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Stetson Bennett Heisman

Is Stetson Bennett A Deserving Heisman Trophy Finalist?

  • Justin Melo
  • December 6, 2022
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The four finalists for the 2022 Heisman Trophy were revealed on Monday. The list features Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett, USC quarterback Caleb Williams, Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud, and TCU quarterback Max Duggan. It’s the first all-quarterback group of finalists since 2018. One of these candidates isn’t like the others. Bennett was a curious choice given the alternative options.

Bennett quarterbacks the defending national champion Bulldogs. Georgia enjoyed yet another perfect regular-season campaign en route to earning the No. 1 seed in the four-team College Football Playoff. The 2022 campaign has arguably been better to date for Georgia, who won this season’s SEC Championship, an accomplishment last season’s team failed to capture. The Heisman is an individual performance honor, however. Bennett’s candidacy benefited from college football’s strongest supporting cast.

Bennett is more of a game manager than an individual difference-maker. Bennett has thrown for 3,425 yards, 20 touchdowns, and six interceptions in 13 appearances this season. He’s averaging a rather pedestrian 263.4 passing yards and 1.5 passing touchdowns per output. Georgia head coach Kirby Smart rarely puts too much on Bennett’s plate.

Bennett’s numbers are awfully similar to last season, where the Atlanta native threw for 2,862 yards and 29 touchdowns. Bennett didn’t earn Heisman consideration in 2021, and 2022 should have been no different. Bennett benefits from one of college football’s most successful rushing attacks. A run-first offense, Georgia is currently averaging 207 rushing yards per contest. Nationally, they’re the 18th-ranked unit in that department.

There were several other candidates that were more deserving. Tennessee Volunteers quarterback Hendon Hooker is an obvious one. Hooker lit the college football world on fire this season. Hooker’s campaign was cut somewhat short due to a season-ending torn ACL injury, but his outputs were undeniable. Hooker thrived in Josh Heupel’s quarterback-friendly system by throwing for 3,135 yards and 27 touchdowns and just one interception. A dual-threat quarterback, Hooker had an additional 430 yards and five scores via the ground game.

Hooker oversaw a Volunteers program that was far more competitive than most pre-season analysts expected. Tennessee remained in the four-team playoff mix for the majority of the campaign. They even defeated Alabama for the first time since 2006. Hooker deserved to have his individual efforts recognized via a Heisman nomination.

Michigan running back Blake Corum is another snub. Corum has been electric for the Wolverines this season. Corum has rushed for 1,463 yards and 18 touchdowns via 247 carries. Corum is averaging a haunting 5.9 yards per carry. A late-season knee injury prevented Corum from leaving his mark in Michigan’s dominant victory over Ohio State in this year’s iteration of ‘The Game,’ but there’s no denying Corum’s contributions. Corum ranks eighth in the nation in rushing yards and third in touchdowns. As a unit, the Wolverines are averaging 243 rushing yards per contest (the nation’s sixth-ranked rushing attack). Corum has been at the forefront of Michigan’s ground-game success.

Bennett may help his Bulldogs earn back-to-back national championships—Georgia is the rightful favorite to win the CFP. Stetson Bennett will deserve his flowers if he leads Georgia to such a historic achievement in consecutive seasons. He simply isn’t a brilliant individual talent and is undeserving of Heisman Trophy consideration.

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Justin Melo