Ohio State: Checking in on the Buckeyes' Heisman hopefuls
While September won’t go down as a banner month for Ohio State, it has gone down as a month that hasn’t featured a clear favorite for the Heisman Trophy … which can only be good news for the Buckeyes. Alabama QB Bryce Young is fine, Ole Miss’s Matt Corral is intriguing, but beyond that, the race is wide open. And frankly, if Ole Miss goes 9-3 or so, it’s hard to imagine Corral winning the award.
Meanwhile, given that OSU figures to be one of the nation’s best teams and to have several of the nation’s most impressive offensive players, we’ll periodically check in on OSU’s Heisman hopefuls, and see how their seasons are going compared to recent Heisman winners. Here’s the latest.
CJ Stroud, QB
Last Week: DNP
Season: 63-for-101, 963 yards, 8 TDs, 3 INTs
On pace for (in 15 game season): 3,611 yards, 30 TDs, 11 INTs
Troy Smith at this point in 2006: 884 yards, 8 TDs, 2 INTs
Current odds: Ranging from 28/1 to 40/1
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Stroud missing a game doesn’t help, but as you can see, statistically, he’s pretty close to where Troy Smith was 4 games into his 2006 Heisman season (the last Buckeyes QB to win the trophy). Maybe that lost game doesn’t really mean much — as long as it is just ONE lost game. If Stroud misses any more time, it hurts both from a statistical standpoint and from a prestige standpoint. How great of a player can you be if you miss a sixth (or more) of your team’s regular season? No Heisman winner in recent memory could say that.
TreVeyon Henderson, RB
Last Week: 8 carries, 93 yards, 2 TDs
Season: 46 carries, 439 yards, 6 TDs (plus 3 receptions for 87 yards, 1 TD)
On pace for: 173 carries, 1,646 yards, 23 TDs (plus 326 receiving yards, 4 TDs)
Derrick Henry at this point in 2015: 67 carries, 422 yards, 8 TDs
Current odds: 30/1 to 35/1
Can Henderson get enough carries? It’s worth noting that Derrick Henry (the last back to win the Heisman) had fewer yards 4 games into his Heisman season — but also had about 50% more carries than Henderson. As great as he is, Henderson can’t win the Heisman getting 11.5 carries per game. But 15-20 might do it … and given that he seems to be perhaps the primary player on the OSU offense, well, that 35/1 might be a long shot worth considering. If there is a player of this group whose game seems to project well to the kind of October that might merit keeping an eye on, it would definitely be Henderson.
Garrett Wilson, WR
Last Week: 4 catches, 124 yards
Season: 23 receptions, 391 yards, 3 TDs
On pace for: 86 receptions, 1,466 yards, 11 TDs
DeVonta Smith at this point in 2020: 38 receptions, 483 yards, 4 TDs
Current odds: 150/1 to Off the board
The knock for Wilson and Chris Olave (whose stats are a little behind Wilson’s) is going to be the lack of superhuman, eye-popping stats. Smith, who won the Heisman last year as a receiver, was clearly the featured player in the Alabama passing game. If Wilson projects to 86 catches and Olave projects to 68 (his current pace), neither guy gets enough touches to lap the field at the receiver position. Wilson is on pace for a fine season, but if he (or Olave) wants to get back into the list of Heisman contenders, he’ll have to do something crazy — which complicates his chances because it’d probably boost CJ Stroud’s odds as well.