Jul 29, 2022; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Washington State Cougars quarterback Cameron Ward during Pac-12 Media Day at Novo Theater. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Heisman Trophy favorites aren’t hard to identify but these dark horse candidates have the potential to crash the party in New York in early December.

As we look at the 2022 college football season, the Heisman Trophy candidates are obviously a big topic of discussion, a discussion that is usually topped by three high-profile quarterbacks, Bryce Young of Alabama, C.J. Stroud from Ohio State, and Caleb Williams now at USC. And that’s rightfully so given that the first pair were finalists a year ago and Williams’ status as the starting QB in a Lincoln Riley offense.

But things don’t always go to plan in the Heisman race. Just last year, Spencer Rattler was the betting favorite entering the year. Meanwhile, the other two finalists with Young and Stroud, Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson and Pitt quarterback Kenny Pickett, weren’t on the radars of most anyone.

There is always room to crash the party in the Heisman Trophy race. And in that light, these 10 players are dark horses to do just that in the 2022 season.

Heisman dark horse No. 10: Cameron Ward, QB, Washington State

One of the most underrated unknowns of the season is Cameron Ward, a highly anticipated arrival in FBS as he comes to Pullman from Incarnate Word. And to be clear, the quarterback was absolutely electric at his previous stop.

Ward threw for 4,648 yards with 47 touchdowns and only 10 interceptions in the 2021 season after compiling 24 touchdowns and four interceptions in a shortened 2020 campaign. Now, he takes a step up in competition as he comes into the Pac-12, but talent travels no matter the league.

Perhaps the biggest hindrance for Ward is that Wazzu might not be a force in the conference. At the same time, though, if he balls out, that could change the fortunes of the Cougars and give him a stronger Heisman case.

Heisman dark horse No. 9: Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida

Most of last season in Gainesville was filled with cries from fans for Dan Mullen to make Anthony Richardson the starter. Whether it was a dance-related injury or Mullen’s general ineptitude, that never came to pass. But with Emory Jones now out of the picture, Richardson is the unquestioned man at the helm of the Gators offense. And his immense talent is hard to ignore.

Appearing sporadically in seven games last season, Richardson ended the year with 529 yards passing on 64 attempts with six scores and five picks. He also rushed for 401 yards on 51 attempts with three more scores.

Richardson is a dynamic and uber-athletic dual-threat quarterback who can pile up stats whenever he’s on the field. I do worry about his overall polish and the quality of Florida as a whole, but sometimes you just have to bank on talent, and Richardson has that in droves.

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