Ohio State Quarterback C.J. Stroud Named Finalist for 2021 Heisman Trophy

By Dan Hope on December 6, 2021 at 6:28 pm
C.J. Stroud

Ohio State has a Heisman Trophy finalist for the fourth time in four years.

C.J. Stroud became the latest Buckeye to earn a trip to New York on Monday, when he was named one of four finalists for this year’s Heisman along with Alabama quarterback Bryce Young, Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson and Pitt quarterback Kenny Pickett.

Stroud’s recognition as a Heisman finalist comes after his first season as Ohio State’s starting quarterback, making him the third straight Ohio State quarterback to be a Heisman finalist after his first season starting for the Buckeyes. Dwayne Haskins was a Heisman finalist in 2018 while Justin Fields was a Heisman finalist in 2019, when Ohio State defensive end Chase Young joined Fields in New York.

Only Alabama, which has also had four Heisman finalists since 2018 (Tua Tagovailoa in 2018, DeVonta Smith and Mac Jones in 2020 and Young this year), has had as many Heisman finalists as Ohio State in the past four years.

Altogether, Stroud becomes Ohio State’s eighth Heisman finalist since the Heisman Trust began inviting multiple finalists to the ceremony in 1982. Keith Byars was a finalist in 1984, Eddie George won the award in 1995, Orlando Pace was a finalist in 1996 and Troy Smith won the award in 2006.

With a passer rating of 182.2 this season, Stroud has the second-best passer rating in the entire Football Bowl Subdivision and is on pace to break Ohio State’s single-season record for passing efficiency. His completion percentage of 70.9, which ranks sixth in the FBS, is also on pace to be the best in school history.

Stroud ranks fourth in the FBS this season in passing yards per game (351.1) and fifth in passing yards per attempt (9.78). He ranks fifth in total touchdown passes (38) and eighth in total passing yards (3,862) despite playing in only 11 games.

It’s unlikely Stroud will actually win the Heisman Trophy. Alabama quarterback Bryce Young cemented himself as the heavy favorite to win the award by throwing for 421 yards and three touchdowns and running for 40 yards and another touchdown to lead the Crimson Tide to a win over Georgia in the SEC Championship Game on Saturday. As of Monday afternoon, Young was a whopping -3500 betting favorite to win the Heisman while Stroud was a +3000 longshot.

Just being selected as a Heisman finalist, though, can be viewed as an honor in itself for Stroud, who was already named as the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, Quarterback of the Year and Freshman of the Year and is also a finalist for the Davey O’Brien Award and Manning Award.

Should Stroud pull the upset and win the award, he would become the eighth Heisman winner in school history, joining Les Horvath (1944), Vic Janowicz (1950), Howard "Hopalong" Cassady (1955), Archie Griffin (1974 and 1975), George and Smith.

The 2021 Heisman Trophy ceremony will begin at 8 p.m. Saturday night and will be televised on ESPN.

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