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Heisman Watch, Week 8: It’s a quarterback party at the top of the race

Bryce Young and Matt Corral still lead the way, but more quarterbacks are rising as the Heisman race heats up.

Clemson v Pittsburgh
 Kenny Pickett of the Pittsburgh Panthers reacts after rushing for a first down in the fourth quarter during the game against the Clemson Tigers at Heinz Field on October 23, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images

It was a banner week for the top quarterbacks in the Heisman Trophy race in Week 8, with additional signal callers joining the mix. Some prominent skill players were off this week but could re-enter the picture next week. For now, it’s becoming a race between quarterbacks for college football’s greatest individual honor. The coming weeks will create more separation for some players, with the unveiling of the College Football Playoff rankings throwing another element into the mix.

Here’s a look at some of the contenders for the award after Week 8, and their odds from DraftKings Sportsbook.

Bryce Young, QB, Alabama (+180)

Stock: Steady

Young helped Alabama roll past Tennessee 52-24 with 371 yards and two passing touchdowns. He also added two scores on the ground and remains the odds-on favorite to win the award. The Crimson Tide have an off week before the money showdown against LSU. The Tigers are not what they typically are this season but still present a challenge for Young in a rivalry game.

Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss (+200)

Stock: Steady

Corral was not impressive from a numbers standpoint against LSU, but he did help Ole Miss snap a five-game losing streak in the Magnolia Bowl. That counts as a signature moment for the Rebels gunslinger, and everything remains in front of him when it comes to expectations. Ole Miss gets Auburn next, which is another big test for Corral. If he and the Rebels can successfully navigate that challenge, the Egg Bowl will possibly be his final opportunity to impress the committee.

Sam Hartman, QB, Wake Forest (+6000)

Stock: Up

Hartman was in the Heisman conversation earlier this year, but Wake Forest had some close calls and the quarterback was somewhat forgotten. That changed in Week 8, when Hartman threw for 458 yards and five touchdowns in a 70-49 win over Army. That win and Wake Forest remaining unbeaten has thrust Hartman into the Heisman spotlight. The Demon Deacons have Clemson, NC State and North Carolina left on the schedule. If Hartman carries Wake Forest to the ACC title game, he’s a real threat to win this award.

Kenny Pickett, QB, Pitt (+1400)

Stock: Up

Pickett keeps marching on and racking up key moments in this race. He threw for 302 yards and two touchdowns in a 27-17 win over Clemson, which would normally be a cause for massive celebration, but Pitt was actually favored in the game. The Panthers look destined for a spot in the ACC title game, and Pickett could have some gaudy numbers when the season is all said and done. North Carolina and Virginia remain the tough contests for the Panthers.

CJ Stroud, QB, Ohio State (+600)

Stock: Steady

Stroud keeps on putting up big numbers, adding 266 yards and four touchdowns in a blowout win over Indiana. The Buckeyes have recovered nicely after a surprising loss to Oregon in Week 2, so Stroud’s Heisman chances are right where they should be. The Big Ten is going to sort itself out in the coming weeks, which means Stroud has the chance to tack on some signature moments. The big showdown against Michigan comes at the end of the season, but Stroud still has to manage Penn State and Michigan State before that contest.

Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati (+2500)

Stock: Down

It’s hard to say Ridder’s stock is down, because Cincinnati did exactly what it needed to when it comes to playoff expectations. The quarterback was off in a win over Navy, throwing for 176 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. When you’re trying to break into a field of heavy hitters, you have to put up style points. Ridder frankly did not do that. He’ll still have some important games to raise his chances, with the contest against SMU being the biggest of them.

Blake Corum, RB, Michigan (+13000)

Stock: Up

Corum’s numbers are naturally going to be capped due to the presence of Haasan Haskins, but both Michigan running backs are doing well this season. Corum added 119 yards and two touchdowns in a win over Northwestern, adding to his already massive numbers this season. He also got 23 receiving yards. The Wolverines are undefeated in large part due to the production from Corum and Haskins. A win in next week’s contest against Michigan State will do a lot for both players and the team as a whole in terms of national goals.

Caleb Williams, QB, Oklahoma (+1500)

Stock: Down

Williams actually saw his stock go up slightly in terms of odds, but let’s put this in proper context. The Oklahoma quarterback had an off day with 178 yards, two touchdowns and one interception in what was a surprisingly close game against Kansas. Add in the fact that Williams is going to play substantially less games than everyone else on the list, he has to put up big numbers in every outing. The Sooners are still alive when it comes to bigger season expectations, but Williams can’t afford another down week the rest of the season.

He also had one of the more memorable plays of the season on fourth down and 1 to seal the game today.

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