Heisman Power Rankings: Uiagalelei quieting doubters early
The college football season is already five weeks old, and the race for the stiff-arm trophy is taking shape. Though this list is dominated by passers, four of the Power 5 conferences are represented in theScore's first installment of the Heisman Power Rankings.
Here are the top five candidates through Week 5:
5. Caleb Williams, QB, USC
- 1,402 passing yards, 67.3% completion, 15 total TD, 1 INT
The highly touted signal-caller has lived up to his offseason billing since transferring from Oklahoma to USC. With Williams and head coach Lincoln Riley directing the offense, the Trojans rank top 10 in the country by averaging 42.2 points per contest.
Williams picked apart Arizona State in his most recent outing, completing 73% of his pass attempts for a season-high 348 yards while adding four scores (three passing, one rushing). The sophomore's dual-threat ability provides an added dimension to a USC offense that rarely features its passer as a legitimate threat in the run game.
The Trojans face a true test on Oct. 15 when they square off with Utah, but Saturday's matchup against a plucky Washington State team can't be overlooked. Excluding their shootout loss to Oregon, the Cougars have limited the opposition to the second-fewest points per game in the Pac-12 (18.2).
4. Hendon Hooker, QB, Tennessee
- 1,193 passing yards, 71.7% completion, 11 total TD, 0 INT
Tennessee has vaulted back into relevancy thanks to stellar play from its star under center. Hooker has answered the call for the Volunteers at every opportunity, elevating them with four total touchdowns in a win against Florida to help the program reach the AP Top 10 for the first time since 2016.
Hooker has thrown at least two touchdowns in every contest to begin the 2022 campaign, all while denying the opposition any opportunities with untimely interceptions. He boasts an SEC-best 183.73 passer rating.
The Volunteers' schedule gets more difficult over the next couple of weeks as they travel to LSU before hosting Alabama. But aren't those difficult matchups perfect for forging Heisman moments?
3. DJ Uiagalelei, QB, Clemson
- 1,242 passing yards, 65.4% completion, 14 total TD, 1 INT
Clemson's signal-caller entered his third season facing questions about his capabilities after a disappointing 2021 campaign.
Uiagalelei delivered a statement performance against Wake Forest with five touchdowns and 371 passing yards in a back-and-forth ACC Atlantic contest. He followed that stellar outing by notching three scores against NC State. With 11 passing touchdowns in five games, Uiagalelei has already surpassed his 2021 total of nine.
The Tigers will leave the friendly confines of Death Valley for a pair of road trips, starting with Boston College on Saturday before traveling to Tallahassee to face Florida State. Uiagalelei should improve his numbers against both opponents ahead of an intriguing clash with Syracuse and a road game against Notre Dame.
2. Bryce Young, QB, Alabama
- 1,202 passing yards, 67.2% completion, 17 total TD, 3 INT
Surprise, surprise: The reigning Heisman Trophy winner cracks the initial top five. With apologies to head coach Nick Saban, Alabama's superb signal-caller has earned this helping of "rat poison."
Through five games in a stellar second season, Young has passed for 17 touchdowns and 1,202 yards. Unfortunately, the junior sustained a sprained shoulder early in the Crimson Tide's win over Arkansas and did not return. He's considered day-to-day ahead of a conference showdown with Texas A&M.
Young has thrown three fewer touchdowns and one more interception than he did after five games last season. And, aside from an epic drive late against Texas, the prolific signal-caller doesn't have many signature moments yet. Still, the heart of the SEC schedule should give the reigning Heisman winner ample opportunity to make his case in 2022.
1. C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State
- 1,376 passing yards, 68.7% completion, 18 total TD, 2 INT
There might not be another quarterback in the country who has more pass-catching talent around him than Stroud. He continues to keep the Ohio State faithful more than happy, and he's doing so without much contribution from injured star wideout Jaxon Smith-Njigba.
The 2021 Heisman Trophy finalist has 18 touchdowns through his first five games, a run that includes conference wins over Wisconsin and Notre Dame. Conference play hasn't posed much of a challenge for the third-year passer, who's recorded 434 total yards in Big 10 competition to date.
Ohio State opted to ride the legs of Miyan Williams to a historic performance in its 49-10 rout of Rutgers; the Buckeyes won't play another top-50 defense until their road game against Penn State on Oct. 29. Stroud should continue to propel the nation's No. 1 scoring offense (48.8 points per game) while padding his stats.