The NFL Draft has come and gone, the spring window for the Transfer Portal has closed, and commencements are underway for various colleges. It’s time to start thinking about the best 2023 Heisman Trophy Odds!
In the 86-year history of the trophy, 39 trophies have been won by quarterbacks. Since Chris Weinke won it in 2000, a quarterback has taken it home in 19 out of 23 years. It makes sense that the most important position would be played by the best players.
Last year, it looked like a wide-open race between Caleb Williams, Max Duggan, and C.J. Stroud. Recency bias is a hellova drug and Williams ended the season stronger than the latter two, he took home the award for USC’s eighth award (well, seventh, but Reggie Bush‘s 2005 award was vacated). Of course, that’s not to say he did not deserve the honor; Williams was certainly the best overall player in college football in 2022.
2023 Heisman Trophy Odds
Caleb Williams, Quarterback, USC (+500)
As the reigning award winner, it’s only natural that Williams would be the favorite for the 2023 Heisman Trophy odds. Williams showed how dynamic of a player he was at Oklahoma in his first year on campus. He threw for 1,912 yards and 21 touchdowns in 11 games as a true freshman. When Lincoln Riley jumped ship for USC, Williams followed and the rest is history.
In 14 games, Williams led the Trojans to 11 wins with appearances in the PAC-12 Title Game as well as the Cotton Bowl vs Tulane. On the year, he threw for 4,537 yards and 42 touchdowns while completing 66.6% of his passes. He threw for over 400 yards three times and at least four touchdowns five times.
Williams is looking like the early favorite to go first overall and he’s got all the tools NFL teams are looking for. He’s made himself into a sort of villain, however, with his painted nails from the PAC-12 Title Game.
Nails or not, Williams is a ridiculously talented quarterback and he has a legit shot to be the first two-time winner since Archie Griffin.
Michael Penix, Jr., Quarterback, Washington (+1200)
There won’t be many players in college football with more experience than Michael Penix, Jr. in 2023. This year will be his sixth at the collegiate level. Assuming he is able to stay healthy as he did last year, it makes sense that he has the second-best 2023 Heisman Trophy odds.
The issue thus far is that he has struggled to stay healthy. As a true freshman in 2018 at Indiana, Penix tore his ACL. He missed time in 2019 due to injury after being named the starter prior to the year. 2020 was his breakout season and he led Indiana to its most relevant season in years. Again, however, he tore his ACL at the end of the season.
After a less-than-good 2021, Penix elected to transfer to Washington for a fresh start. All he did in his first season as a Huskie was break the Washington single-season passing mark with 4,641 yards and added 31 touchdowns through the air. He’s also able to run, though he does not overdo it. He scored a career-best four times on the ground in 2022.
For 2023, Penix is expected to take another step forward and lead Washington back to the CFP.
Bo Nix, Quarterback, Oregon (+1200)
Sensing a pattern? Bo Nix, just like the two ahead of him, played well in one place and took another step after hitting the Transfer Portal.
2023 will be the fifth season where Nix is the starter. He started out at Auburn where he started for three years, throwing for 7,251 yards and 39 touchdowns. He was impressive and was already getting NFL looks as a freshman. Then, as it always seems, the hype caught up with the young quarterback, and his play grew tiring.
Then, he took a step forward in his development at Oregon. In just one year, Nix threw for 3,593 yards and a career-best 29 touchdowns. Even with a greater workload, his yards per attempt was at a career-best at 8.8. Without the 49-3 beatdown to the eventual back-to-back CFP Champion Georgia, that number increases to 9.2 yards per attempt.
With USC jumping ship after the season, Oregon is in a prime position to spoil the party. Each of the top three 2023 Heisman Trophy odds are Pac-12 players. Say what you want about the conference as a whole, there is going to be some exciting quarterback play.
Jordan Travis, Quarterback, Florida State (+1200)
Age, wisdom, and travel seem to be a theme here. In addition to Nix and Penix, Jordan Travis is an older quarterback who will finish his career in a different place than where he began.
Initially, Travis was a Louisville Cardinal. After one redshirt season, he transferred within the ACC to Florida State. After scarcely appearing in 2019, Travis got his chance as the starter in 2020 where he threw for 1,056 yards and six touchdowns in eight games.
He took a small step forward in 2021, but it wasn’t until 2022 that people started to take notice. He started all 13 games for the ‘Noles and threw for 3,214 yards and 24 touchdowns and only five interceptions.
If Travis can take another step forward in his development, Florida State can improve upon its 10-3 mark from 2022.
Jayden Daniels, Quarterback, LSU (+1500)
There were not many true freshmen on the scene who made such an immediate impact as Jayden Daniels did at Arizona State. In 2019, he threw for a career-best in passing yards (2,943) and touchdowns (17). From the jump, Daniels took over.
He only played in four games in the COVID-shortened 2020 season and took a slight step back in 2021, only throwing for 10 touchdowns while turning it over just as many times.
Then, he transferred to LSU to be Brian Kelly‘s starter. In Baton Rouge, he passed for 2,913 yards and 17 touchdowns, almost identical to his freshman year.
What makes him dynamic is his rushing ability. His legs earned him 885 yards and 11 touchdowns last year alone. He elected to come back to LSU to win a championship. He has the ability to do so, that’s for sure.
Drake Maye, Quarterback, North Carolina (+1500)
The best 2023 Heisman Trophy odds among players who have never transferred, Drake Maye exploded onto the scene last year for Mack Brown‘s squad at Chapel Hill.
The Redshirt Sophmore looks like he is primed to take another step forward in his development and compete with Williams to be the top quarterback in the 2024 NFL Draft.
Last year, Maye threw for a ridiculous 4,321 yards and 38 touchdowns. The hype train for Maye has been off the tracks for a long time and another elite season will have UNC wondering if it’s suddenly become a football school.
Sam Hartman, Quarterback, Notre Dame (+1500)
From Power 5 to Independent, Sam Hartman is quite the story. He goes into 2023 with five years of starting experience. unfortunately for him, he hasn’t been completely healthy. He missed time as a freshman, was Jamie Newman’s backup in 2019, was seemingly okay through 2020 and 2021, then a serious medical procedure left his 2022 season in question. Thankfully, he appeared in 12 games.
Most of the hype surrounding Hartman is thanks to his 2021 season where he threw for 4,228 yards and 39 touchdowns. He followed that up in 2022 by passing for 3,701 yards and 38 touchdowns in two fewer games.
The thing that Notre Dame seemed to lack last year was competent quarterback play. Hartman absolutely has the ability to become the best signal-caller the gold domes have had in a long time. Perhaps jumping to a larger college football market in Notre Dame will help him get the attention and hype he deserves.
Next Men Up
Quinn Ewers, Quarterback, Texas (+2000)
Kyle McCord, Quarterback, Ohio State (+2000)
Drew Allar, Quarterback, Penn State (+2500)
Joe Milton, Quarterback, Tennessee (+2500)
Carson Beck, Quarterback, Georgia (+2500)
Cade Klubnik, Quarterback, Clemson (+2500)
Marvin Harrison, Jr., Wide Receiver, Ohio State (+3000)
Main Image: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports