Heisman Watch: Welcome to the Heisman Race, CJ Verdell

Oregon Ducks running back CJ Verdell had a big day in the impressive upset of Ohio State.

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The Heisman Trophy is one of the strangest awards in the sports world. There’s no objective way to win…by default, people vote on the award. So, for the most part, it’s all about perception. Numbers don’t seem to matter as much as winning and having those signature “Heisman” moments, but you have to have both to win it all. We’re talking about the big time players from the big time teams in the big time conferences.

Which is unfortunate, in my opinion. I’m a strong proponent of everyone at least getting a shot, but that’s just not the way the world works. So, with that in mind, I’m taking a look at who’s who in the 2021 Heisman race so far based on who fits the seemingly arbitrary criteria laid forth by the Heisman Trust. But, if you think I’m wrong to do so, feel free to hit up the comments.

This week’s Heisman Watch is going to be a little bland because we had a collection of quarterbacks get the chance to really pad their stats in what was, for the most part, a huge cupcake week. But, before we get into that, I have to give an honorable mention to Anthony Richardson this week ’cause YIKES – what the hell is Dan Mullen to do here? Richardson just about made my list this week, and he’s not even the Gators starting quarterback…is there a bona fide quarterback controversy brewing in Gainesville?


5. Matt Corral, Ole Miss QB – Corral is a bona fide Heisman contender at this point. If he keeps posting numbers, he’ll be one of the last men standing come December. Like the other quarterbacks this week, Corral had the chance to pad his stats a bit against an inferior opponent (Austin Peay). He went 21/33 for 281 yards and FIVE touchdowns. Tack on 35 rushing yards as well. This offense is explosive, and should provide Corral the opportunity to post some monstrous Heisman-esque numbers.

4. Bryce Young, Alabama QB – He’s still the front runner for this award, though as weird as it may be to say, he didn’t quite play as well against Mercer as he did in the opener against Miami. Young was 19/27 for 227 yards and three touchdowns against the Bears. That gives him seven passing touchdowns for the season so far, a mark that is tied for 3rd in the FBS.

3. Sam Howell, North Carolina QB – A bit of a sigh of relief for Tar Heels fans, as Howell used the opportunity against Georgia State to get right. He was downright dominant, going 21/29 for 352 yards and three touchdowns, with 104 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns. We’ll see if he can keep this going moving forward after a dud in Week 1.

2. Spencer Rattler, Oklahoma QB – Well, well, well – the guy who figures to be the #1 overall pick in the NFL Draft next spring has entered the chat. Like all the other quarterbacks on this list, Rattler got the chance to really put up some video game numbers this weekend against a weaker opponent. He did just that, going 20/26 for 243 yards and FIVE touchdowns. The Sooners were unstoppable against Western Carolina on Saturday, scoring 10 touchdowns en route to a 76-0 win.

1. CJ Verdell, Oregon RB – I have to show some love to Verdell for showing up in the big game and not padding stats against less-than-stellar competition like the quarterbacks on this list. Verdell and the Ducks offense was able to identify and exploit weakness in Ohio State’s defense to the tune of 161 rushing yards, two rushing touchdowns, 34 receiving yards, and a receiving touchdown. It was a big time moment for Verdell as the Ducks announced their presence as a College Football Playoff contender.


8. Will Levis – 1
5. Matt Corral, Kenneth Walker III, Sam Howell – 3
3. Zach Charbonnet, Spencer Rattler – 4
2. CJ Verdell – 5
1. Bryce Young – 7

If you haven’t already, be sure to go subscribe to the College Football Roundup Podcast, on which Steven McCash and myself break down all the action from the college football world and look ahead to the week to come.

Stoney Keeley is the Editor in Chief of The SoBros Network, and a Dogs Playing Poker on velvet connoisseur. He is a strong supporter of Team GSD, #BeBetter, and ‘Minds right, asses tight.’ “Big Natural” covers the Tennessee Titans, Nashville, Yankee Candle, and a whole wealth of nonsense. Follow on Twitter @StoneyKeeley

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