Heisman power rankings: Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud and the top 10 preseason candidates

Heisman Trophy. (Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images)
Heisman Trophy. (Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images) /
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Heisman Power Rankings
COLUMBUS, OHIO – NOVEMBER 20: Jaxon Smith-Njigba #11 of the Ohio State Buckeyes celebrates a first half touchdown with Thayer Munford #75 while playing the Michigan State Spartans at Ohio Stadium on November 20, 2021 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

Preseason Heisman power rankings for the 2022 season as we look at the best players in college football with the chance to take home the award. 

At the end of July, we saw the college football awards watchlists start to roll out one by one, but the truth of the matter is that many fans largely care about one award, the most prestigious individual honor in the sport: the Heisman Trophy.

The 2022 campaign will be another season in which we try to see if we can get our first back-to-back winner since the mid-1970s and Archie Griffin as Bryce Young returns to Alabama for another season and with the situation in front of him to take advantage of. With that said, the race for the Heisman looks as if it will be more crowded than ever given the caliber of players in line to vie for it.

But who are those players? We could easily go down the odds board but, instead, we’re going off my perception of these players, their situations and what they could accomplish this season as we start the year off with the preseason Heisman power rankings for 2022.

Heisman power rankings, No. 10: Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State

The numbers that Jaxon Smith-Njigba could potentially put up in the Buckeyes offense as the unquestioned top target could be unreal in the 2022 season. Even last season with Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson still there to catch passes, Smith-Njigba finished the season with 1,606 yards on 95 catches and scoring nine touchdowns in 13 games.

Most importantly, though, there is a lot of stock being put into his record-setting Rose Bowl performance when he, as Wilson and Olave opted out and made Smith-Njigba the WR1 for the matchup, lit up Utah for 15 catches, 347 yards and three scores.

Other talented pass-catchers are there in the Ohio State offense but JSN is by far the most proven. The biggest thing hurting his Heisman candidacy, though, is the fact that the guy throwing him the football should have a pretty strong case for the award as well.

Heisman power rankings, No. 9: Jahmyr Gibbs, RB, Alabama

Full disclosure, when compiling this preseason Top 10, the No. 9 spot was between three running backs: Texas’ Bijan Robinson, Ohio State’s TreVeyon Henderson and Alabama’s Jahmyr Gibbs. But I ended up going with the newcomer to the Crimson Tide because of the combination of talent and role in the offense.

While Robinson and Henderson are tremendous talents, they have more competition in a Heisman race within their own offense. Yes, Gibbs is in the backfield with the reigning winner, but he’s also on an offense with a group of unproven receivers, which could put the onus on him to be a playmaker.

Despite being part of an anemic Georgia Tech offense, Gibbs averaged 5.2 yards per carry and 13.0 yards per reception with 13 total scores over 19 games with the Yellow Jackets. Now in a better situation and with his physical tools, he could burst onto the scene and perhaps crash the party in New York.