The 2023 Heisman Trophy race has been a close affair the past three months with multiple players having the best odds to win the award throughout the season.
For most of the year, the most prestigious individual award in sports appeared destined to land in the hands of a Pac-12 quarterback.
USC star Caleb Williams, the reigning Heisman winner, was the favorite for the early part of the season before Washington’s Michael Penix Jr. took the lead.
In the final weeks of the season, it became clear the award had become a two-person race. Entering conference championship weekend, Oregon’s Bo Nix had the best odds of winning the award, with LSU’s Jayden Daniels a close second.
On Monday, the four finalists for the 2023 trophy were announced, and one will take home the Heisman Trophy Saturday.
Let’s take a look at the four players who will be in New York Saturday.
Jayden Daniels, LSU Tigers
Not playing in the SEC championship game may have actually helped LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels in his pursuit to become the third LSU player to win the Heisman.
With Oregon’s Bo Nix taking the best odds into conference championship weekend, Daniels was forced to sit and watch from home.
But Nix was unable to lead his Ducks to the Pac-12 title and into the College Football Playoff, leaving the door open for Daniels to win the award despite three regular-season losses.
Daniels’ numbers are eye-popping. He threw for 3,812 yards, 40 touchdowns and four interceptions. On the ground, Daniels rushed for 1,134 yards and 10 touchdowns.
He led the Tigers to a 9-3 record despite having a defense that allowed the second-most yards and third-most points per game in the SEC.
If Daniels wins the 2023 Heisman Trophy, he will become just the fourth player since 1986 to win the award with three losses in the regular season.
Bo Nix, Oregon Ducks
It was all right there for Nix and the Oregon Ducks Dec. 1 with the eyes of the college football world focused on Las Vegas.
Oregon had an opportunity to exact revenge for its Week 7 loss to Washington, and Nix was presented with the opportunity of locking up the Heisman Trophy in the Pac-12 championship game.
The Huskies defeated Oregon for the second time this season, knocking the Ducks out of the CFP conversation and making Nix vulnerable Saturday.
Nix has had a stellar season, throwing for 4,145 yards and 40 touchdowns, while completing 77.2% of his passes.
His career has been a lengthy one. He played three seasons at Auburn before transferring to Oregon for his final two college years.
Nix set the NCAA record for most career starts this season and has a record of 21-5 at Oregon.
It’s a career that will be remembered for years to come. Now the question remains: Will Nix’s name be remembered when the Heisman Trophy is discussed?
Michael Penix Jr., Washington Huskies
An undefeated season and a berth in the playoff means you’ve earned a right to be in New York for the Heisman Trophy ceremony.
Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. has done nothing but win this season, and the Huskies became the first Pac-12 team to go 13-0 heading into the bowl season.
Against Oregon in the Pac-12 championship game, Penix was brilliant, completing 27 of 39 passes for 319 yards, one touchdown and an interception.
In 13 games, Penix threw for 4,218 yards, 33 touchdowns and 9 interceptions.
Most importantly, Penix will be competing for a national championship, something the three other finalists cannot say.
Marvin Harrison Jr., Ohio State Buckeyes
The only non-quarterback finalist is arguably the best NFL prospect of them all.
Marvin Harrison Jr. became the fifth Ohio State Buckeye to be a Heisman finalist in the past six years after a fabulous junior season.
His 14 receiving touchdowns are tied for second most in the country, and he finished the season with 67 catches for 1,211 yards.
“That award is for the most outstanding player, not the player with the most stats,” Ohio State coach Ryan Day said of Harrison after beating Michigan State, according to The Athletic. “He’s made a major impact on this game, three touchdowns and really only played a half of football.”
Harrison is attempting to become just the fourth true wide receiver to take home the Heisman. Tim Brown of Notre Dame, Desmond Howard of Michigan and DeVonta Smith of Alabama are the three receivers to win the award.