Welcome to the Year of the Defender.

Any football historian will tell you that 1983 NFL The draft was a veritable “Year of the Quarterback,” as six college signal-callers — highlighted by John Elway, Jim Kelly and Dan Marino — were selected in the first round after impressive performances in 1982. college football season.

Fast-forward 40 years, and we could be looking at another loaded quarterback class, led by a pair of players dubbed “generational talents.”

Ohio State‘s CJ Stroud and Alabama‘s Bryce Young are among the favorites to win this year’s Heisman Trophy, but according to FOX Sports college football analyst Joel Klattthere are many other names that are in play in the conversation.

In the last episode of “The Joel Klatt Show.”

[Heisman Watch: Blake Corum, Adrian Martinez on the rise]


Ohio State QB CJ Stroud

Statistics for 2022: 1,376 passing yards, 18 passing touchdowns, two interceptions.

What Klatt said: “It’s a simple matter. This guy is the best quarterback in the country right now. He’s the best quarterback in the country and this is the best offense in the country. He will be there as long as they continue to play it the way they will.

“He had to deal with the fact that the running back that we felt was going to carry the bulk of the load, didn’t… TreVeyon Henderson — and he didn’t have a better offensive weapon, Jackson Smith-Njigba. So he’s doing that by putting himself at the top of this race, even without his best skill player.”

Alabama QB Bryce Young

Statistics for 2022: 1,202 passing yards, 14 passing touchdowns, three interceptions, 154 rushing yards, three rushing touchdowns.

What Klatt said: “It’s a simple matter. He’s a Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback, though we now question his status moving forward. He can play through this injury. He will return to the field and continue to be very effective.

“Bryce Young won the Heisman Trophy in large part because he had incredible numbers last year. And the hard part of trying to defend it or win it in recent years is that a lot of voters will hold I don’t think that’s the right way to vote or look at it, but I at least recognize the reality that probably as will look voters in Bryce Young.

“He’s going to have to get better and then he’s going to have to play some monster games in the middle of that schedule. He’s a guy who’s going to be there until the end.”

USC QB Caleb Williams

Statistics for 2022: 1,402 passing yards, 12 passing touchdowns, one interception, 144 rushing yards, three rushing touchdowns.

What Klatt said: “I’m sorry for our fans, but listen, that’s the name of the game. Caleb Williams is clearly playing himself into the Heisman conversation and he’s at Tier 1. I think not admitting it’s just being a hater. It’s pretty clear that without a great defense, the Trojans’ offense is the show, and he’s the trigger man.

“I think he’s the type of guy who can have milestones ahead of him, so be it Utah, UCLA, the Pac-12 championship game. There are a lot of voters who are going to look at Caleb Williams and say, ‘Man, you’re changing.’ It’s pretty clear from where they came from a year ago and where they are now.”

Who is leading the Heisman Trophy race?

Joel Klatt reflects on the college football season and ranks his top Heisman Trophy candidates.


Michigan RB Blake Sorum

Statistics for 2022: 611 yards, 10 touchdowns, four catches, 20 yards.

What Klatt said: “Two weeks ago against Maryland, he should have been an absolute call for Michigan. They don’t like to do that, by the way. Maryland … they were going to be very tough that day in the Big House if Blake Corum wasn’t going to play great and he did.

“Then they go to IowaNo. 1 defense in the country, this is an Iowa defense that is clearly one of the best defenses in the country, and this guy had 29 carries for over 100 yards.

So he missed 59 carries for 376 yards in as many weeks. This is sensational stuff, folks. He has all the steps in front of him to get himself into that conversation.”

Kansas QB Jaylon Daniels

Statistics for 2022: 983 passing yards, 11 touchdowns, one interception, 329 rushing yards, five rushing touchdowns.

What Klatt said: “This is my favorite story in college football. Jalon Daniels was outstanding for Kansas. He is the reason they are an undefeated Game Day team. This week’s snap for the Jayhawks is all about Jalon Daniels being so good. It’s not just his ability to throw the ball, but his ability as a runner. He’s rushing for over seven yards per carry and has five touchdowns.

“Jelan Daniels may not need his team to be great at the top because Kansas’ story is very much in college football, and rightfully so. Maybe he just needs to lead his team to an eight- or nine-win season in order to go to New York, and that would be a big deal for Kansas.

“I don’t think it’s that important for his team that he has those big scenes. It doesn’t really matter that his team is playing for a championship or a playoff spot because they’re 5-0 because of this kid. They’ve been at the bottom of the barrel and they’ve risen to the point where they’re playing big games in October thanks to Jalon Daniels.”

Tennessee QB Hendon Hooker

Statistics for 2022: 1,193 passing yards, eight passing touchdowns, zero interceptions, 175 rushing yards, three rushing touchdowns.

What Klatt said: “I just think he played great football. I think Tennessee is a bit of fool’s gold, unfortunately. I don’t think they’re going to get through that stretch. This isn’t the year they’re going to make a run, partly because of their schedule. But that doesn’t mean you don’t recognize what Hendon Hooker has done up to this point.”

Kansas State QB Adrian Martinez

Statistics for 2022: 654 passing yards, three touchdowns, 469 rushing yards, nine rushing touchdowns.

What Klatt said: “He’s one that’s going to raise some eyebrows, but he’s played unbelievable the last couple of weeks. This game vs Oklahoma was transcendental.

“I also think it’s an amazing comeback story. Based on what he did Nebraska, what ended with Scott Frost and that fan base to show up at Kansas State is clearly shy early in the season and not play his best and then show it the way he did against Oklahoma on the road. This is great stuff and I love it. He came to life.”

Adrian Martinez fakes a pass and runs for a TD

Kansas State QB Adrian Martinez fakes a pass and rushes for a 6-yard touchdown against Oklahoma.


Clemson QB DJ Uiagalelei

Statistics for 2022: 1,242 passing yards, 11 passing touchdowns, one interception, 242 rushing yards, three rushing touchdowns.

What Klatt said: “I thought he was outstanding the last couple of weeks. The problem is they don’t have a lot of marquee games in the weak ACC from here on out.”

UCLA QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson

Statistics for 2022: 1,211 passing yards, 11 passing touchdowns, one interception, 223 rushing yards, three rushing touchdowns.

What Klatt said: “How about the way he played against Washington? He has a stint against Utah this week. This UCLA team is undefeated and DTR is playing very well. He has a chance.”

Alabama RB Jamir Gibbs

Statistics for 2022: 378 rushing yards, two rushing touchdowns, 207 receiving yards, three receiving touchdowns.

What Klatt said: “Without Bryce Young this week and maybe the next few weeks, they’re going to do the same. You are literally reading Nick Saban’s lips as he yelled. I think Jameer Gibbs is in for a monster few weeks and can play himself into that conversation.

Oklahoma State QB Spencer Sanders

Statistics for 2022: 1,097 passing yards, 11 passing touchdowns, two interceptions, 185 rushing yards, four rushing touchdowns.

What Klatt said: “Anyone mention Oklahoma State?” They are really good. They just hang out in the top 10 and nobody notices. He (Sanders) is playing very good football and eventually they will be there.”

Spencer Sanders finds Bryson Green for TD

Oklahoma State QB Spencer Sanders connected with Bryson Green on a nice 7-yard pass.

Georgia TE Brock Bowers

Statistics for 2022: 20 receptions, 342 receiving yards, two receiving touchdowns, 82 rushing yards, three rushing touchdowns.

What Klatt said: “If he continues to perform as he has, he will play himself into the conversation.”

TCU QB Max Dagan

Statistics for 2022: 997 passing yards, 11 passing touchdowns, 149 passing yards, two rushing touchdowns.

What Klatt said: “They were fantastic against Oklahoma last week at home, and now they get the stage against Kansas in an undefeated game in Lawrence.”

Read more:

Can UCLA, Kansas or Tennessee go undefeated?

– Red River Showdown: Oklahoma and Texas storylines to watch

– Inside Steve Sarkisian’s magic touch developing a QB

– Michigan-Indiana, Oklahoma-Texas: Week 6 CFB by the numbers

– High Noon: Everything you need to know about Michigan-Indiana

– When elite teams find themselves lacking, opportunities arise for Ohio State, USC and others

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