2021 Heisman Trophy Preview: Young leads the pack in group of 4 finalists originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
The four finalists for the 2021 Heisman Trophy were revealed on Monday, as Alabama sophomore quarterback Bryce Young, Michigan senior defensive end Aidan Hutchinson, Pitt senior quarterback Kenny Pickett and Ohio State freshman quarterback C.J. Stroud were all invited to Saturday night's award ceremony in New York.
Young leads the pack as the overwhelming favorite to take home college football's most prestigious award this year. He threw for 4,322 yards, 43 touchdowns and four interceptions, leading the Crimson Tide to a 12-1 record and an SEC championship.
Young is looking to become the second consecutive Alabama player and the first Crimson Tide quarterback to take home the award. Wide receiver DeVonta Smith won the 2020 Heisman, while quarterbacks Mac Jones (2020) and Tua Tavogolia (2018) were past finalists.
Hutchinson will look to become the second defensive player ever to win a Heisman Trophy and the first since fellow Michigan alum Charles Woodson in 1997. The senior DE was second in the nation in sacks with 14, behind only Alabama's Will Anderson. The 2021 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, Hutchinson had 33 solo tackles, 58 total tackles, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery this season. He starred in the Wolveriens' 42-27 upset win over Ohio State in Week 14, tallying three sacks and 15 QB pressures against the Buckeyes.
Pickett was named the 2021 ACC Player of the Year after leading the Panthers to their first-ever ACC title. He threw for 4,319 yards and 42 touchdowns, setting the single-season ACC record for TD passes. Pickett also broke Dan Marino's Pittsburgh school record for career touchdown passes, throwing for 81 in his five seasons with the Panthers.
Stroud ranked fifth in the FBS in touchdowns with 38 and eighth in the nation in passing yards (3.862) en route to winning Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year. If Stroud takes home the award, he would be the third freshman to win a Heisman Trophy after Florida State's Jameis Winston (2013) and Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel (2012).