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On Saturday night, one quarterback will etch his name into college football history, winning the Heisman Trophy, perhaps the most historic individual awards in all of sports. Earlier this week Kyler Murray, Tua Tagovailoa, and Dwayne Haskins were named finalists for the prestigious award. Although three young men will make the trip to New York, it seems to be a two-man race between Murray (-160) and Tagovailoa (+120) leaving Haskins (+2500) likely in line for a third-place finish. The media has been infatuated with the two frontrunners throughout the year, giving Haskins little respect in regards to the award as the season has grown. Let’s take a look at why Haskins should be earning more votes atop the leaderboard come Saturday night.
In Dwayne Haskins’ lone year as starting quarterback for Ohio State, all he has done is have perhaps the greatest year by a quarterback in Big Ten history breaking several school and conference records along the way. Haskins completed nearly 71% of his passes tying him with Murray for one of the leaders in the entire nation. Despite leading the trio of finalists in interceptions thrown, Haskins was able to outnumber the other finalists by throwing for 47 passing TD’s compared to 40 and 37 for Murray and Tagovailoa respectively. This mark was enough to break Drew Brees’ 1998 Big Ten single-season record of 39 passing TD’s. Haskins also leads the pack in passing yards. The Ohio State quarterback threw for nearly 4600 yards breaking Curtis Painter’s Big Ten record set in 2006, edging out Murray by 500 and Tagovailoa by 1200. Overall, nearly every passing category puts Haskins at the top among his fellow Heisman finalists.
While Haskins has all the passing numbers locked in his favor, he seems to be losing ground when it comes to playmaking ability and flare. Although we saw Haskins pull the ball and run downfield more frequently later in the season, the traditional pocket passer lacks the natural running ability the other two possess. Haskins combined for a mere 122 yards rushing while dual sport superstar, Kyler Murray rushed for nearly 900 yards while adding 11 TD’s to his total. Despite the lack of rushing yards, Haskins was able to add 4 rushing TD’s to his total, tying him with Murray for first in the nation in total touchdowns. As we live in a sports world driven by crazy highlights and dual-threat ability, the cool and collected Haskins didn’t seem to make enough plays with his feet to attract the media and Heisman voters alike.
Aside from the numbers, the most obvious reason Haskins isn’t receiving the credit he deserves is due to the overall success of his team. Despite putting up record-breaking numbers, the Ohio State team hasn’t lived up to the potential they had heading into the season. The unreliable defense has kept Haskins and the offense fighting for games late into the fourth quarter, resulting in ugly wins throughout their schedule. In recent years the Heisman has transformed to the “most outstanding player” to being the quarterback on perhaps the nations best team. Unlike Murray and Tagovailoa, Haskins will be unable to fight for the right to say his team is the best as they were left out of the College Football Playoff for a third straight season.
All three Heisman finalists had fantastic years, leading their teams to conference championships and incredible individual performances. I couldn’t blame voters for choosing one candidate over the others, however, with all three finalists being quarterbacks, I feel the passing categories should hold more weight over everything else. The numbers and records Dwayne Haskins has been able to produce have been nothing short of spectacular in the 13 games Haskins suited up for the Buckeyes. It would be a shame if the voters did not seriously consider him as the “most outstanding player” in all of college football for the 2018 season.