Todd Van Emst/Associated Press
There were many worthy candidates for the 2023 Heisman Trophy, from quarterbacks such as Washington Huskies' Michael Penix Jr. and Oregon Ducks' Bo Nix, or even Ohio State Buckeyes star wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr..
Each of these incredible players had tremendous seasons that left an indelible mark on college football as the premier faces of the game this season. But there’s only one annually who can hold the crown to the Heisman, the ultimate award of all awards that a college football player can receive in his career, and the winner this year is LSU Tiger quarterback Jayden Daniels.
Daniels winning the award marks the second year in a row and the fifth time in the past seven years that a transfer quarterback has won the award with Daniels having formerly played at Arizona State.
Daniels is a 22-year-old from San Bernardino, California who led all FBS players in QBR (95.7), yards per attempt (11.7, an FBS record), and passing touchdowns (40), as well as completion of 20+ yard passes or more (70).
He had a completion percentage of 72.2 (7th in the nation) with this total offensive yards per game (412.2) being first, 74 yards better than the next best player.
Daniels isn’t just a pocket passer, as he also is adept and keen with running the football as well, rushing for 8.4 yards per attempt, good enough for fourth in the FBS among all running backs.
In total, Daniels had 40 pass TDs and 10 rushing TDs for a total of 50 touchdowns this season and 1,000 rushing yards, becoming just the second player to achieve such a feat- the other being 2018 Heisman Trophy winner and current Arizona Cardinals star quarterback Kyler Murray.
He is a former four-star recruit out of Cajon High School in San Bernardino who became the first true freshman starting quarterback for Arizona State in program history before transferring to LSU in 2021.
In his first season with LSU, Daniels led them to nine wins and the SEC Championship game while throwing for 2.774 passing yards and rushing for 818 more.
Daniels is the first player in FBS history to reach 12,000 career passing yards and 3,000 career rushing yards. The history doesn’t end there for the Tigers' star play-caller, as he also becomes the third LSU player to ever win the Heisman (Billy Cannon in 1959 and Joe Burrow in 2019) as well as the third consecutive quarterback to win the award and seventh in eight years.
The electric Heisman winner now turns his focus to the ReliaQuest Bowl where the No.13 Tigers will face the Wisconsin Badgers on New Year's Day, with questions lingering on whether he’ll play considering his draft status as an elite prospect is solidified.
Whether Daniels chooses to play or not, his status as an elite player and prospect is unquestionable.