Fresno State's Jake Haener is a Dark Horse Heisman Candidate in 2022

@FresnoStateFB on Twitter

Fresno State's Jake Haener is a Dark Horse Heisman Candidate in 2022

NCAA

Fresno State's Jake Haener is a Dark Horse Heisman Candidate in 2022

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@FresnoStateFB on Twitter

Fresno State has another year with Jake Haener as their quarterback. In 2022, Haener will be a dark horse Heisman Trophy finalist.

In December, Haener’s future was up in the air after head coach Kalen DeBoer left for the University of Washington. Haener entered the transfer portal following DeBoer’s exit and considered returning to Washington. From 2017-2018, Haener played for the Washington Huskies before he transferred to Fresno State in 2019.

Fresno State’s fan base did not react well to Haener’s decision to leave the program, which made him reassess his entrance into the portal. Eventually, Haener returned to Fresno State and committed himself to the program for the 2022 season.

Fans did not agree with Haener’s choice to leave before their bowl game, but if he would have gone to Washington, he needed to leave before January. In a video message, he addressed the issue and confirmed his intentions to stay with the Bulldogs for one final season.

The Bulldogs needed Haener’s experience at quarterback in the New Mexico Bowl. He led Fresno State to a 31-24 win over UTEP on Dec. 18. In that game, Haener became the third quarterback in program history to throw for 4,000 yards in a single season. The other two quarterbacks were David Carr and Derek Carr.

In the New Mexico Bowl, Haener passed for 286 yards and one touchdown against the Miners. The Bulldogs relied on Haener’s leadership in order to close out a successful 2021 season. It was one of the best seasons that the Bulldogs had in recent times.

Although the Bulldogs failed to win the Mountain West, there was a lot to celebrate. They had their first 10-win season under coach DeBoer and interim coach Lee Marks. It was also the first 10-win season since 2018 when the Bulldogs won 12 games.

For 2022, Fresno State’s next head coach will be Jeff Tedford. This will be Tedford’s second stint as Fresno State’s head coach. From 2017-2019, Tedford coached the Bulldogs before he resigned due to health concerns in December 2019.

Tedford’s presence will be important for Haener because they worked together in 2019 and he was instrumental in Haener’s decision to transfer from Washington to Fresno State.

The combination of Haener and Tedford will lead to a very successful season in 2022. This will likely be Haener’s final season of college football and he is looking to end his career on a high note. Haener made the right decision by returning to Fresno State for one more year. He will be able to perform at a high level against Mountain West competition. Another year in Tedford’s offense will make Haener a Heisman Trophy candidate.

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