Jayden Daniels, the quarterback for Louisiana State University, was named the winner of the 2023 Heisman Trophy Saturday evening.
One of four finalists, Daniels edged out fellow quarterbacks Bo Nix of Oregon and Washington’s Michael Penix Jr., as well as Ohio State wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. to win the most coveted individual award in college football.
Daniels joined LSU after transferring from Arizona State University in 2022. He is the third player in school history to win the award and first since Joe Burrow in 2019.
“This is a dream come true,” Daniels said after his win, thanking his coaches, teammates and family, and telling his fellow finalists he would look forward to seeing them on Sundays.
The 22-year-old finished his senior season at LSU with 3,812 passing yards, 40 touchdowns and four interceptions, while adding 1,134 rushing yards and an additional 10 touchdowns on the ground.
On his way to a Heisman-trophy-winning season, Daniels, among other things, led the nation in total offense with 4,946 yards in 12 games, along with an NCAA-record 208.01 passer rating.
In November, the San Bernardino, California native became the first player in FBS history to pass for more than 350 yards and rush for more than 200 yards in a single game, following a victory against Florida. In the game, he set the record for total offense with 606 yards, including 234 rushing yards and 372 passing yards.
Daniels followed his record-setting night by tying the school’s record for the most touchdowns in a game a week later when he recorded eight touchdowns, six passing and two rushing, in a victory over Georgia State.
With his 50 touchdowns on the season, Daniels etched his name as one of only five players in SEC history to accomplish the feat, joining Burrow (63), Florida’s Tim Tebow (55), Auburn’s Cam Newton (51) and Alabama’s Bryce Young (50) – all of whom were named Heisman Trophy winners.
In addition to the Heisman Trophy, Daniels has also been named the winner of the 2023 Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, AP College Football Player of the Year, the Walter Camp and Davey O’Brien National Quarterback awards following the season in which he led the No. 13 Tigers to a 9-3 record and a berth in the 2024 ReliaQuest Bowl.
The Heisman is the pinnacle of individual achievement for a college football player. From legendary quarterbacks like Matt Leinart and Roger Staubach to explosive running backs such as Bo Jackson and Barry Sanders, the Heisman Trophy winners list reads like a who’s who of college football.
Here’s everything you need to know about the other 2023 finalists.
Marvin Harrison Jr., WR, Ohio State
A career in football was always a possibility for Marvin Harrison Jr. given who his dad is.
His father is Pro Football Hall of Fame wide receiver Marvin Harrison and the youngster has carried the ‘explosive, dominant wide receiver’ family tag on with aplomb.
The six-foot-four, 21-year-old has enjoyed a fruitful 2023 campaign, finishing with 1,211 receiving yards and 14 receiving touchdowns – he is tied for second across the country for most touchdown receptions.
In his three seasons with the Buckeyes, he has been one of the most productive pass-catching weapons in all of college football, vaulting himself into some lofty company in the program’s history books.
According to Ohio State, Harrison Jr. is sixth all-time in receptions (155), sixth in receiving yards (2,613), first in 100-yard games (15) and third in touchdown catches (31) in program history.
On Friday, he won the Fred Biletnikoff Award – given to the best wide receiver in college football – and has already been awarded the Big Ten Conference’s Offensive Player of the Year and Wide Receiver of the Year gongs.
He is the first player to have multiple 1,000-yard receiving seasons for Ohio State. His streak of eight consecutive games with a touchdown reception and eight 100-yard games this season are both school records.
If Harrison Jr. had won Saturday evening, he would have been the eighth Heisman winner in Ohio State history, giving the Buckeyes the most in college football.
Although he reportedly remains undecided about declaring for the 2024 NFL Draft, Harrison Jr. has established himself as the cream of the crop among wide receivers in the college game.
Bo Nix, QB, Oregon
Bo Nix peaked right at the last moment.
In his fifth and final season of eligibility as a member of the Oregon Ducks, Nix has enjoyed his best season yet, leading his program to a No. 8 ranking with an 11-2 record and a spot in the Fiesta Bowl against the Liberty Flames.
In his second year with Oregon, the 23-year-old quarterback leads the country with his 77.2% completion percentage, meaning he is within touching distance of Mac Jones’ NCAA single-season record of 77.4% he set in 2020 with one final game remaining.
Nix ranks second nationally in most passing statistics in college football – including passing yards per game, passing yards, passer rating and total touchdowns – as he completes “one of the greatest seasons in program history,” according to the Oregon website.
Nix’s Heisman nomination was the culmination of an experienced college football career after previously transferring from Auburn to Oregon.
Although Nix – the most experienced starting quarterback in NCAA history with 60 career starts – has only played two seasons with Oregon, he ranks third in program history in career passing touchdowns (69), third in rushing touchdowns by a quarterback (20), fifth in completions (630), fifth in passing yards (7,738) and the Heisman finalist is tied for seventh in wins (21).
He was looking to become the second member of the Ducks to win the award after Marcus Mariota did so in 2014.
Michael Penix Jr., QB, Washington
Yet another transfer student – arriving from Indiana in late December 2021 – Michael Penix Jr. has helped lead the Washington Huskies on a remarkable charge.
The Huskies finished with a 13-0 record, the Pac-12 Championship to their name and a spot in the College Football Playoff, where they face off against the Texas Longhorns on January 1 in the Sugar Bowl.
All the while, Penix Jr. has led from the front, masterminding the team’s offense with his big arm, finishing as the nation’s leader in passing yards. Penix Jr. finished with 4,218 passing yards and 33 passing touchdowns in 2023.
He boasts a 24-2 record in his two seasons as the team’s starter as he looks to give Washington its third ever claimed National Championship.
Penix Jr. was hoping to become the first Heisman Trophy winner in Washington’s history. He joins Steve Emtman – who finished fourth in 1991 voting – as the only Huskies to be named a finalist.
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