While Young is considered by many experts to be the favorite after carrying the Alabama Crimson Tide to the top seed in the four-team College Football Playoff, this year’s race for the Heisman has generally been more wide-open than in seasons past.
Hutchinson is the Big Ten defensive player of the year and the only non-quarterback to be named a finalist. Both the last Wolverine and the last defensive player to win the Heisman was cornerback Charles Woodson in 1997, and the most recent Michigan player to be named a finalist — Jabrill Peppers in 2016 — also played defense.
Pickett led the Panthers to a Peach Bowl berth and their first-ever ACC title this season, with the team last winning a share of the conference championship in 2010 in the Big East. Pickett is the school’s first Heisman finalist since Larry Fitzgerald in 2003 and would join Tony Dorsett as the only winners of the trophy at Pitt.
Stroud is Ohio State’s first finalist since teammates Justin Fields and Chase Young in 2019, and is the only freshman in this year’s class. The Big Ten offensive player of the year and his Buckeyes will face the Utah Utes on New Year’s Day in the Rose Bowl.
This season’s College Football Playoff semifinals on December 31 will feature two of the four finalists. Young’s Crimson Tide will play the undefeated Cincinnati Bearcats in the Cotton Bowl Classic, while Hutchinson’s Wolverines will face the Georgia Bulldogs in the Orange Bowl.