Heisman Watch 2022: Leading contenders, current odds and Drake Maye answers questions

North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye ranks fourth in the nation in passing yards (2,671) and is tied for first in passing touchdowns (29). Photo by David Jensen/Icon Sportswire

There's a new betting favorite to win this year's Heisman Trophy.

Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker threw for at least three touchdown passes in the third straight game, as his performance in the Vols' 44-6 win over Kentucky gave him a slight edge over Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud in the race.

Still, Stroud is no slouch. Though he was overshadowed by J.T. Tuimoloau's defensive performance and Ohio State's running backs, who combined for three rushing scores in a victory over Penn State, Stroud maintained his FBS lead in touchdown passes (29) and didn't turn the ball over.

It's a 1-2 race heading into the final month of the season. Caleb Williams (USC), Bryce Young (Alabama), Drake Maye (North Carolina) and Blake Corum (Michigan) are still in the pack, albeit at a distance. We've seen how quickly things can change. Here is this week's Heisman standings, the top moments of the week and what to watch for this weekend.

Voting methodology: Eleven voters ranked their top five candidates, with five points for a first-place vote down to one point for a fifth-place vote.

Top five candidates

1. Hendon Hooker, QB, Tennessee

Total points: 53 (first-place votes: 9)

Week 9 notables: Hooker turned heads once again in Tennessee's 44-6 rout over Kentucky. He threw for 245 yards and three touchdowns to lift the Volunteers to an 8-0 start for the first time since 1998 and their first No. 2 ranking since 2001. His biggest test of the season comes this Saturday, when Hooker will meet a Georgia team that ranks No. 4 in total defense.

Heisman odds: +100

2. C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State

Total points: 44 (first-place votes: 2)

Week 9 notables: Stroud continued illustrating his Big Ten dominance on Saturday, helping lift Ohio State to a 44-31 win over Penn State. He threw for 354 yards and tacked on one touchdown against the Buckeyes' toughest in-conference opponent yet. Down 21-16 with 9:26 left in the fourth quarter, Stroud stepped up in a big way, going 6-for-8 and throwing for 128 yards in the fourth quarter. Stroud and Ohio State will look to remain perfect on the season as they return on the road to face Northwestern this weekend.

Heisman odds: +180

3. Bryce Young, QB, Alabama

Total points: 20 (first-place votes: 0)

Week 9 notables: Young and Alabama had a bye in Week 9 following their 30-6 win over Mississippi State. The 2021 Heisman Trophy winner currently has 1,906 yards and 18 touchdowns on the season. In Week 5, Young went out with a shoulder injury but returned in Week 7 in Alabama's 52-49 loss to Tennessee, when he threw for 455 yards.

Heisman odds: +3,000

4. Caleb Williams, QB, USC

Total points: 18 (first-place votes: 0)

Week 9 notables: After suffering their first loss of the season in Week 7 to then-No. 20 Utah, Williams and the Trojans proved they used their bye week wisely against Arizona last Saturday. Williams threw for a career-high 411 yards and five touchdowns in the 45-37 victory in Tucson, Arizona. He now stands third in the nation in touchdowns (24) and is tied for second in interceptions (one).

Heisman odds: +1,200

T-5. Drake Maye, QB, North Carolina

Total points: 11 (first-place votes: 0)

Week 9 notables: Maye has continued to impress throughout his redshirt freshman campaign, and last Saturday was no different. Maye helped lead the then-No. 21 Tar Heels past Pitt 42-24 with a show-stopping performance through the air (388 yards and five touchdowns). With 29 touchdowns on the season, Maye is tied with Stroud for the most touchdowns in the nation. He is also fourth in the nation with 2,671 yards.

Heisman odds: +2,000

T-5. Blake Corum, RB, Michigan

Total points: 11 (first-place votes: 0)

Week 9 notables: In Michigan's 29-7 victory over Michigan State, Corum proved why he is one of the best running backs in college football. He was named Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week after rushing for a career-high 33 carries for 177 yards and one touchdown. Corum stands fourth in the nation with 1,078 yards and second with 14 touchdowns on the season.

Heisman odds: +1,200

Others receiving votes (total points in parentheses): Bo Nix, Oregon (8)

Q&A with Drake Maye

Drake Maye comes from good genes. His father, Mark, played football at UNC, and his older brothers -- Cole (a former baseball player at Florida), Luke (a former UNC basketball player) and Beau (on the current Tar Heels hoops team) -- all have enjoyed immense success in the college ranks. But Drake's first eight starts of his career haven't just stood out among his family members. He's blossomed into one of the country's best QBs, with his 29 TD passes tied for the most in FBS and his 2,671 passing yards ranking fourth nationally.

ESPN: What's it been like to suddenly find yourself in the middle of the Heisman conversation after just eight career starts?

DM: It's kind of humbling. It's not that I don't deserve it. I was expecting to have this type of season with the talent around me, we have a veteran O-line, I really feel things were to shake out this way. But really the credit goes to my teammates. Without them, I'm not making any of these plays. It comes with winning, too. Besides Lamar [Jackson's] season, it's not often the guy getting all the attention is not on a good team. If you win games, that stuff comes.

ESPN: You mentioned Lamar, and we always talk about Heisman moments. He had the Lamar leap against Syracuse that year. Do you have a play that you think could be your Heisman moment?

DM: I'd say maybe the Miami one to Josh [Downs] over the middle. I had a guy draped all over my feet. Not any kind of crazy plays. Usually the guys I'm throwing to are pretty open. Antoine [Green] made a one-handed catch where I'm just trying to put it out there.

Josh Downs makes the grab for 15-yard touchdown

Josh Downs makes the grab for 15-yard touchdown

ESPN: What would the Heisman mean for you if you end up on that stage in December?

DM: Personal goals, yeah, you always want to play the best you can and as a college quarterback the Heisman is always the dream. You grow up playing NCAA, playing "Road to Glory," you got the "my player" and try to win the Heisman. It'd be a blessing to just be in the conversation. A chance to go to the event would be pretty cool, but there's a lot of good players out there that are playing well. We've just got to keep it up. We've got our work cut out for us.

ESPN: Well, your family has had a lot of success in college sports. You're the youngest of the four and have always had to prove yourself against them. Would the Heisman be something you could lord over your older brothers forever?

DM: Personal achievement-wise, that'd be pretty hard to beat. But I'd like to walk away with a national championship ring. Two of my brothers have that, and my brother Beau, this year, they've got a chance to win one over there. So all of them could have one and they can hold that over my head.

Top Heisman moments this past week

1. Hooker made sure to give Kentucky's defense a warm welcome to Knoxville, tossing a 55-yard dime on the first drive.

Hendon Hooker finds a wide-open Jalin Hyatt for a 55-yard Tennessee TD

Jalin Hyatt hauls in the dime from Hendon Hooker and finds pay dirt to quickly put the Volunteers on the board.

2. Caleb Williams' five-touchdown performance against Arizona proved why he is continuing to rise up the Heisman talks.

3. Here's one of the many reasons Maye has become one of college football's biggest stars.

Drake Maye airs it out for 25-yard TD

Drake Maye airs it out for 25-yard TD

Heisman game of the week

No. 6 Alabama at No. 15 LSU (Saturday, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN App)

Hooker has proven himself with five wins over Top-25 opponents this season. While most eyes focus on the No. 2 Volunteers' visit to No. 1 Georgia, the highest Heisman stakes lie in Baton Rouge this weekend. If Bryce Young wants two Heisman Trophies to his name, he has to prove himself against an LSU team coming off an impressive 45-20 win over then-No. 7 Ole Miss to stay in the running. This SEC West showdown could prove to be one of the season's most thrilling games.