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Heisman Watch 2024: Evaluating Heisman Trophy candidates, 2023 Heisman Trophy results

Credit: Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports

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 during the season.

Heisman Watch 2024: Top Heisman Trophy candidates in 2024

1. Jalen Milroe, quarterback, Alabama Crimson Tide

NCAA Football: SEC Football Championship-Georgia at Alabama
Credit: Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports
  • Jalen Milroe stats 2023: 2,718 pass yards, 83.6 QBR, 23-6 TD-INT, 65.5% completion, 12 rush TDs

Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Jalen Milroe made himself a Heisman Trophy candidate at the end of the 2023 season with his play down the stretch. From November-December, he posted a 10-1 TD-INT ratio, rushing for over 300 yards with seven rushing touchdowns. The dual-threat quarterback rushed for 100-plus yards twice in November and recorded signature wins over Tennessee, LSU and Georgia. With an even better supporting cast in 2024, Milroe can become the latest Alabama quarterback to win the Heisman Trophy.

2. Quinn Ewers, quarterback, Texas Longhorns

Syndication: Austin American-Statesman
Credit: Aaron E. Martinez/American-Statesman / USA TODAY NETWORK
  • Quinn Ewers stats 2023: 3,161 pass yards, 78.7 QBR, 21-6 TD-INT, 70.7% completion, 5 rush TDs

Injuries are the one thing that has really prevented Quinn Ewers from generating more buzz for the Heisman Trophy. However, he was one of the most effective quarterbacks in college football in 2023 with a 70.7 percent completion rate, 162.6 QB rating, 9 yards per attempt average and 26 touchdowns. Ewers also delivered in signature victories over Alabama and Oklahoma State. There’s also the whole boost that comes from being the Longhorns’ quarterback when Texas is a national championship contender. Plenty will need to go right for Ewers in 2024, but he’s one of the leading Heisman Trophy candidates next season.

Related: Grading college football coaching hires 2023-’24

3. Dillon Gabriel, quartebrack, Oregon Ducks

Syndication: The Oklahoman
  • Dillon Gabriel stats 2023: 3,660 pass yards, 87.3 QBR, 30-6 TD-INT, 69.3% completion, 12 rush TDs

Quarterback Dillon Gabriel was among our leading Heisman Trophy candidates early in 2023, but his stock plummeted after losses to Kansas and Oklahoma State. Still, he had seven 300-yard games and even eclipsed 100 rushing yards against Texas in a Red River Rivalry victory. Now joining the Oregon Ducks, Gabriel could make the same impact as Bo Nix. If Oregon wins the Big 12, Gabriel could win the Heisman.

4. Jaxson Dart, quarteback, Ole Miss Rebels

Syndication: The Clarion-Ledger
Credit: Barbara Gauntt/Clarion Ledger / USA TODAY NETWORK
  • Jaxson Dart stats 2023: 2,985 pass yards, 76.7 QBR, 20-5 TD-INT, 65.4% completion, 7 rush TDs

The Ole Miss Rebels aren’t just running it back in 2024, Lane Kiffin is bringing in quality defensive talent via the transfer portal. Kiffin’s scheme and the returns of wide receiver Tre Harris along with tight end Caden Pireskorn mean the Rebels’ offense should be firing on all cylinders in 2024. All Ole Miss needs is Jaxson Dart to return and elevate his game. We’ve seen plenty of breakout seasons from quarterbacks before and if Dart can take that next step, pushing Ole Miss up another level, he can be in the Heisman Watch.

5. Carson Beck, quarterback, Georgia Bulldogs

Syndication: Online Athens
Credit: Joshua L. Jones / USA TODAY NETWORK
  • Carson Beck stats 2023: 3,738 pass yards, 85.2 QBR, 22-6 TD-INT, 72.4% completion, 4 rush TDs

Playing for a national championship contender will immediately put you under consideration for the Heisman Trophy. In his first season as the Georgia Bulldogs starting quarterback, Carson Beck completed 72.4 percent of his passes and accounted for 26 total touchdowns. He also delivered in big games against Tennessee, Kentucky and Missouri. There were some down moments and the Bulldogs’ passing attack will be hurt by the departure of Brock Bowers. However, Beck might be an even better quarterback than Stetson Bennett and that gives him a great shot to win the Heisman.

Sportsnaut’s 2023 Heisman Trophy ballot

RankPlayer2023 stats
1Michael Penix Jr83.3 QBR, 4,218 pass yards, 33-9 TD-INT, 65.9% completion, 3 rush TDs
2Jayden Daniels95.6 QBR, 3,812 pass yards, 40-4 TD-INT, 72.2% completion, 1,134 rush yards, 10 rush TDs
3Bo Nix90.9 QBR, 4,145 pass yards, 40-3 TD-INT, 77.2% completion, 6 rush TDs
4Jalen Milroe84.5 QBR, 2,520 pass yards, 21-6 TD-INT, 66.4% completion, 12 rush TDs
5Marvin Harrison Jr.67 receptions, 1,211 receiving yards, 15 total touchdowns
6Jordan Travis2,755 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. Michael Penix Jr, QB, Washington Huskies

NCAA Football: Pac-12 Championship-Oregon at Washington
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
  • Michael Penix Jr stats 2023: 83.3 QBR, 4,218 pass yards, 33-9 TD-INT, 65.9% completion, 3 rush TDs

Washington Huskies quarterback Michael Penix Jr. is our 2023 Heisman Trophy winner. He doesn’t have the stats to rival Jayden Daniels or Bo Nix, but there’s another compelling argument for Penix. He never lost.

Washington was nearly a double-digit underdog in the Pac-12 Championship Game against Nix and Penix Jr. came out on top. He wasn’t perfect, with interceptions once again proving to be an issue for him. However, he delivered his best performance since October on the biggest stage. He found ways to win even in games when he threw an interception, unlike Daniels, and he beat Nix head-to-head twice. Plus, Penix Jr. played through injuries. That’s why he finishes the season atop our Heisman Trophy race.

2. Jayden Daniels, QB, LSU Tigers – 2023 Heisman Trophy winner

Syndication: The Daily Advertiser
  • Jayden Daniels stats 2023: 95.6 QBR, 3,812 pass yards, 40-4 TD-INT, 72.2% completion, 1,134 rush yards, 10 rush TDs

LSU Tigers quarterback Jayden Daniels had one of the best single-season performances ever. He shattered FBS single-game records, put his name in LSU’s record books and posted video-game numbers that made him the most exciting player to watch in college football. It will likely be several years before we see a quarterback have a season like this one. However, LSU still lost three games this season and Daniels had a 3-2 TD-INT line in two of those losses, with LSU losing by multiple scores.

Daniels is going to be the 2023 Heisman Trophy winner. Statistically, he delivered one of the best seasons in college football history and LSU is probably a five-win team without him. We have no issue with the Heisman voters who cast their ballot for Daniels, his numbers were deserving. However, in our evaluation process, Penix Jr. earned the award and finished atop our Heisman Watch after an undefeated season and Pac-12 title.

3. Bo Nix, QB, Oregon Ducks

NCAA Football: Pac-12 Championship-Oregon at Washington
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
  • Bo Nix stats 2023: 90.9 QBR, 4,145 pass yards, 40-3 TD-INT, 77.2% completion, 6 rush TDs

If stats are all that determine the Heisman Watch leader, the award goes to Jayden Daniels. If it’s determined by the best player on one of the undefeated teams, then it goes to Penix Jr. That’s precisely why Nix is the runner-up for the Heisman Trophy.

Related: Grading college football coaching hires

Nix, who set the FBS record for most career starts as a quarterback, was excellent in the Pac-12 title game. He threw three-plus touchdown passes for the eighth time this season and set a season-high in rushing yards (69). The Ducks’ senior quarterback put 31 points on the board against Washington’s defense and finished the year with over 4,300 yards of offense with 46 total touchdowns. However, two losses to Penix Jr. put Nix in second.

4. Jalen Milroe, QB, Alabama Crimson Tide

NCAA Football: Alabama at Auburn
John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
  • Jalen Milroe stats 2023: 84.5 QBR, 2,520 pass yards, 21-6 TD-INT, 66.4% completion, 12 rush TDs

In the first two months of the season, Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Jalen Milroe had just 142 rushing yards with a 13-5 TD-INT ratio. Something changed at halftime against the Tennessee Volunteers. Milroe finished November with a 187.9 QB rating, rushing for 297 yards with another 909 through the air. He completed 69.4 percent of his passes, accounted for 15 total touchdowns and delivered his biggest play in the closing seconds of the Iron Bowl. It’s not enough to win the Heisman Trophy, but Milroe was one of the best players in college football in the second half of the season.

5. 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.

6. 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.

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Sportsnaut’s Heisman Trophy ballot 2022

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 2023

NCAA Football: Heisman Trophy Presentation
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Here are the 2023 Heisman Trophy results. Michael Penix Jr. finished as the Heisman runner-up.

Player:1st Place:2nd Place3rd Place:TOTAL:
Jayden Daniels, QB, LSU503217862,029
Michael Penix Jr., QB, Washington2923411431,701
Bo Nix, QB, Oregon51205322
Marvin Harrison Jr, WR, Ohio State2078136352
Jordan Travis, QB, Florida State8192385
Jalen Milroe, QB, Alabama484573
Ollie Gordon, RB, Oklahoma State122431
Cody Schrader, RB, Missouri122229
Blake Corum, RB, Michigan321528
J.J. McCarthy, QB, Michigan17421

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.

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