard line they may still be unbeaten and this Duggan’s trophy emphatically. Still, he got them there leading them back in another nail-biting game. On the year Duggan is 239 of 368 for 3,321 yards and 30 touchdowns passing with 112 carries for 404 yards and six touchdowns rushing.
Another thing Duggan has in his favor that Stroud and Williams do not is that he beat his nemesis. The Horned Frogs split their two games with the Kansas State Wildcats while Stroud lost to Michigan for the second straight year and Williams lost to Utah twice this season. Duggan was consistently good all year and had his team in every fight right down to the wire. No other player can say that and have 12 wins to go with it.
2) C.J. Stroud, Ohio State, Quarterback, Junior.
Ohio State’s loss to Michigan couldn’t be laid at the arm of C.J. Stroud. (Part of it could be laid at his coaches not having him run when there was nothing but green in front of him but that’s a whole nother article). Stroud was 235 of 355 for 3,340 yards and 37 touchdown passes. In their 11 wins the Buckeyes won all of their games by double digit points in no small part because of Stroud. If they want to have any hope against Georgia, Michigan, or TCU, Stroud will need to show up in a big way.
3) Caleb Williams, USC, Quarterback, Sophomore.
Williams only fell here because he was beaten by the same team twice. That was the difference between him and Stroud for me. Utah did a better job the second time around of slowing down Williams. He still had a good game and gave an absolute warrior’s effort with a busted finger and a visible limp. Williams was 296 of 448 for 4,075 yards and 37 touchdowns passing and had 109 carries for 372 yards and 10 touchdowns rushing on the season. He will be the favorite to win the Heisman in 2023 and rightfully so.
4) Drake Maye, North Carolina, Quarterback, Freshman.
The freshman phenom came out of nowhere Maye was 324 of 482 for 4,115 yards and 35 passing touchdowns with 172 carries for 653 yards and seven touchdowns rushing. Maye too had a chance to seize the trophy on Championship Saturday and didn’t. Still, no freshman in America played a better season in 2022 than Drake Maye.
5) Blake Corum, Michigan, Running Back, Junior.
Corum’s injury against Illinois was worse than expected as it was announced Thursday that he was having season ending surgery to treat his injured knee. Still, Corum had a great season with 247 carries for 1,463 yards and 19 total touchdowns. Michigan wouldn’t be where they are without him. If he doesn’t get hurt against Illinois, he wins this Heisman easily.
National Players of the Week
National Player of the Week:
Frank Harris, UTSA, Quarterback, Senior.
Frank Harris may be the best player in college football you’ve never heard of. In the Roadrunners victory over North Texas for the Conference USA Championship Harris was 32 of 37 for 341 yards and four touchdowns passing with 16 carries for 49 yards and a touchdown rushing. On the season he 305 of 429 for 3,865 yards and 31 touchdowns in the air and 120 carries for 588 yards and nine touchdowns on the ground. Harris now has UTSA poised for a possible 12th win against Troy in the Cure Bowl.
National Offensive Player of the Week:
Stetson Bennett, Georgia, Quarterback, Senior.
.@StetsonIv ➡️ @_Dwfootball11 🥶
📺: Watch live on CBS#GoDawgs | #SECChampionship
— Georgia Football (@GeorgiaFootball) December 3, 2022
If only this guy had had three or four more games like this one he would be ahead of Max Duggan in my Heisman vote. Bennett is likely the best signal caller in America this year and is playing great at crunch time like last year. The problem is there were games where he was not good at all and had four games without a touchdown pass. Still, he’s looking good when it matters the most; when championships are on the line. Bennett was 23 of 29 for 274 yards and four touchdowns in Georgia’s big win over LSU for the SEC crown.
National Defensive Player of the Week:
The Utah Utes Pass Rush.
They sacked Caleb Williams seven times. That’s how you keep a man from winning the Heisman against you. Five different guys sacked him, led by Gabe Reid and Mohamoud Diabate. If Williams himself wasn’t regretting painting “F**k Utah” on his fingernails after the game his offensive linemen certainly were.
National Special Teams’ Player of the Week:
Mitchell Fineran, Purdue, Kicker, Senior.
Purdue may have lost to Michigan (like every team that’s played them so far) but it wasn’t because of the kicking game. Mitchell Fineran was 5 of 5 with his field goals. As Ohio State fans would tell you, you can not settle for three-pointers against Michigan on the Gridiron.
Thanks for reading! Give me a follow on Twitter and Facebook!
Check out every week of the Heisman Watch so far this season!
0. Heisman Watch and National Players of the Week – Week 0
1. Heisman Watch and National Players of the Week – Week 1
2. Heisman Watch and National Players of the Week – Week 2
3. Heisman Watch and National Players of the Week – Week 3
4. Heisman Watch and National Players of the Week – Week 4
5. Heisman Watch and National Players of the Week – Week 5
6. Heisman Watch and National Players of the Week – Week 6
7. Heisman Watch and National Players of the Week – Week 7
8. Heisman Watch and National Players of the Week – Week 8
9. Heisman Watch and National Players of the Week – Week 9
10. Heisman Watch and National Players of the Week – Week 10
11. Heisman Watch and National Players of the Week – Week 11
12. Heisman Watch and National Players of the Week – Week 12
13. Heisman Watch and National Players of the Week – Week 13
For More Great Football Content
Follow us on Twitter at @GridironHeroics for more great content. We appreciate you taking time to read our articles. To interact more with our community and keep up to date on the latest in Football news, JOIN OUR FREE FACEBOOK GROUP by CLICKING HERE