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Column: C.J. Stroud will be the 2022 Heisman winner

I admit, I had my doubts about Stroud throughout the season, but his performance in the Rose Bowl solidified his potential for greatness in 2022.

Michigan State v Ohio State Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Alright, alright, the time has come. C.J. Stroud has finally proven himself (at least to me) that he is great. He hasn’t let all of the hate thrown his way this season get to him, and he’s battled through some serious adversity. Finishing fourth in the Heisman voting definitely unleashed a monster, and the Rose Bowl was only the beginning.

Let me back up a little bit. This entire season I have been extremely iffy about Stroud. I’m aware that he is a freshman, but frankly I didn’t care. I believe that if you’re the starting quarterback at The Ohio State University, you should be able to handle pretty much anything.

I was really impressed by him in the first two games of the season against Minnesota and Oregon. However, when he didn’t play against Akron, I was a little bit annoyed. I know that he had an injured shoulder and Akron isn’t the strongest of opponents, but I thought that he might have just been milking it. I’m now sure that wasn’t the case, though.

His play against Tulsa was severely concerning to me. Four games into the season, and I was seriously questioning if he should be the starting QB. I did want to see how he would stick it out, so I’m glad that he remained the starter. He bounced back the following week against Rutgers and never looked back.

Rose Bowl Game presented by Capital One Venture X - Ohio State v Utah Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Now, was he perfect in these games? Absolutely not. However, for a first-time starter, I would say that Stroud had one of the best debut seasons in Buckeye history. After all, he is still a freshman, so he’s still maturing and learning how to lead this team. Additionally, just like a baby giraffe, he is trying to figure out how to use his legs.

All of this being said, his play against Utah was just unbelievable. Coming into the game, many people doubted his abilities citing the fact that Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson weren’t going to be playing. I didn’t think this would have any impact on him, because the true No. 1 receiver — Jaxon Smith-Njigba — would finally have his chance to shine. The other guys named Marvin Harrison Jr., Emeka Egbuka and Julian Fleming did pretty well too.

Like I said earlier, finishing the way that he did in the Heisman voting really seemed to have lit a fire in him. I predicted that he would go off in this game, but I don’t think that anyone thought that he would’ve thrown for 573 yards and six touchdowns!

Also, how about in the first half when his last three pass attempts were three consecutive touchdowns? My personal favorite was the 10 yards he rushed for to get a first down! His legs do work!

Rose Bowl Game presented by Capital One Venture X - Ohio State v Utah Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

This game made me so excited for next season. Clearly, there won’t be any drop-off in the receiver room. The offensive line did a great job of giving Stroud enough time to make a play. His accuracy and arm strength was on full display and was astounding to watch. He made difficult passes look easy. Perhaps the greatest part of it all? Stroud stayed calm the entire game, putting the team on his back, refusing to go down without a fight.

Therefore, I have no doubt in my mind that C.J. Stroud will be the 2022 Heisman winner. Unless it’s JSN or TreVeyon Henderson. With a phenomenal freshman campaign, he can only get better. While I think he could throw to just about anyone and succeed, it doesn’t hurt that his receivers will make him look even better. Can it be Sept. 3 already?


Do you think C.J. Stroud is the frontrunner for the 2022 Heisman?

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