Earlier in the season, I had a weekly Heisman tracker for Haskins. He was pretty much running top three in the rankings, and a few “bad” weeks from him, and many were jumping ship and listing other candidates. With two masterful performances in a row against Maryland and the top ranked defense in the country in Michigan, Haskins has once again cemented himself right back into the rankings. With one more chance to impress the voters on Saturday night against Northwestern, Haskins deserves to be invited to New York to celebrate the best year an Ohio State quarterback has ever had.
In terms my Heisman rankings heading into championship weekend, my order would be:
1. Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama
2. Kyler Murray, Oklahoma
3. Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State
4. Gardiner Minshew, Washington State
5. Will Grier, West Virginia
Let’s start with Tua at number one. He has had a dominating year, and has been the Heisman favorite since coming in last season and winning the National Championship for Alabama. He has 36 touchdowns and only two interceptions, and the numbers would be even more eye popping if he played in the fourth quarter of games, due to Alabama blowing everybody out. Also, add another five touchdowns rushing the ball. The argument against Tua is that Alabama would still be undefeated with Jalen Hurts at quarterback, due to that defense and just the skilled offensive players they have. That probably is true, but Tua has taken this Alabama offense from good, to one of the best in the country. Unless he lays an egg against Georgia and loses the game, I do not see how Tua is not the 2018 Heisman Trophy winner.
Murray and Haskins have battled for my number two spot all season. However, after Haskins and the Buckeyes lost to Purdue, it seemed Murray became the other media darling with any type of chance of passing Tua for the top spot. What we have seen from Murray has been incredible, it’s the best dual threat season quarterback season possibly of all time. He has 37 touchdowns throwing the football, as well another 11 on the ground to go with 853 rushing yards heading into their championship game. The argument against Murray has been “it’s just the Oklahoma system,” which is basically saying, Baker Mayfield won the Heisman last year and put up these incredible numbers, we should not be surprised that Murray is doing it as well. Well for starters, Murray is having a better year than Mayfield did. The last argument against Murray is that the defense is bad (which is true) so he has to score 50 points a game and that somehow is not impressive. Both claims are bad, and Murray’s season is something we probably do not see again for a while.
With Haskins, a dominant last two weeks has put him firmly over my final five of Gardiner and Grier. On the season, Haskins has 41 touchdowns and only seven interceptions, to go along with four rushing touchdowns. He has more passing yards than Tua and Murray, but also more attempts. The argument against Haskins has been 1. “He’s a screen and short yard thrower”, 2. Also the same “defense is bad claim” that Murray has gotten, and 3. The Buckeyes offseason trouble giving Haskins and the team a potential negative image. The Buckeyes have a ton of speed options, and a quarterback would have to be a fool to not use them. Yes, Haskins has gotten some easy touchdowns on some pitches and short yard throws, but he has also been one of the best deep ball passers in college football this season. Without Haskins, who knows how many games the Buckeyes lose, making “the defense is bad” claim, in fact, wrong. Over the course of the season, he has had three legitimate Heisman moments (second half @ Penn State, whole Maryland game, and whole Michigan game). Him and Murray will be battling for the second spot on the ballet, and whoever has the better performance and potentially gets his team into the college football playoffs could help decide this all.
Gardiner and Grier have both also had great years and deserve their recognition. My biggest gripe is over the last few years is the Heisman Trophy celebration in New York has many times only included a few players. Last year only three were invited. This year, all five deserve to be invited to New York to celebrate their tremendous seasons and accomplishments.
So yes, Haskins might not take home the hardware this season, but he 100% deserves an invitation to New York as a top three finisher for the award.
(Image via 247 Sports)