Dwayne Haskins 4 Heisman
Saturday’s conference championship games taught us a few things. For one, Kyler Murray fears no person or situation, he’s a cold-blooded assassin. Secondly, as Tua bowed out of the Heisman race with a putrid performance capped off by an ankle injury — please name his Heisman moment — Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins finished booking his flight to New York with another incredible performance during the Buckeyes’ 45-24 victory over Northwestern. Though Kyler’s performance might have solidified Oklahoma taking home it’s second Heisman in the last two seasons, there’s a case to be made for a Haskins Heisman win.
Dwayne Haskins is the best pure passer in the nation. We’ve seen a host of talented quarterbacks walk through Urban Meyer’s programs, including No. 1 pick Alex Smith (Utah), Heisman trophy winner Tim Tebow (Florida) and a host of premier signal-callers who went on to star in the NFL. With that being said, none of them possessed the arm talent of Haskins. If we’re being frank, the only one in the zip code of Haskins when it comes to pure-pocket passing is Cardale Jones, who’s massive arm earned him the nickname “12 Gauge.”
On Saturday, the world got a chance to see what Ohio State fans got the pleasure of watching all year. For me ( a Buckeyes fan since the Andy Katzenmoyer days), it was bittersweet, as the most pro-ready quarterback in program history tore up Northwestern without breaking a sweat (something he’s done vs. every opponent this year). If you wanted darts from the pocket with pressure in his face, Haskins delivered a host of lasers despite the presence of looming defenders. If you were looking to see if Haskins could escape pressure, keep his eyes downfield and make accurate throws on the run, he gave you those too, including a couple of touchdown passes in which he put forth a Houdini act before uncoiling dimes . The results of the Haskins highlight tape? 34-of-41 for 499 yards and five touchdowns. Are you not entertained??
Like I said, this wasn’t any new development. In fact, he gave us glimpses of his talent last season when he dazzled against Michigan in The Game, leading Ohio State to a come-from-behind victory after J.T. Barrett went down with injury. With a full offseason to get comfortable and a veteran group of receivers at his disposal, Haskins proved his efforts in Ann Arbor as a redshirt freshman weren’t a fluke. In fact it was the beginning of a reign of dominance unseen from a Buckeyes field general.
In Ohio State’s season-opening win over Oregon State, he shredded the Beavers for 313 yards and five touchdowns. In his next outing, a contest against Rutgers, a team that had recruited him heavily, as he grew up in nearby Piscataway, he completed all but three passes and finished with four scoring tosses. He then went on to defeat Penn State in Happy Valley and thrash the No. 1 ranked Wolverines defense to the tune of six touchdown passes and 396 yards to close out the season. When the damage was done, the sophomore had set more than 20 Buckeyes records, smashed conference marks for total yards and a touchdowns and finished tops in the nation in passing yards (4,580), touchdown throws (47) while finishing sixth in completion percentage (70.2) -- this is while being ranked second in the country in attempts (496) -- over 100 attempts more than both Tua and Kyler.
Naysayers may attempt to discredit Haskins’ sensational year by talking about Ohio State’s 29-point loss to Purdue. You need not pay that any mind. I mean, it’s the low-hanging fruit, considering he still put up a 470 passing yards and a pair of touchdown tosses. Besides that, there’s little to discredit the signal-caller. He broke Big Ten records set by proverbial NFL-record breaker Drew Brees. He passed tests in Happy Valley, AT&T Stadium (TCU) and East Lansing (Michigan State). He led the nation in multiple categories. And he also proved to have the most NFL upside of all the college quarterbacks. I know Kyler’s been great, but the case for Dwayne may be too good to be overlooked.