Heisman finalists: Young, Hutchinson, Pickett, Stroud
NEW YORK (AP) — Alabama quarterback Bryce Young, Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson, Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett and Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud were announced Monday as finalists for the Heisman Trophy.
The Heisman will be presented Saturday in New York, returning to its usual routine and date — second Saturday in December — after it was forced to delay and go virtual last year due to the pandemic.
There are some changes this year. The site of the presentation is moving from a theater in Midtown Manhattan, near Times Square, to a smaller venue on the West Side near Lincoln Center.
The process by which Heisman finalists are determined has also been modified. The Heisman Trust announced that starting with this season, there will be four finalists — no more, no fewer — invited to the award presentation ceremony.
In the past the Heisman has invited at least three and as many as six players to the presentation. The number was determined by distribution of vote, with the cut-off decided by the gap between vote-getters.
After a 2021 season in which a Heisman front-runner took a while to emerge and the race seemed wide-open into November, Young closed strong to become the favorite.
The sophomore led a 97-yard, game-tying touchdown drive against rival Auburn two weeks ago, helping the Crimson Tide rally to win the Iron Bowl in overtime.
Then Young broke the Southeastern Conference championship game record with 421 yards passing in a victory against Georgia’s vaunted defense on Saturday. For the season, Young has thrown for 4,322 yards, 43 touchdowns and just four interceptions while guiding the top-ranked Crimson Tide to the College Football Playoff.
As good has Young has been in his first season as Alabama’s starting quarterback, following Heisman finalists Mac Jones and Tua Tagovailoa, an argument could be made he is not even the clear best player on his own team.
Will Anderson Jr. appeared to be the Tide’s top Heisman contender until Young went off against Georgia. The sophomore outside linebacker leads the nation in tackles for loss with 31.5 and sacks with 15.5, but he didn’t get an invitation to New York.