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May 23, 2024

Daniels, Nix, Penix Jr. and Harrison Jr. named Heisman Trophy finalists

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Dec 9, 2023

Four standout quarterbacks to compete for most prestigious award in college football

The finalists for the 2023 Heisman Memorial Trophy were announced on Monday, with four star quarterbacks securing spots to compete for college football’s most prestigious individual award. Louisiana State’s Jayden Daniels, Oregon’s Bo Nix, Washington’s Michael Penix Jr. and Ohio State’s Marvin Harrison Jr. make up an impressive group of talent vying for the honor.

Daniels has emerged as the betting favorite after a stellar debut season leading the Tigers. The junior transfer from Arizona State threw for 2,812 yards, 16 touchdowns and just 2 interceptions while showcasing his dual-threat abilities with 824 rushing yards and 11 more scores on the ground. LSU exceeded expectations by reaching the SEC Championship Game thanks in large part to Daniels’ impact.

Nix has authored an equally impressive comeback campaign for the Ducks after transferring from Auburn. The senior racked up 3,388 passing yards with 27 touchdowns and 6 interceptions while adding 14 rushing touchdowns as part of a prolific Oregon offense. Nix led the team to a 9-1 record in Pac-12 play and spot in the conference title game.

Transfer quarterbacks excelling for new schools

Daniels and Nix have shined in their first seasons with new programs after joining via the transfer portal. Their success highlights the potential upside of adding an experienced quarterback through the portal. Schools are increasingly willing to hand the keys to a talented transfer like Daniels or Nix and are reaping major rewards.

Penix Jr. also transferred to Washington ahead of this season after injury issues at Indiana. He leads the nation with 4,354 passing yards and has thrown 29 touchdowns with just 6 picks. His breakout year spearheading the Huskies’ offense landed Washington in the Pac-12 title game.

Harrison Jr. is the lone non-transfer, instead emerging into a star wide receiver this year for loaded Ohio State. The sophomore set a Buckeyes record with 12 touchdown catches as he and quarterback C.J. Stroud formed the most prolific pass-catch duo in school history. Harrison Jr. comes from football royalty as the son of Hall of Fame wideout Marvin Harrison.

Daniels separates himself entering Heisman ceremony

Entering Saturday night’s Heisman ceremony in New York City, Daniels has separated himself as the projected winner according to oddsmakers and analysts. His consistency and avoidance of turnovers combined with his penchant for highlight-reel plays have made him a sensation and helped LSU reestablish itself as a national power.

Daniels willed his team to dramatic come-from-behind victories over Alabama and Ole Miss by accounting for all of LSU’s touchdowns in both instant-classic contests. His monster outings in the biggest games of the Tigers’ resurgent SEC run have simply been too much for voters to ignore.

|Key Stats for Jayden Daniels| |:-|:-| |Passing Yards|2,812| |Passing TDs|16| |INTs|2| |Rushing Yards|824| |Rushing TDs|11| |Total TDs|27|

LSU head coach Brian Kelly has actively campaigned for Daniels, even declaring him unambiguously as “the best player in college football.” While the other finalists all have strong credentials, none won over the country with as many spectacular highlight plays as the dynamic Daniels. His accuracy throwing the deep ball combined with shiftiness as a runner produced SportsCenter Top 10-worthy moments on a routine basis.

Stiff competition trying to catch Daniels

However, the race is not yet over, and Daniels’ three fellow finalists boast plenty of their own credentials that could sway some Heisman voters.

Nix would make history as the third consecutive Oregon quarterback to win the prestigious award, further cementing the school’s reputation as “Quarterback U.” Leading the Ducks to the precipice of a College Football Playoff berth just one year after the program lost long-time coach Mario Cristobal gives Nix an intriguing profile. Evaluators have also taken note of Nix’s development into an elite NFL prospect after three rocky seasons previously as Auburn’s starter.

|Key Stats for Bo Nix| |:-|:-| |Passing Yards|3,388| |Passing TDs| 27| |INTs|6| |Rushing YDs|523| |Rushing TDs|14| |Total TDs|41|

Meanwhile, Penix Jr. can stake the claim as the most productive quarterback after setting the national passing yards record with an incredible 4,354 through 12 games. If voteres simply weigh raw statistics, Penix Jr. could threaten Daniels. His flows are a lack of scoring production compared to Daniels and Nix after the Washington offense sputtered in the red zone too often.

Harrison Jr. faces the longest odds as the only non-quarterback but has a case based on his unstoppable connection with Stroud for the nation’s top offense. He also represents the best player on by far the strongest team among the four nominees as the lone finalist whose team qualified for playoff berth.

Daniels remains rightful favorite

Ultimately, Daniels appears poised to take home the stiff-arm trophy tonight as his magical season pushing LSU back to national prominence trumps any holes that can be poked in his profile. The San Bernardino native will surely make his hometown proud and figures to parlay his Heisman campaign into first-round draft pick status next spring.

Kelly deserves immense credit for both courting Daniels to Baton Rouge and tailoring the Tigers’ talented personnel to fit the dynamic quarterback’s skillset. The powerful running game duo of Josh Williams and Noah Cain perfectly complement Daniels’ passing and rushing prowess.

LSU now looks to carry over this season’s success into 2023 as the program sustains its resurgence. With Daniels likely coming back to lead Kelly’s second year revival effort, the Tigers figure to open next season as a top 10 team with CFP aspirations once again.

Daniels’ Heisman win would mark the long-overdue first victory for an African American LSU player. Daniels will be just the third black quarterback to ever take him the Heisman, joining Andre Ware and Lamar Jackson. Tonight the remarkable Daniels can etch his name into the history books permanently.

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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