Heisman Watch and National Players of the Week – Week 5
The race for the Heisman is on and just when you think you’ve got it figured out it takes some turns. Here is how it went down for Week 5 of the season in college football.
C.J. Stroud, Ohio State, Quarterback, Junior.
Stroud stays here mainly because Bryce Young and Stetson Bennett (in the top three last week) didn’t do anything to pass him. Like Young his day was less than expected. Stroud was 13 of 22 for 159 yards two touchdowns and an interception. On the year he is 92 of 134 for 1,376 yards and 18 touchdowns. With Young hindered by a shoulder injury, the Heisman is Stroud’s to lose as things stand right now.
Bryce Young, Alabama, Quarterback, Junior.
Young had a rough day. He was 7 of 13 for 173 yards and two total touchdowns and an interception before leaving the game with an injury to his throwing shoulder. Fortunately for Young’s Heisman repeat chances, his competition didn’t have it much better this week. The real problem for Young’s quest to match Archie Griffin is if the injury to his throwing shoulder will require him to miss any time. If so, a second Heisman may be out of reach. However, that may be the long-term better thing for Young and the Crimson Tide. A healthy Bryce Young at the end of the season is more valuable than the Heisman to Alabama. Time will tell.
Hendon Hooker, Tennessee, Quarterback, Senior.
Hooker had a BYE this week and rose in the rankings because others stumbled. On the year Hooker is 81 of 113 for 1,193 yards and eight touchdowns passing with 35 carries and 175 yards and three touchdowns rushing. Hooker will play the top two ranked teams in the country and because of how high profile those games will be, he doesn’t have to win to stay in the top five, he just has to not be the reason the Vols might lose. With zero interceptions thrown so far, Hooker is playing like that right now.
Caleb Williams, USC, Quarterback, Sophomore.
Williams was 27 of 37 for 348 yards and three touchdowns passing and eight carries for 44 yards and a touchdown rushing. On the season Williams is 107 of 159 for 1,402 yards and 12 touchdowns passing and 44 carries for 144 yards and three touchdowns rushing. Williams benefits from the Pac-12’s perceived weakness but hurts from having fewer people see his games. Still, so long as no ugly loss bites him and Southern California, he will be toward the front of this race.
Spencer Sanders, Oklahoma State, Quarterback, Senior.
Sanders was 20 of 29 for 181 yards and a touchdown passing and had 14 carries for 75 yards and a touchdown rushing in the Cowboys’ win over Baylor. On the year Sanders is 82 of 124 for 1,097 yards and 11 touchdowns passing and 41 carries for 185 yards and four touchdowns rushing. Sanders has the Cowboys at 4-0 and ranked in the top ten. As long as he keeps producing and the Pokes keep winning, he’ll be a legitimate contender.
In the Race:
Stetson Bennett, Georgia, Quarterback, Senior.
Bennett and Georgia had a rough night. The only way it could have been rough is if Missouri had managed to pull off the upset. Bennett was 24 of 43 for 312 yards but had no touchdowns. That’s a huge blow to him, as I can not recall a Heisman winner who wasn’t a defender who had a game in which they didn’t contribute a touchdown. Being undefeated and having plenty of big games everyone will be watching left keeps Bennett from sliding too far down in the Heisman race.
Jaren Hall, BYU, Quarterback, Junior.
Hall was 17 of 27 for 274 yards and three touchdowns. On the year Hall is 120 of 171 for 1,438 yards and 12 touchdowns. Hall has never had a game with less than 261 yards and a touchdown this season. If this were 2023 and the Cougars were playing in the Big 12 with a chance for a 13th game before the Heisman voting, Hall would be in the top five. He’s playing that well and means that much to BYU. The problem is, his biggest games will be done before Halloween. Still, BYU’s 4-1 start is mainly because of him and they have a nationally televised game against Notre Dame in Vegas coming up giving Hall a huge chance to show what he’s made of.
Bo Nix, Oregon, Quarterback, Senior.
Nix had another good game, this time against Stanford. He was 16 of 29 for 161 yards through the air but rushed for 141 yards and two touchdowns on only six carries on the ground. On the year he is 111 of 161 for 1,261 yards and 12 touchdowns passing with 32 carries for 261 yards and five touchdowns rushing to go with it. Nix has been a different player since the Georgia loss and has the Pac-12 on notice.
Will Anderson Jr., Alabama, Linebacker, Junior.
Anderson had five tackles, 1.5 tackles for a loss, and half a sack in Alabama’s victory 49-26 victory over Arkansas. On the season Anderson has 27 tackles, nine tackles for a loss, five sacks, and one interception that he returned for a touchdown. These are great numbers. Defensive Player of the Year numbers! But they’re not the numbers a defensive player needs to have to be realistically in the Heisman race. The good news for Anderson (and bad news for SEC foes) is there are still plenty of opportunities for him to get those crazy stats he’ll need to stay in this race.
Jalon Daniels, Kansas, Quarterback, Junior.
Daniels’s game against Iowa State wasn’t very good. He was 7 of 14 for 93 yards and no passing touchdowns and had eight attempts for nine yards and one touchdown on the ground. He’s getting the benefit of the doubt because he has the flipping Kansas Jayhawks at 5-0 and a date with undefeated TCU coming up. As long as Kansas keeps winning, Daniels will be in the conversation.
Garrett Shrader, Syracuse, Quarterback, Junior.
Garrett Shrader is off to a great start and so is Syracuse. Shrader was 17 of 17 for 238 yards and three total touchdowns as Syracuse cruised to 5-0 with a 59-0 win over Wagner. Shrader is 90 of 127 for 1,224 yards and 10 touchdowns passing and 62 carries for 219 yards for five touchdowns rushing. Shrader’s play has Syracuse the surprise team of the ACC this year and also has him in the Heisman race.
Dorian Thompson-Robinson, UCLA, Quarterback, Senior.
DTR was 24 of 33 for 315 yards and three touchdowns in the air with ten carries for 53 yards and a touchdown on the ground in UCLA’s upset win of #15 Washington. His season totals are 104 of 140 for 1,211 yards and 11 touchdowns. He has 31 carries for 223 yards and three touchdowns rushing. With Zach Charbonnet and Jake Bobo complementing DTR the Bruins are off to a 5-0 start in year five of the Chip Kelly Era. It took him time and an 18-25 record but thanks to DTR it looks like Chip Kelly has finally found his footing at UCLA and has a Heisman hopeful quarterback to boot.
Grayson McCall, Coastal Carolina, Quarterback, Junior.
McCall was 23 of 34 for 335 yards and four total touchdowns in Coastal Carolina’s win over Georgia Southern. On the year he is 92 of 132 for 1,336 yards and 14 touchdowns passing and 39 carries for 125 yards and three touchdowns rushing. McCall will have to keep putting up these kinds of performances to just stay where he is and will need 400+ yard games and some stars in front of him to trip to get serious Heisman consideration. Still, credit where it is due to him for the good season he is having.
Will Rogers, Mississippi State, Quarterback, Junior.
Rogers is a system quarterback and had one bad game against LSU but he’s been so good every other game that he can’t be kept off this list. Against Texas A&M he was 31 of 45 for 329 yards and three touchdowns and is 171 of 234 for 1,715 yards (third most in the nation) and 19 touchdowns (tied for first in the nation) on the season.
Adrian Martinez, Kansas State, Quarterback, Senior.
Martinez was a modest 12 of 19 for 116 yards and a touchdown through the air but on the ground, he had 12 carries for 171 yards and three touchdowns rushing. For the season Martinez is 74 of 119 for 654 yards and three touchdowns passing and 72 rushes for 469 yards and nine touchdowns on the ground. Martinez is starting to get the Heisman buzz I thought teammate Deuce Vaughn would. Vaughn’s threat as a ball carrier is no doubt helping Martinez, who if he keeps up the kind of play we’ve seen the past two weeks will only continue to gain ground in this race.
Down But Not Out:
- Mohammed Ibrahim, Minnesota, Running Back, Senior. The do it all running back from Minnesota was out with an injury for their game against Purdue. Ibrahim’s absence not only hurt his Heisman chances but hurt Minnesota as they lost the game to the Boilermakers. The Gophers are still the favorite in the Wild Big Ten West to get to the Big Ten Championship game. Ibrahim’s Heisman hopes are on a bit thinner ice. While he’s not out completely if he misses any more time or has any bad games, his chances would be gone.
- Emeka Egbuka, Ohio State, Wide Receiver, Sophomore. Egbuka had his first game without a touchdown this year, and worse he turned the ball over on a punt return. One bad game is all a receiver really gets in the Heisman race, so Egbuka has to be nearly perfect for the rest of the season to have a chance to win this race.
- Jordan Addison, USC, Wide Receiver, Junior. Addison is facing a similar situation as Egbuka in that he’s had a down game and can’t afford anymore to stay in the Heisman race. As it is, he and Egbuka are in a good race to win the Biletnikoff Award for wide receiver of the year!
- Bijan Robinson, Texas, Running Back, Junior. Robinson is having a solid season, just not an extraordinary one. He’ll need to have those types of games down the stretch to have a chance to be back in this race. He remains one of the best running backs in the country and the most important player on the Texas roster.
- Brock Bowers, Georgia, Tight End, Sophomore. It was a long shot for a tight end to begin with and the Bulldogs’ performance against lowly Missouri may have just sunk the Heisman chances for Bowers and severely hindered them for teammate Stetson Bennett. Bowers would have to have virtually perfect games from here on out to have any hope left in the Heisman race.
National Players of the Week
National Player of the Week:
Max Duggan, TCU, Quarterback, Senior.
Duggan was lights out against Oklahoma, he was 22 of 33 for 302 yards and three touchdowns. Duggan also had a day on the ground running for 116 yards and two touchdowns on just five attempts. On the year Duggan is 70 of 94 for 997 yards and 11 touchdowns in the air and has 23 carries for 149 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. Watch for Duggan to move his way into the Heisman race as he and TCU keep going since they are now 4-0 with a big game against Jalon Daniels and Kansas coming up.
National Offensive Player of the Week:
Jayden de Laura, Arizona, Quarterback, Sophomore.
Jayden de Laura was 33 of 46 for 484 yards and six touchdowns. This is a video game-type performance by de Laura. I know it came against winless Colorado, but these type of numbers are too much to ignore on account of a foe who has seen better days. Arizona was there themselves just a year ago as in the past two seasons they combined to win only one game. A performance like this, moving Arizona to 3-2 on the season is more than enough for national player of the week!
National Defensive Player of the Week:
Clark Phillips III, Utah, Cornerback, Sophomore.
I guess the “III” in Clark Phillips III was for interceptions today! Phillips had three tackles but had a whopping three interceptions in Utah’s 42-16 victory over Oregon State. He returned them a total of 57 yards, including taking one to the house!
National Special Teams Player of the Week:
Jaden Nixon, Oklahoma State, Running Back, Freshman.
Nixon had three kick returns for 131 yards and the special teams play of the day with a 98-yard return for a touchdown. I love these kind of special teams plays because they let the guys who otherwise may not play much have a moment to prove themselves. Look for more of Jaden Nixon as this year rolls on for the Cowboys.
Honorable Mention of the Week:
Miyan Williams, Ohio State, Running Back, Junior.
The running back who usually splits time with TreVeyon Henderson, shouldered the load against Rutgers as Henderson was out with an injury. Williams didn’t disappoint. He had 21 carries for 189 yards and tied a school record by scoring five touchdowns as the Buckeyes beat Rutgers 49-10 and improved to 5-0.
Jake Bobo, UCLA, Wide Receiver, Senior.
Bobo had six catches for 142 yards and two touchdowns in what he hopes is a breakout game against Washington. The Bruins are a surprising 5-0 on the season after a career night from Jake Bobo.
Max Tooley, BYU, Linebacker, Junior.
Tooley had three tackles, two tackles for a loss, a sack, and an interception returned for a touchdown (his second of the season) in BYU’s 38-26 win over in-state rival Utah State.
Jahmyr Gibbs, Alabama, Running Back, Junior.
When Bryce Young went out with an injured shoulder, the rest of the Crimson Tide stepped up their games. No one stepped more for Alabama than Jahmyr Gibbs. Gibbs had 18 carries for 206 yards and two touchdowns as Alabama beat Arkansas 49-26. The Razorbacks’ comeback might not fall short without Jahmyr Gibbs’s herculean efforts after the injury to Bryce Young.
Drake Maye, North Carolina, Quarterback, Freshman.
Maye was 26 of 36 for 363 yards and three touchdowns passing, while also running the ball 13 times for 73 yards and two touchdowns. The Tar Heels beat Virginia Tech 41-10 behind Maye’s big day. On the year Maye is 115 of 165 for 1,594 yards and 19 touchdowns passing and 52 carries for 255 yards and three touchdowns rushing.
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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
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