Heisman Watch: Week 1

posted September 2, 2021 in CommRadio, Sports by Trevor Grady

The 2021 college football season is finally upon us. As we enter the month of September, and feel the crisp fall air slowly approaching, we are reminded of all the great traditions that we all love so much. After one of the wonkiest years in college football history, we will have a traditional college football season — and thank goodness for that. Let’s take a look at which players have the best chance to hoist the all-important Heisman Trophy at the end of the year.

Sam Howell, Quarterback, North Carolina

Sam Howell has had back-to-back seasons with at least 3,500 yards passing and 30 touchdowns, and he is poised to do so again this season. As everyone knows, in order to win the Heisman, your team has to be competing inside the top 10 for most of the season. Mack Brown has his Tar Heels doing just that this season starting, at No. 10 in the AP Preseason poll. It will be Howell’s third year as the starting quarterback, and he will get an immediate opportunity to stake his claim as the nation’s best player when North Carolina travels to Blacksburg to take on Virginia Tech on Friday night.

Spencer Rattler, Quarterback, Oklahoma

As most people’s Heisman favorite, Spencer Rattler will try to be the third Sooner quarterback to take home the award in the past five years. Oklahoma’s schedule is extremely favorable this year, and if last year proved anything, it’s that Rattler can put up big numbers fast. He is coming off a season with 3,031 yards passing and 34 total touchdowns. If he can expand upon those numbers and bring his squad to its fifth Big 12 Championship Game in as many seasons, he will certainly have a good case.

C.J. Stroud, Quarterback, Ohio State

It is a safe bet that the quarterback with one of the best receiving corps in college football history will put up Heisman numbers. It helps that that quarterback will be playing in Ryan Day’s system as well. C.J. Stroud will be thrown into the fire early at Minnesota Week 1 and home against No. 11 Oregon the following week. He has big shoes to fill with Justin Fields gone, but with a receiving corps of Chris Olave, Garrett Wilson and Jaxon Smith-Njigba, he will do just fine.

Breece Hall, Running Back, Iowa State

Iowa State is a dark horse to win the Big 12, and Breece Hall is the biggest reason why. Hall had over 1,700 total yards and 23 total touchdowns a season ago and will look to take advantage of this year’s lackluster Big 12 defenses once again. Matt Campbell has this Iowa State team as a preseason top-10 team, and if the Cyclones can stay in that top 10 range for most of the season, Hall will have a shot to bring the bronze statue to Ames.

Bijan Robinson, Running Back, Texas

Bijan Robinson rushed for 703 yards in just nine games a season ago, while essentially splitting reps as a freshman. There is no doubt that Steve Sarkisian will use Robinson more this season. He posted 14 plays of 20 yards or longer last season and will look to continue that explosiveness this season. His first opportunity will be a big one against No. 23 Louisiana on Saturday afternoon.


Trevor Grady is a fourth-year majoring in supply chain management. To contact him, email tmg5685@psu.edu.