The 82nd Heisman Trophy presentation will take place on Saturday, December 8, at the New York Marriott Marquis in Times Square. On hand will be the three finalists and a host of previous winners, many of whom will look familiar from Nissan’s Heisman House commercials. If you’re a college football fan, you have probably had this debate all season long. Here it goes:
Kyler Murray At just 5-feet-10-inches, Murray had some huge shoes to fill in replacing last year’s Heisman winner Baker Mayfield. All Murray did was complete 71 percent of his passes for 4,053 yards and 40 touchdowns. When it mattered most, Murray went 25-of-34 for 379 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Sooners to their fourth straight Big 12 championship.
Sure, Oklahoma doesn’t play defense, but neither does Murray. The lack of defense is, of course, the big knock against the Sooners. That isn’t Murray’s fault. In Oklahoma’s only loss of the season, a 48-45 defeat at the hands of Texas, it surely wasn’t Murray’s fault. He threw for 304 yards and four touchdowns. Oh, and he ran for 92 more and another score.
The ninth overall pick in last year’s Major League Baseball Draft, Murray has already said he is leaving Oklahoma to go play for the Oakland A’s next season. He just might be the only player in his dugout with a Heisman Trophy.
Tua Tagovailoa Tagovailoa’s Heisman quest started last season with his second-half performance in the national title game. After leading Alabama to a come-from-behind victory over Georgia, Tagovailoa captured the starting quarterback job this season. And what a season it has been. The only problem for the Crimson Tide sophomore is the déjà vu that happened in this year’s SEC championship game.
Tagovailoa was replaced by Jalen Hurts – whom he had replaced last year – in the SEC championship game against Georgia on Saturday. It was Hurts who led the Tide to a 35-28 victory. Still, Tagovailoa is worthy of the Heisman Trophy. He completed 67.7 percent of his passes for 3,353 yards and 37 touchdowns. He threw just four interceptions in leading Alabama to a 13-0 record. He never lost, but did he do enough and do it when it counted?
Dwayne Haskins If there was one player that really made a claim for the Heisman Trophy on championship weekend, it was Ohio State’s Haskins. The sixth-ranked Buckeyes needed a win over Northwestern in the Big Ten championship game in order to have any chance at earning a College Football Playoff spot. Haskins and company did not disappoint.
The 6-3 sophomore completed 34-of-41 passes for 499 yards and five touchdowns to lead Ohio State to a 45-24 victory. It was the Buckeyes 12th of the season. Yes, we all know that Ohio State didn’t look so good against teams like Maryland and Nebraska, but don’t hold that against Haskins. All he did was lead the nation in passing. Haskins’ statistics are nearly ridiculous. He completed over 70 percent of his 496 passes for 4,580 yards. He threw for 47 touchdowns against just eight interceptions. Haskins threw for over 300 yards in nine of 13 games and he did do enough when it mattered most.
Will Grier/Gardner Minshew There is no doubt that this is a three-horse race. It’s Murray, Tagovailoa, and Haskins, but West Virginia’s Will Grier and Washington State’s Gardner Minshew certainly are worthy of some Heisman consideration. Grier led West Virginia to an 8-3 mark and put up some big numbers in the process. He threw for 3,864 yards and 37 touchdowns. He was at his best in the season finale against Oklahoma when he went 32-of-49 for 539 yards and four touchdowns. Unfortunately, his Mountaineers could not prevail in a 59-56 loss to the Sooners.
Minshew ran the Cougars’ Air Raid to near perfection. He threw for 4,477 yards in 12 games. He had 36 touchdowns and just nine interceptions on the season. Where Minshew comes up short though is in the season finale against rival Washington. Minshew went 26-for-35 for just 152 yards and he was picked off twice. It was an outstanding season for the senior, who had transferred from East Carolina, but likely not one worthy of a Heisman Trophy.
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