CJ Stroud became a Heisman Trophy finalist on Monday night. That makes Stroud the third straight starting Ohio State quarterback to be named a Heisman finalist for the award.
The two previous starting quarterbacks in Columbus also earned invitations to New York. Dwayne Haskins and Justin Fields finaled in 2018 and 2019, respectively.
Chase Young was also a finalist in 2019, meaning Stroud is the fourth finalist for Ohio State in the last four seasons.
Ryan Day has been on the staff for all four of these New York appearances. He was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in 2018 when Haskins won an invitation, and he was also the interim head coach for the first three games. Fields, Young, and Stroud have finaled with Day as the full-time head coach.
Stroud Becomes Third Straight OSU QB Heisman Finalist
Oddly, Hasksins was Ohio State’s first finalist since Troy Smith won the award in 2006. No other Buckeyes have won it since then.
Stroud and Ohio State History
Ohio State has a long history with the trophy. No school has more, with only Oklahoma and Notre Dame matching Ohio State’s seven. The Buckeyes also boast the only two-time winner, Archie Griffin, who won it in 1974 and 1975.
In 2021, Stroud played in 11 games as a freshman. In those games, he completed 70.9 percent of his passes, threw for 3,862 yards, 38 touchdowns, and only five interceptions. His passing yards are second in a single season for Ohio State, behind only Haskins. He is behind both Haskins and Fields in single season touchdown passes, but sits at third place after his freshman season. Fields’ second-place figure is 41, so it’s entirely possible Stroud passes him in the Rose Bowl.
Stroud also trails Haskins for most yards in a single game, but earned the second-place spot in the record book. Haskins has five games with 400 or more passing yards, and Stroud is the only other quarterback with multiple such games. He is only one game behind Haskins with four.
In Ohio State’s blowout against Michigan State, Stroud became the fifth Ohio State quarterback to pass for six touchdowns in a single game. Haskins achieved this in his Heisman final year, and Fields did it the year after his. Stroud is tied with Haskins for most five-plus touchdown passes in a single game in Ohio State history.
In 2018, Haskins completed 70 percent of his passes for a school record 4,831 yards and 50 touchdowns in 14 games.
Fields finaled in 2019 after completing 67.2 percent of his passes for 3,273 yards, 41 touchdowns, and only three interceptions. His touchdown-to-interception ratio was the best in FBS that year, even better than Heisman winner Joe Burrow‘s. The only quarterbacks with fewer interceptions than Fields were Jayden Daniels and Trey Lance.
Young earned a finalist spot after getting a nation-leading 16.5 sacks, and seven forced fumbles in 2019.
The Rest of the 2021 Heisman Finalists
Young completed 68 percent of his passes for Alabama this year. He threw for 4,322 yards, 43 touchdowns, and only threw four picks. He had 13 games to put up those stats and to lead his team to the top seed in the College Football Playoff.
Given the success that Young had in 2021, he is the favorite to win the award.
Pickett also put up some impressive numbers while leading Pitt to their first ACC Championship. He had a 67.2 completion percentage, 4,319 yards, 42 touchdowns, and seven interceptions. His numbers are nearly identical to Young’s, but the Panthers will be watching the CFP from Pittsburgh.
Hutchinson is one of the best defensive players in college football, and he showed up against Ohio State. He had two sacks in “The Game,” giving him a total of 13 on the year. He also has 15.5 tackles for a loss and two forced fumbles.
Whether or not Stroud wins the award, he’s come a long way since that Thursday Night in September when he attempted his first college pass.