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Heisman Watch 2023: Evaluating Heisman Trophy candidates after Week 13

USC Trojans quarterback Caleb Williams is the reigning Heisman Trophy winner after a breakout season in 2022. Now, we can look ahead to the candidates who will join the growing list of Heisman winners.

Before diving into our favorite Heisman Trophy candidates in 2023, with full breakdowns for our top picks, here’s a rundown of the latest Heisman odds and Sportsnaut’s Heisman watch list.

Our Heisman Trophy rankings and player analysis are updated every weekend.

Related: College Football defense rankings

Heisman Watch: Week 13 leaderboard

RankPlayerWeek 13 stats2023 stats
1Bo Nix33-of-40, 367 pass yards, 2-0 TD-INT, 31 rush yards, 1 TD3,906 pass yards, 78.6% completion, 37-2 TD-INT, 91.0 QBR, 159 rush yards, 6 TDs
2Michael Penix Jr18-of-33, 204 pass yards, 2-1 TD-INT, 6.2 ypa3,899 pass yards, 32-8 TD-INT, 65.6% completion, 3 rush TDs
3Jayden Daniels16-of-24, 235 pass yards, 4-0 TD-INT, 120 rush yards3,812 pass yards, 40-4 TD-INT, 1,134 rush yards, 10 rush TDs
4Marvin Harrison Jr.5 receptions, 118 yards, 1 TD, 23.6 ypc67 receptions, 1,211 receiving yards, 26 rushing yards, 15 total touchdowns
5Jordan TravisINJURED2,755 passing yards, 20-2 TD-INT, 8.4 ypa, 64% completion rate, 176 rush yards, 7 TDs

Heisman Trophy rankings 2023: Top 5 candidates

1. Bo Nix, QB, Oregon Ducks

NCAA Football: California at Oregon
Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports
  • Bo Nix stats 2023: 3,906 pass yards, 78.6% completion, 37-2 TD-INT, 91.0 QBR, 159 rush yards, 6 TDs

In the final Civil War, Oregon Ducks quarterback Bo Nix capped off his regular season with another performance worth winning the Heisman Trophy. Nix completed 80-plus percent of his passes for the second consecutive week, the second time he’s achieved that back-to-back completion rate in 2023. He delivered 3 total touchdowns and nearly had 400 total yards in a 31-7 rout over Oregon State. Ultimately, our No. 1 spot in the Heisman Watch will come down to the Pac-12 Championship Game. Nix’s play over the last month has at least put him right up there with Penix Jr. and our preference has shifted for the first time.

2. Michael Penix Jr, QB, Washington Huskies

NCAA Football: Utah at Washington
Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
  • Michael Penix Jr stats 2023: 3,899 pass yards, 32-8 TD-INT, 65.6% completion, 3 rush TDs

The Washington Huskies are still undefeated, but quarterback Michael Penix Jr. is no longer our Heisman Watch leader. After throwing an interception in Week 13, Penix has now thrown six since Oct. 14. More alarmingly, he’s failed to complete 60 percent of his passes in three consecutive games. As for the game-winning drive, his biggest contribution was his decision on the fourth-down option reverse. Fortunately for Penix Jr. , he can win the Heisman Trophy by carrying Washington to a win over Nix and the Ducks in the Pac-12 title game next week.

3. Jayden Daniels, QB, LSU Tigers

NCAA Football: Louisiana State at Alabama
John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
  • Jayden Daniels stats 2023: 3,577 pass yards, 36-4 TD-INT, 11.8 ypa, 1,014 rush yards, 10 rush TDs

Jayden Daniels has the numbers worthy of leading the Heisman Trophy race. He made FBS history back in Week 11 and has continued to add to his LSU single-season records every week since. IN Week 13 against Texas A&M, Daniels once again put on a performance for the ages, accounting for nearly 400 yards of offense with four total touchdowns. The stats from start to finish this season have been absurd.

However, our Heisman vote isn’t being determined purely off the equivalent of fantasy stats. Wins aren’t an individual state, but Daniels did finish with a 3-2 TD-INT ratio and LSU scored under 30 points in two of its losses this season. He probably wins the award if not for LSU’s defense, but the overall resume just falls short as is. At the very least, he’s headed to New York City.

4. Marvin Harrison Jr, WR, Ohio State Buckeyes

NCAA Football: Michigan State at Ohio State
Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports
  • Marvin Harrison Jr stats 2023: 67 receptions, 1,211 receiving yards, 26 rushing yards, 15 total touchdowns

Marvin Harrison Jr. did. everything a wide receiver can do to beat the best defense in the nation. He found the end zone against a Michigans secondary that previously allowed just 1 receiving touchdown in the red zone this season. He also was the only Ohio State player who gave fans hope on the attempt at a game-winning drive. With the loss, the best thing for Harrison Jr. is to sit out Ohio State’s bowl game. If this is the end for him, he had a phenomenal career.

5. Jordan Travis, QB, Florida State Seminoles

NCAA Football: Miami at Florida State
Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports
  • Jordan Travis stats 2023: 2,755 passing yards, 20-2 TD-INT, 8.4 yards per attempt, 64% completion rate, 176 rush yards, 7 TDs

Devastating. That’s the only word to describe the Jordan Travis injury. For the Florida State Seminoles, it erases any shot of the team competing for a national championship and potentially could keep them out of the College Football Playoff. Meanwhile, just like with Hendon Hooker in 2022, the injury will take a few secondary Heisman Trophy votes for Travis. The senior quarterback finished his collegiate career with a phenomenal senior campaign, knocking out LSU in a thrilling season-opener, ending Florida State’s winning streak at Clemson and he won 10 consecutive games as one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in the nation. Travis won’t even be a Heisman Trophy finalist, but he’s at least earned this recognition.

Related: Highest-paid college football coaches

Heisman Trophy odds 2023

Here are the latest Heisman Trophy odds before Week 13, via BetMGM.

  1. Bo Nix, Ducks – +110
  2. Jayden Daniels, LSU – +140
  3. Michael Penix, UW – +500
  4. Marvin Harrison Jr, OSU – +3000
  5. Carson Beck, Georgia – +3300
  6. Jalen Milroe, Alabama – +12500

Who is favored to win the Heisman Trophy 2023?

Oregon Ducks quarterback Bo Nix (-110) is favored to win the Heisman Trophy this season.

Who is on the Heisman watch list?

Michael Penix Jr (Washington Huskies), Jayden Daniels (LSU Tigers) and Bo Nix (Oregon Ducks) are the Heisman Trophy finalists entering Week 13.

Who is the Heisman favorite in 2023?

Bo Nix is currently the Heisman favorite based on the latest odds after Week 12. However, he’s third on our Heisman Watch ballot entering Week 13.

Why Caleb Williams won the Heisman Trophy 2022

NCAA Football: PAC-12 Football Championship-Southern California at Utah
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Caleb Williams won the 2022 Heisman Trophy. The USC Trojans quarterback entered with the third-best Heisman odds this year, entering his second year in the Lincoln Riley offense, playing against Pac-12 defenses with Jordan Addison as his No. 1 receiver.

Despite avoiding multiple bad performances – something that can’t be said for C.J. Stroud – Williams’ chances of winning the Heisman Trophy weren’t always promising. Both Stroud and Hendon Hooker led the Heisman Watch at various points, but the star in Los Angeles made a late run that set him apart.

QB RatingTD-INTComp. %YPAPass YardsRush YardsRush TD
Caleb Williams stats 2022

Williams’ worst performance of the season came in a win against Oregon State back on Sep. 24. Facing a defense that finished the regular season allowing just 198.7 pass ypg in its last three games and ranked 13th in lowest average quarterback rating allowed (115.8), USC’s entire offense struggled on the road. The Trojans’ quarterback had more incompletions (20) than completed passes (16) and he finished with a 65.0 QBR.

There are a variety of reasons why Williams will win the Heisman Trophy. He far exceeded anything Stroud did on the ground (74 rushing yards), all while recording more passing yards with a superior TD-INT ratio. It’s also important to consider how Stroud fared later in the year.

  • C.J. Stroud stats (November): 135.8 QB rating, 8-2 TD-INT, 57.6% completion rate

As for Max Duggan, the TCU Horned Frogs senior quarterback finished the regular season with an ESPN QBR (79.7) that fell 7.1 points behind Williams (86.8). Duggan also cooled off as the season unfolded with his completion rate dropping from 77% in September to 65% in October and November. Combined with the dip in quarterback rating and yards per attempt, mainly this past month (162.0, 7.7 ypa), and he was destined to be nothing more than a finalist.

Finally, Heisman voters think about narrative when picking their winner. Before Williams arrived at USC, the Trojans went 3-6 in 2021 and hadn’t experienced an eight-win season since 2019. A sleeping giant had finally awoken, with Williams ending USC’s woes since Pete Carroll left.

That’s why Caleb Williams is your Heisman Trophy winner.

Sportsnaut’s Heisman Trophy ballot

Here is Sportsnaut’s final Heisman Trophy ballot following the conclusion of conference championship weekend.

Top 5 Heisman candidates

RankPlayer2022 stats
1Caleb Williams, QB, USC4,075 pas yards, 37-4 TD-INT, 86.5 QBR, 66.1% completion, 9.1 yards per attempt, 10 rush TD
2Max Duggan, QB, TCU3,321 pass yards, 30-4 TD-INT, 80.2 QBR, 64.9% completion, 9.0 yards per attempt, 6 rush TD
3Hendon Hooker, QB, Tennessee89.6 QBR, 3,135 pass yards, 27-2 TD-INT, 69.6% completion, 430 rush yards, 5 TDs
4CJ Stroud, QB, Ohio State3,340 pass yards, 37-6 TD-INT, 87.6 QBR, 66.2% completion, 9.4 yards per attempt, 11-1 record
5Blake Corum, RB, Michigan1,543 scrimmage yards, 19 total touchdowns
6Jalen Carter, DL, Georgia7 TFLs, 3 sacks, 2 FF, No. 1 run defense in college football (77 ypg allowed)
7Stetson Bennett, QB, Georgia3,425 pass yards, 20-6 TD-INT, 86.3 QBR, 68.1% completion, 8.7 yards per attempt, 7 rush TD
8Michael Penix Jr, QB, Washington4,354 pass yards, 29-7 TD-INT, 81.8 QBR, 66% completion, 8.7 yards per attempt, 4 rush TD

Heisman Trophy FAQ: Everything you need to know

How many Heisman voters are there?

There are 870 media members, living Heisman winners and a collective fan vote to determine who wins the Heisman Trophy. Voters aren’t allowed to reveal who they voted for until after the Heisman Ceremony, which airs on ESPN at 8 PM ET.

Heisman vote margins: Who won the Heisman by the most votes?

USC Trojans running back OJ Simpson received the most Heisman votes ever, taking home 855 in 1968. Meanwhile, LSU Tigers quarterback Joe Burrow has the largest percentage of Heisman votes.

Most first-place Heisman votes

YearPlayer1st Place Votes
1968O.J. Simpson, RB, USC855
2019Joe Burrow, QB, LSU841
2006Troy Smith, QB, Ohio State801
2014Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon788
1993Charlie Ward, QB, Florida State740
2017Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma732
2010Cam Newton, QB, Auburn729

Largest Heisman margin of victory

YearPlayer1st Place Votes
2019Joe Burrow, QB, LSU93.8%
2006Troy Smith, QB, Ohio State91.62%
2014Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon90.92%
2017Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma86%
1998Ricky Williams, RB, Texas85.23%
1993Charlie Ward, QB, Florida State83.79%
2021Bryce Young, QB, Alabama83%

Heisman Trophy results 2022

Here are the 2022 Heisman Trophy results. Further below, you can find an early look at our 2023 Heisman candidates.

Player:1st Place:2nd Place:3rd Place:TOTAL:
Caleb Williams, QB, USC544168632,031
Max Duggan, QB, TCU1883571421,420
C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State37119190539
Stetson Bennett, QB, Georgia3665111349
Hendon Hooker, QB, Tennessee174781226
Bryce Young, QB, Alabama172834141
Blake Corum, RB, Michigan82551125
Michael Penix Jr, QB, Washington92047114
Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas4123975
Drake Maye, QB, North Carolina362142

2021 Heisman Trophy voting results

Here are the 2021 Heisman voting results.

Player:1st Place:2nd Place:3rd Place:TOTAL:
Bryce Young, QB, Alabama684107452,311
Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE, Michigan78273174954
Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh28175197631
C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State12118127399
Will Anderson, EDGE, Alabama317974325
Kenneth Walker III, RB, Michigan State185385245
Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss103256150
Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati5153681
Jordan Davis, DL, Georgia9151875
Breece Hall, RB, Iowa State01717

With 83% of the total possible points, Bryce Young finished with the seventh-highest total in Heisman Trophy voting history.