Ohio State quarterback CJ Stroud is once again a finalist for the Heisman award. After finishing fourth in voting last season, he now has his sights set on taking the award home this 2022.

The 2022 Heisman class features several elite talents. Stroud will be going against TCU’s Max Duggan, Georgia’s Stetson Bennett, and USC’s Caleb Williams.

During the 2021 season, CJ Stroud proved just how good he can be. While leading Ohio State to an 11-2 record, and a Rose Bowl victory over Utah, Stroud put together one of the better seasons in Ohio State history.

Stroud finished the 2021 campaign throwing for 4,435 passing yards, 44 touchdowns and just six interceptions.

With the success that CJ Stroud found last season, it is worth noting who he was surrounded by. Stroud has the luxury of throwing to two first-round talents in Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson. Star wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba was also in the mix. This pass-catching trio combined for 230 receptions for 3,600 receiving yards and 35 touchdowns.

Following the success of his 2021 season, expectations were sky-high for CJ Stroud heading into 2022. Even with the loss of both Olave and Wilson, he was once again expected to put up big numbers. And he did exactly that.

Why CJ Stroud Must Win Heisman Trophy

In 2022, with an injury-riddled group around him, CJ Stroud led Ohio State to an 11-1 record and a trip to the college football playoffs. A Peach Bowl victory over Stetson Bennett and the Georgia Bulldogs would earn Ohio State a trip to the national championship.

Throughout the 2022 season, CJ Stroud and Ohio State ran through their schedule. Ultimately, they won 11 straight games, taking down notable teams such as Notre Dame and Penn State. Their one and only loss came to Michigan in the final week of the regular season. In a one-sided game, Ohio State fell 45-23.

Even in Ohio State’s lone loss of the season, Stroud ultimately left everything on the field. He threw for 349 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions in the game.

Live and breathe sports?

🚨 Get viral graphics, memes, rumors and trending sports news delivered right to your inbox with the Clutch Newsletter.

Looking past their lone loss, CJ Stroud once again led Ohio State to an elite season. The offense averaged 44.5 points per game, the second most in all of division one.

Heading into the playoffs, Stroud has thrown for 3,340 passing yards, 37 touchdowns, and just six interceptions.

Much of the success that Stroud found this season came without his go-to target from the 2021 season. Jaxon Smith-Njigba was limited to just three games with a hamstring injury. When on the field, he recorded just five receptions for 43 receiving yards.

In the place of Smith-Njigba, CJ Stroud turned to the next pass catcher on the roster. This proved to be rising star Marvin Harrison Jr.

Harrison finished the season catching 72 passes for 1,157 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns. There is an argument to be made that the offensive duo of CJ Stroud and Marvin Harrison Jr. was the best in the nation.

Next to Harrison, Emeka Egbuka also broke out. Stroud and Egbuka connected 66 times for 1,039 receiving yards and nine touchdowns.

When looking at what Stroud was able to do on a weekly basis, his Heisman campaign grows even stronger. While working almost exclusively from the pocket, Stroud was able to pick apart even the best defenses. He threw for more than 340 passing yards in five of their 11 games. Along with this, he had six games with four or more passing touchdowns.

At times throughout the season, Stroud looked to be by far the best quarterback in the nation. From weeks two through seven, he threw for 1,800 yards, 26 touchdowns, and just four interceptions.

When looking at the recent history of Ohio State quarterbacks, there have been several notable players to take the field. Justin Fields, Dwayne Haskins, J.T Barrett, Cardale Jones, and Braxton Miller all put together elite resumes. But there is an argument to be made that Stroud is ultimately the best of the bunch.

CJ Stroud, while facing off against elite candidates, has done more than enough to take home the 2022 Heisman trophy. With each quarterback putting together a strong campaign, there is a discussion to be made for all of them. But Stroud has managed to separate himself from the pack on several occasions. Earning the Heisman could be the perfect segway into the playoffs for this Ohio State team that is currently on a mission. It would also help cement Stroud’s legacy among the best quarterbacks in recent history. With his eyes likely set on the NFL Draft, this is also likely his last opportunity to take home the award.