Before Alabama quarterback Bryce Young carved up Vanderbilt’s overmatched defense to the tune of 391 all-purpose yards and 3 passing touchdowns in just 3 quarters in their SEC opener on September 24, a former Heisman Trophy winner snubbed him with an over-exaggeration of a hot-take regarding one of the Crimson Tide’s biggest rivals.
According to Robert Griffin III, who won the award back in 2011 for the Baylor Bears, it is Tennessee’s signal-caller that has taken a big lead in the race for college football’s most coveted awards.
“Hendon Hooker is the runaway Heisman Favorite after today’s performance,” tweeted Griffin following the Volunteers’ 38-33 victory over Florida.
Hendon Hooker is the runaway Heisman Favorite after todays performance.
— Robert Griffin III (@RGIII) September 24, 2022
https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.jsHooker went off for 349 passing yards, 112 rushing yards, 2 passing touchdowns and 1 rushing touchdown while completing 78.6% of his throws against the Gators. With that said, Young likely could have surpassed those numbers, albeit against inferior SEC East competition.
No One Runs Away as a Heisman Favorite in Week 4
What would college football coverage be if not a collection of overreactions throughout the season? Teams will skyrocket and drop down/out of the AP Top 25 at the drop of a dime, with Florida’s Week 1 win over Utah and Texas’ narrow Week 2 loss against Alabama getting them into the Top 25 from an unranked spot illustrating that point. Neither team will be in the post-Week 4 rankings following losses on September 24.
Robert Griffin III is an ESPN commentator whose job these days is to promote engagement and bring eyeballs to the games he calls week in and week out. His Hendon Hooker take is another example of that.
This isn’t to take away from what Hooker did. Albeit against a Florida defense that struggled against the run against USF on September 17, he put up historic numbers and looked the part of a future NFL star. Until he is able to do that consistently against conference opponents, most notably against their primary SEC East roadblock Georgia and against their ‘Third Saturday in October’ opponent Alabama, Hooker hasn’t run away with anything.
Hendon Hooker Has Narrative Edge Over Bryce Young
Alabama had never produced a Heisman quarterback until Bryce Young, and now the Crimson Tide could have a 2x winner from under center if No. 9 can continue to put up similar stat lines to his September 24 destruction of Vanderbilt. With that said, there will be a battle beyond just outshining his competition on the field.
If Young is to win the award once more, he will need to play a perfect hand for the rest of the season. The Heisman committee will prefer a fresh face from a program that is reviving a storied history with a second-year starter in Hendon Hooker playing for a second-year head coach in Josh Heupel. Going undefeated could be necessary for Young to be a back-to-back winner — the first since Archie Griffin achieved that feat in 1974 and 1975. Griffin is the only 2-time winner.
Even on his own team, Young has significant competition for the Heisman. Will Anderson and Jamyr Gibbs figure to factor into the conversation — though they face an uphill climb themselves considering 9 of the last 11 winners, including Robert Griffin III, were quarterbacks.