The 2023 Heisman Trophy was announced Saturday night, but the college football world is already looking ahead.
The most prestigious individual award in all of sports went to LSU’s Jayden Daniels after a season in which the senior put up eye-popping numbers.
Daniels 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.
Daniels, a transfer from Arizona State, was one of three finalists to be playing for the second team in his college career.
Oregon’s Bo Nix played his first three seasons at Auburn while Washington’s Michael Penix Jr. began his career at Indiana.
In the changing world of college football, transfers – especially quarterbacks – have become game-changers as schools attempt to find their next signal-caller in the portal.
Let’s take a look at the players to watch for the 2024 Heisman Trophy.
Dillon Gabriel, Oregon Ducks
Dan Lanning went out and quickly got his Bo Nix replacement.
Dillon Gabriel, who had been the starting quarterback at Oklahoma for the past two seasons, announced Saturday morning that he’s heading to Eugene.
Gabriel will play for his third college team after beginning his career at UCF and has one year of eligibility remaining. He threw for more than 3,000 yards in 2022 and 2023 and led the Sooners to a 10-2 record in 2023.
The senior QB will now play for an Oregon team primed to make a run at the national title and in an offense that should allow him to thrive.
In 2023, Oregon was second in the country in yards (527.4) and points per game (44.2), resulting in Nix being one of the four finalists for the Heisman.
Quinn Ewers, Texas Longhorns
One year ago, not many people would have believed that Quinn Ewers would be a player to watch for the top award in college sports.
When one of the top recruits in the nation – Arch Manning – committed to Texas in June 2022, most believed the next great Manning would be under center in 2024.
But Ewers has become the guy in Austin as he’s led Texas to the College Football Playoff for the first time.
Ewers has completed 70.7% of his passes for 3.161 yards, 21 touchdowns and six interceptions, and he still has at least one game to play.
Ewers is eligible to declare for the 2024 NFL Draft, but ESPN reported in early December that Ewers’ return for another season had “increased exponentially in the past few weeks.”
He transferred from Ohio State after one season.
Jalen Milroe, Alabama Crimson Tide
Three games into the season, Jalen Milroe did not have a firm grip on the starting quarterback job at Alabama.
The junior did not play in a sloppy Week 3 win over South Florida one week after losing to Texas.
But since then, Milroe has been spectacular, accounting for 28 touchdowns and throwing just four interceptions as he’s led Alabama to the CFP.
Another year in Tuscaloosa with a season of experience under his belt puts Milroe on Heisman watch.
Shedeur Sanders, Colorado Buffaloes
Sanders and “Coach Prime” started the year with a bang and ended with a whimper.
The Buffaloes took the college football world by storm by going 3-0 to kick off Sanders’ campaign. Shedeur Sanders was the talk of the sport as the Colorado offense averaged 41.33 points per game in their first three contests.
Then the wheels fell off.
The offensive line failed to protect Sanders as the Buffaloes ended the year losing eight of their final nine games.
But Sanders still put up numbers, throwing for 3,230 yards, 27 touchdowns and three interceptions despite being sacked 52 times.
If Sanders returns for one more year under his father, he should put up even bigger numbers if Colorado is able to address its offensive line.
Carson Beck, Georgia Bulldogs
The Georgia Bulldogs are going to contend for a national championship in 2024, so their starting QB should be in the Heisman conversation.
Beck threw for 3,738 yards, 22 touchdowns and six interceptions in his first season as the starter.
Beck has not announced whether he plans to return to Athens for his senior season.
Travis Hunter, Colorado Buffaloes
Colorado’s do-everything player was all the rave after the first week of the season.
Travis Hunter was electric on both sides of the football against TCU in Week 1, hauling in 11 catches for 119 yards and adding an interception on defense.
Hunter missed three games due to a lacerated spleen but still managed to win the Paul Hornung Award, given to the most versatile player in college football.
Ollie Gordon II, Oklahoma State Cowboys
Ollie Gordon was the nation’s leading rusher as a sophomore, gaining 1,614 yards on the ground while scoring 20 touchdowns.
Gordon went over 250 yards in a game twice during the 2023 season, rushing for at least three scores three times.