Heisman Power Rankings: Bryce Young the latest Alabama star
Week 3 of college football has come and gone, and the Heisman Trophy picture is taking shape.
Here are the top five candidates for the award so far.
5. Sam Howell, QB, North Carolina
- 867 passing yards, 11 total TDs, 4 INT, 63.4% completion
Howell got off to a shaky start in Week 1 with three interceptions against Virginia Tech, but he's rebounded in style. Despite losing the top two rushers and receivers from last year's team, the standout junior threw eight touchdown passes against just one interception in his last two games while adding two scores on the ground. In Howell's latest performance, he threw for 307 yards while leading North Carolina to 59 points in a conference win over Virginia. Next is a matchup with a Georgia Tech defense that held No. 9 Clemson to just 14 points last weekend.
4. Jake Haener, QB, Fresno State
- 1,464 passing yards, 13 total TDs, 1 INT, 73.6% completion
A Group of 5 quarterback isn't something you see on a Heisman list often, but at this point, Haener deserves that respect. The Fresno State star leads the nation in passing yards after his ridiculous performance in a shocking upset of No. 24 UCLA on Saturday. Haener finished with 455 yards passing and two touchdowns, including the winner in the dying seconds, despite being hindered by injury. Saturday's win wasn't the first glimpse of Haener's skill against a Power 5 opponent - the senior threw for 298 yards and a score in Week 1 when the Bulldogs took No. 3 Oregon down to the wire in a 31-24 loss. Haener's issue in the Heisman race will be strength of schedule, as Fresno State doesn't face any Power 5 opponents the rest of the way.
3. Kenneth Walker III, RB, Michigan State
- 493 rushing yards, 6 total TDs, 8.6 yards per carry
Beginning the season with a massive four-touchdown performance in Michigan State's win over Northwestern, Kenneth Walker III has helped the Spartans jump out to their first 3-0 start since 2015. Michigan State has never had a Heisman winner - and hasn't had a top-four finalist since 1987 - but Walker currently leads the nation in rushing yards, giving the school its best chance in recent memory. Though Walker didn't score a rushing touchdown on 27 attempts for 172 yards against Miami on Saturday, he showed off his versatility by pulling in a receiving touchdown. Next up for the Spartans is Nebraska, which has the fourth-worst rushing defense in the conference. The Huskers are allowing 156.3 yards per game, which should benefit Walker when they come to East Lansing for a Big Ten showdown.
2. Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss
- 997 passing yards, 14 total TDs, 0 INT, 68.8% completion
Matt Corral and Lane Kiffin's system are a match made in heaven so far, as the junior quarterback has shot up the Heisman board after a red-hot start. The California native has burned the opposition with his dual-threat capabilities, rushing for five touchdowns on top of the nine he's thrown. Saturday was the Corral Show against Tulane as the 22-year-old ran for four touchdowns and threw for three scores in the blowout win. Corral had his way with the same Green Wave defense that intercepted Oklahoma star Spencer Rattler twice in a narrow Week 1 loss. Ole Miss now has a bye week before Corral and the Rebels head to Tuscaloosa to face Kiffin's old boss Nick Saban and Alabama. An upset of the defending national champions would likely make Corral the leader in the Heisman race as the season gets deeper into October.
1. Bryce Young, QB, Alabama
- 811 passing yards, 10 TD, 0 INT, 68.0% completion
Bryce Young was regarded as a Heisman front-runner coming into the season despite being in his first year as a starter, and he's backed up the hype by throwing for at least three touchdowns per game. Though Alabama got a scare in The Swamp, the sophomore came up with three touchdowns and 240 yards against Florida, completing 62.9% of his passes in the 31-29 victory. Young has thrown more touchdown passes through three games than previous Crimson Tide starter Mac Jones, and he's just one shy of 2019 Heisman winner Joe Burrow's 11 in his first three games (and Burrow went on to set the FBS single-season record for most passing touchdowns). Winning in his first SEC road start pushed Young above fellow Heisman hopeful Corral in the standings, but the two will battle head to head Oct. 2.