NEW YORK — Alabama quarterback Bryce Young, Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson, Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett and Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud were announced Monday as finalists for the Heisman Trophy.

The Heisman will be presented Saturday in New York, returning to its usual routine and date – second Saturday in December – after it was forced to delay and go virtual last year due to the pandemic.

There are some changes this year. The site of the presentation is moving from a theater in Midtown Manhattan, near Times Square, to a smaller venue on the West Side near Lincoln Center.

The process by which Heisman finalists are determined has also been modified. The Heisman Trust announced that starting with this season, there will be four finalists – no more, no fewer – invited to the award presentation ceremony.

In the past the Heisman has invited at least three and as many as six players to the presentation. The number was determined by distribution of vote, with the cut-off decided by the gap between vote-getters.

After a 2021 season in which a Heisman front-runner took a while to emerge and the race seemed wide-open into November, Young closed strong to become the favorite.

The sophomore led a 97-yard, game-tying touchdown drive against rival Auburn two weeks ago, helping the Crimson Tide rally to win the Iron Bowl in overtime.

Then Young broke the Southeastern Conference championship game record with 421 yards passing in a victory against Georgia’s vaunted defense on Saturday.

For the season, Young has thrown for 4,322 yards, 43 touchdowns and just four interceptions while guiding the top-ranked Crimson Tide to the College Football Playoff.

As good has Young has been in his first season as Alabama’s starting quarterback, following Heisman finalists Mac Jones and Tua Tagovailoa, an argument could be made he is not even the clear best player on his own team.

Will Anderson Jr. appeared to be the Tide’s top Heisman contender until Young went off against Georgia. The sophomore outside linebacker leads the nation in tackles for loss with 31.5 and sacks with 15.5, but he didn’t get an invitation to New York.

Nether did Michigan State running back Kenneth Walker III, who is second in the nation in rushing at 136 yards per game with 19 touchdowns. The Wake Forest transfer jumped to the top of the Heisman watch lists after scoring five touchdowns in the 11th-ranked Spartans’ victory against Michigan on Oct. 30.

Young could become Alabama’s fourth Heisman winner, second consecutive, but first quarterback.

Tide receiver DeVonta Smith won the Heisman last year. Smith broke a streak of four straight quarterbacks to win the Heisman. Since 2000, 17 quarterbacks have won the trophy. Among the non-quarterback winners are Alabama running backs Mark Ingram (2009) and Derrick Henry (2015).

Hutchinson would be the first defensive player to win the Heisman since Michigan’s Charles Woodson in 1997. Woodson was also Michigan’s last Heisman winner.

The last Michigan player to be a Heisman finalists also played defense, though not exclusively. Defensive back Jabrill Peppers played some offense and returned kicks when he finished fifth in the voting in 2016.

Hutchinson is one of the nation’s best pass rushers with 14 sacks. The senior led No. 2 Michigan to its first playoff appearance as Big Ten champions and helped end an eight-game losing streak to rival Ohio State.

Pickett returned to Pitt for a fifth season in 2021, taking advantage of the NCAA’s eligibility give-back for playing through the pandemic in 2020, and had a record-breaking year. Pickett passed for 4,319 yards with 42 touchdowns to eclipse school marks and led the 13th-ranked Panthers to their first Atlantic Coast Conference title.

The last Pitt player to be a Heisman finalist was receiver Larry Fitzgerald in 2003.

Stroud completed 71% of his passes for 3,862 yards, 38 touchdowns and five interceptions as the seventh-ranked Buckeyes finished 10-2 in his first season as a starter.

He is the third straight Ohio State starting quarterback to be a Heisman finalist, joining Justin Fields (2019) and Dwayne Haskins (2018).

COLORADO STATE: Colorado State hired the first Black head football coach in program history, bringing in Nevada’s Jay Norvell to take over for Steve Addazio.

Norvell is coming off a season in which he guided the Wolf Pack to an 8-4 record and a spot in the Quick Lane Bowl against Western Michigan on Dec. 27.

An offensive innovator, Norvell has led his team to bowl games in four of the five seasons he’s been at Nevada. He’s 33-26 since being hired by the Wolf Pack on Dec. 9, 2016.

The hiring of Norvell didn’t take long after Addazio was fired last Thursday. Addazio was let go after posting a 4-12 record over two seasons in Fort Collins.

MIAMI: Mario Cristobal is leaving Oregon and returning to Miami, accepting an offer to become head coach at his alma mater, where he won two national championships as a player. He let the Ducks know of the decision Monday, his team meeting in Oregon nearly simultaneous to Miami announcing the firing of Coach Manny Diaz after three seasons.

Diaz was hired by Miami in 2018 on the same day that Mark Richt stepped down; this time, the football vacancy was even shorter, since Miami wasn’t firing Diaz without a commitment from Cristobal to come aboard.

The Cristobal hire is one of two major signings Miami has pursued in recent days. A person with knowledge of the school’s plans told The Associated Press that Miami expects to complete the hiring of Dan Radakovich as athletic director this week. Radakovich has been athletic director at Clemson but started his career in sports administration 40 years ago at Miami, where he got one of his degrees.

Cristobal was 35-13 at Oregon, with two Pac-12 titles and a Rose Bowl victory on his resume.

FLORIDA: New Coach Billy Napier’s staff is starting to take shape.

Napier named Patrick Toney the team’s co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach and Mark Hocke the team’s associate head coach and director of strength and conditioning.

Toney and Hocke were Napier’s first – and probably most obvious – hires. They spent the last four years alongside Napier at Louisiana-Lafayette, where the Ragin’ Cajuns went 40-12 and won the 2021 Sun Belt Conference title.

Napier negotiated a $7.5 million salary pool to hire 10 full-time assistants. He is expected to part ways with most or all of former Florida coach Dan Mullen’s staff, which is preparing the team to play UCF in the Gasparilla Bowl in Tampa on Dec. 23.

BOSTON COLLEGE: Quarterback Phil Jurkovec said he will return for his senior season rather than enter the NFL draft.

“I will be returning to Chestnut Hill in 2022 to complete my economics degree, improve all facets of my game, and compete nationally,” he said in a statement issued by the school. “Let’s win!”

Jurkovec threw for 2,558 yards and 17 touchdowns in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. This year, he injured his right (throwing) wrist in Week 2 and missed six games before returning on Nov. 11.

The Eagles went 4-2 in his starts in 2021 and are 10-6 in his career. He is fifth in school history with six 300-yard passing games in just 16 games played.

JOHNNY RODGERS, the 1972 Heisman Trophy winner and a member of the College Football Hall of Fame, was in an Omaha hospital intensive care unit with COVID-19.

Rodgers’ business partner, Denny Drake, said the Cornhuskers’ football great was hospitalized Thanksgiving morning with the virus at Nebraska Medical Center, the Omaha World-Herald reported. Rodgers also developed pneumonia but seemed to improve after a few days in the hospital, Drake said. However, he took a turn for the worse last week and was placed in the ICU.

Rodgers, 70, has since improved and is “feeling much better,” Drake said.

“He was pretty weak until late yesterday,” Drake told the World-Herald on Sunday. “He called me this morning, and his voice sounded good.”

Rodgers did not immediately return a text message left Monday by The Associated Press.

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