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You’re Nuts: Which player you have never heard of will be a Heisman finalist?

Your (almost) daily dose of good-natured, Ohio State banter.

NCAA Football: 2022 Heisman Trophy Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Everybody knows that one of the best parts of being a sports fan is debating and dissecting the most (and least) important questions in the sporting world with your friends. So, we’re bringing that to the pages of LGHL with our favorite head-to-head column: You’re Nuts.

In You’re Nuts, two LGHL staff members will take differing sides of one question and argue their opinions passionately. Then, in the end, it’s up to you to determine who’s right and who’s nuts.

Today’s Question: Which player you have never heard of will be a Heisman finalist?

Jami’s Take: Notre Dame running back Audric Estime

As much as it pains me to say given my long-standing family ties to Notre Dame and my resulting hatred, I think this Fighting Irish team is the real deal this year.

I’m leaning into the Buckeye connection in head coach Marcus Freeman because it’s always nice to see our OSU alum succeed, but somewhere deep inside my bones, Notre Dame’s success still always feels just the teeniest bit personal.

But if this Notre Dame team is, in fact, the real deal, it’s going to be in large part because of junior running back Audric Estime. That’s right—my absolutely insane, Mad Hatter-level bonkers prediction is that if Notre Dame is still on the map come December, we might be hearing Estime’s name amongst the Heisman finalists.

There’s absolutely nothing safe about this prediction. In fact, I said this out loud to Matt with a straight face the other day, and he audibly gasped/stifled a laugh. But also, just know that the last time Matt laughed in my face about a prediction, it was when I said Colorado would beat TCU in Week 1, and now Colorado is 2-0 this year. So maybe I’m a witch! You’ll never know!

Sure, the more realistic Notre Dame finalist if there were to be one would be quarterback Sam Hartman. There are actually a lot of reasons any rational person would dispute my selection. But I’m bored with the Heisman as a quarterback award, and this prompt wasn’t about choosing the predictable option.

Audric Estime dazzles me—I don’t really have a tangible reason for this, but when I watch him, I find myself dazzled. I have genuinely watched his 80-yard touchdown run against NC State this past weekend upwards of 40 times.

And he’s putting up good numbers to start the season. So far, he has 345 yards on 43 carries with 4 touchdowns. Sure, those numbers are a bit skewed as Notre Dame had a Week 0 game (I’m sure Matt will be quick to point this out), but even if we eliminate those yards, he’s #14 in rushing yards currently.

This is where I have to sell you on the vision—because as we all know, to be the Heisman finalist, #14 in your position isn’t going to cut it. You have to be No. 1 of all the positions.

But like I said before, this Notre Dame team unfortunately seems like the real deal, and they’ve got a heck of a schedule still to play.

What we know already is that Estime is a steady force. As a sophomore, he put up 930 yards on the season, and he seems to have picked up with even more steam. He and Hartman seem to have worked out a rhythm that allows the Fighting Irish offense to effectively pass or run.

We also know Notre Dame has an offensive line in its arsenal that could lend itself to players having big years (Hartman and Estime included).

Notre Dame plays a tough schedule, with back-to-back games against ranked opponents (No. 6 Ohio State on Sept. 23 and No. 21 Duke on Sept. 30), a mid-October matchup against No. 5 USC, and later season matchups with Clemson, Wake Forest and Stanford (all of whom could present a challenge to Notre Dame despite being unranked currently).

If Estime can put up big numbers against Ohio State and then again against Duke, I think we have to start paying attention to what this man can do on the ground beyond surface-level conversations.

Will any of that be enough to get to New York at the end of the season, especially when you consider how exceptional the field is this year? Only time will tell. But if I had to put money on someone as a dark horse, Estime would be at the top of my list.

Matt’s Take: Washington quarterback Cameron Ward

This is obviously a tough one to nail down, because how in the world do I know who you have and haven’t heard of? Like, have you been paying attention to Coach Prime’s Colorado Buffaloes? If not, may I interest you in some Shedeur Sanders or Travis Hunter?

But, I’m going to guess if you are reading this article, you have at least heard tell of them following the first two weeks of the season. Likewise, you’ve heard of Notre Dame’s Sam Hartman, Florida State’s Jordan Travis, Washington’s Michael Penix Jr., and even my favorite dark horse, Oregon State’s DJ Uiagalelei. Of course, you have also heard of last year’s winner USB QB Caleb Williams and former Buckeye Quinn Ewers now slinging it for Texas.

I thought about going with Oklahoma quarterback Dillon Gabriel, North Carolina running back Omarion Hampton, or even the quarterback the Buckeyes will play this weekend Western Kentucky’s Austin Reed, but instead, I am going to go with the QB who upset Luke Fickell’s Wisconsin Badgers this past weekend, Washington State signal caller Cameron Ward.

Through two games, he is fifth nationally averaging 329.5 yards per game and has thrown five touchdowns and no interceptions. He’s also thrown the ball the ninth most times per game this season, so it appears that he will have opportunities to put up numbers.

Through two games, he has shown both an incredibly powerful and accurate arm with the ability to put some nice touch on the ball to fit it into some seemingly impossible holes. He has also been very impressive at making something out of nothing with his legs, either to avoid pressure in order to buy more time to find an open receiver or to extend plays by taking off and picking up yardage with his legs.

What makes rooting for Ward even more exciting this season is that the Cougs are going to have a bit of a chip on their shoulders heading into Pac-12 play. As one of the two spurned stepchildren of the conference, it would not surprise me if they play with a little extra anger and aggression throughout the next two and a half months. This is also why I am rooting for Oregon State and DJU. If one of these two teams could somehow win the final Pac-12 title, how absolutely delicious would that be?


Who has the right answer to today’s question?

This poll is closed

  • 20%
    Jami: Audric Estime
    (2 votes)
  • 80%
    Matt: Cameron Ward
    (8 votes)
10 votes total Vote Now