All this week, LGHL writers will be bring you articles focusing on their biggest and boldest predictions. Check out all of our “Bold Predictions” articles throughout the week HERE. Whether you disagree, let us know what you think in the comments below and on Twitter @Landgrant33.
It’s never too early to start thinking about who is going to win the Heisman, right? I mean, I think right now is the perfect time — before a down is even played and you have a chance to see anyone actually play this season. Just kidding, but it is fun to think about the top candidates for this season, and the ultimate winner. So, my homer, bold prediction is that Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud will be the 2021 Heisman Trophy winner.
When you think about it, Stroud winning really isn’t out of the realm of possibility. In fact, Vegas agrees with me! According to SuperBook Sports, he is tied for the third best odds to win. I think this is in part because college football doesn’t have a ton of big names returning this year. Obviously, pretty much all of the star quarterbacks left for the pros after last season, with five getting drafted in the first round alone. The two best running backs, Najee Harris and Travis Etienne, and the best receivers in DeVonta Smith, Jaylen Waddle, Kyle Pitts (technically a tight end, I guess), and Ja’Marr Chase are all gone. Who is left?
Spencer Rattler, the Oklahoma QB, is currently favored to win the Heisman. I think this clearly shows that there is just a lot of uncertainty coming into this season. Personally, I wasn’t overwhelmingly impressed with the guy; I know he is young, and has big shoes to fill following Baker Mayfield, Kyler Murray and Jalen Hurts, but still. Who knows, maybe he’ll prove me wrong.
Following Rattler, we got a trio of redshirt freshman QBs who have high expectations placed on each of them this season: Bryce Young (Alabama), DJ Uiagalelei (Clemson), and of course, Stroud.
All are taking the reins from last year’s Heisman candidates, Mac Jones, Trevor Lawrence, and Justin Fields, but I believe that Stroud has the edge here. Alabama’s receivers, running back, and offensive line are all gone. Same with Clemson. Not so with Ohio State!
Now obviously the other two schools will still be two of the top teams in the country, so they will obviously be reloading, not rebuilding. However, they are still both going to be young teams with young QBs. For the Buckeyes, they’ve got the two top receivers in the nation in Olave and Wilson. Freshman phenom TreVeyon Henderson could be the running back of the future (I think he will be — check out my last article).
Plus, OSU has an experienced and talented O-Line, spearheaded by Thayer Munford, Nicholas Petit-Frere, and Paris Johnson. This combination will really help take a load off of Stroud’s shoulders, and ease him into his new starting job.
So, after all of that being said, why do I think Stroud will win after barely seeing him play? Well, he sat behind one of the best quarterbacks in football last season in Fields (imo, THE best), and his style of play has been compared to Fields’. Stroud was a five-star prospect who was rated as the nation’s No. 2 pro style quarterback and a top 50 player regardless of position in the 2020 class. His senior season in high school, he threw for 3,878 yards and 47 touchdowns in 13 games, while completing 66 percent of his passes. He was also very impressive at the Spring Game, where he completed 16 of 22 passes for 185 yards and two touchdowns. It was promising to see that he wasn’t overwhelmed when the pressure was on with thousands of fans watching.
I know that Stroud hasn’t even been named the starter yet; I get it. Between him, Jack Miller, and Kyle McCord, Ohio State has a plethora of young QBs to choose from. Coach Day insists that there is still a competition between the three, but that he would like to have a starter chosen by the second week of fall camp — roughly mid-August.
Personally, I think that Day is just doing that thing where he isn’t naming a starter so that all of the QBs compete as hard as possible. All of the buzz has Stroud as QB1, and I have to agree. Even more than that, I think he will be the best QB — and the best player — in college football this season. You heard it here first!
Do you think C.J. Stroud will at least be the starting QB?
This poll is closed
No, it’ll be Miller
No, it’ll be McCord