Ohio State's Chase Young, Justin Fields are Heisman Finalists
It takes a Heisman Trophy finalist to replace a Heisman Trophy finalist.
At least it does at Ohio State.
Quarterback Justin Fields will be in New York on Saturday for the awarding of the Heisman Trophy and so will teammate Chase Young, giving OSU two of the four players in contention for college football''s most prestigious award.
Fields, a sophomore transfer from Georgia, will slide into the chair occupied last year by his predecessor under center for the Buckeyes, Dwayne Haskins, who finished third behind Oklahoma's Kyler Murray and Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa.
Fields will be joined at the ceremony by former Buckeye Joe Burrow, who transferred to LSU in the summer of 2018 after Haskins won the quarterback competition between the two in spring practice.
If not for a broken hand, suffered on a freak practice injury in the fall of 2017, Burrow might never have given Haskins that chance. But the injury sidelined Burrow long enough to allow Haskins the room to establish himself and get the nod at Michigan in the season finale when starter J.T. Barrett suffered a third-quarter injury.
Haskins led the Buckeyes to three consecutive scores and a come-from-behind win, so that severely diminished Burrow's chances of ever getting to start in Columbus.
Things have worked out just fine for the former Ohio Mr. Football in Baton Rouge, where he has started the past two seasons and enters the Heisman ceremony an overwhelming favorite to win.
Young, a junior defensive end, is a longshot to win for multiple reasons.
First, he's a defensive player who has taken no offensive snaps. The only defensive player to win the Heisman, Michigan's Charles Woodson in 1997, returned punts and also played receiver for the Wolverines.
Young's chances are likely to suffer from the two games he missed during a suspension for a loan he accepted from a friend, a loan Young later repaid.
That sidelined him from games against Maryland and Rutgers, which denied him the chance to pad his OSU single-season sack total that wound up at 16.5
Fields has been marvelous for the Buckeyes despite never starting a college game before this season.
He has passed for 40 touchdowns, with only one interception, and also has scored 10 touchdowns rushing.
He enters the College Football Playoff semifinal Dec. 28 against Clemson four total touchdowns from matching Haskins' school-record total of last season.
With Fields and Young in New York for the Saturday night Heisman presentation, Ohio State is the fifth school to have multiple finalists in the same year since invitations to multiple playes began being extended in 1982.
The other schools with multiple finalists are:
- Penn State in 1994 (RB Ki-Jana Carter and QB Kerry Collins);
- Miami in 2002 (RB Willis McGahee and QB Ken Dorsey);
- Oklahoma in 2004 (RB Adrian Peterson and QB Jason White); and
- Oklahoma in 2016 (QB Baker Mayfield and WR Dede Westbrook).
Fields and Young would be the first set of teammates to finish first and second in the same season.
If Dobbins finishes fifth, OSU would join Army (1946) in having three players finish in the Top 5.
Hurts is bidding to become the third straight Oklahoma quarterback to win the Heisman, following Mayfield in 2017 and Murray in 2018.
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