2023 Heisman Trophy Finalist Revealed: Jayden Daniels, Michael Penix Jr. Among Candidates

Who's heading to New York for the top individual prize in college football? What were their journeys? The 2023 Heisman Trophy candidates were unveiled Monday.

The football world now knows who will be heading to Radio City Music Hall in New York with their sights set on the Heisman Trophy on Saturday.

On Monday, Jayden Daniels of LSU, Michael Penix Jr. of Washington, Bo Nix of Oregon, and Marvin Harrison Jr. of Ohio State were announced as the finalists for the coveted award that honors the nation’s best college athlete. Here’s an overview of how all four names became finalists.

2023 Heisman Trophy Finalists

Jayden Daniels, QB, LSU

Perhaps no one in the nation had a better charge to Heisman candidacy than the Tigers’ quarterback.

Daniels, who transferred to Baton Rouge, La., from Arizona State, combined for at least five touchdowns in his last three regular-season games. That includes the epic eight-touchdown performance against Georgia State on Nov. 18. He also threw four touchdowns and ran for 120 yards in the regular-season finale over Texas A&M.

The native of San Bernardino, Calif., finished his regular season throwing for 3,812 yards, tossed 40 touchdowns, and was intercepted just four times. He then added 1,134 yards and 10 rushing touchdowns with his legs.

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Daniels completed two seasons with LSU. He spent his first three collegiate seasons with the Sun Devils after being recruited by former head coach Herm Edwards. He’s now positioned himself to join past LSU great Joe Burrow — the school’s lone Heisman winner.

Michael Penix Jr., QB, Washington

Like Daniels, Penix found football salvation by testing the transfer portal.

The native of Tampa Bay, Fla., came to the Seattle region as a former Indiana Hoosier. He reunited with his 2019 offensive coordinator in Bloomington, Ind., Kalen DeBoer, and ascended from there.

Penix posted back-to-back 4,000-yard seasons with the Huskies, including 4,218 yards this past season for the College Football Playoff qualifier. Penix then shattered a new personal record of 33 touchdown passes for the 12-0 Huskies. He also went 24-2 as a starter.

Penix heads to New York as a story of perseverance. He had to overcome four different season-ending injuries to reach this pinnacle. That includes needing to overcome two ACL tears in 2018 and 2021.

Bo Nix, QB, Oregon

Nix joins Penix as the final Pac-12 representative to be invited to the ceremony. He too shares one thing in common with his fellow passers in the room: being a transfer.

Nix began his CFB journey with Auburn. He spent three seasons playing for the Tigers and former head coach Bryan Harsin. His highest touchdown total with Auburn (16) came in his 2019 freshman season.

But Nix began to flourish in Eugene, Ore.; Nix went on to complete more than 70% of his throws and combined for 69 touchdown passes in his two years with the Ducks. He delivered his first 4,000-yard campaign (4,145) while posting an astonishing touchdown to interception ratio of 40:3.

Nix has a chance to become Oregon’s first Heisman winner since Marcus Mariota took home the award in 2014.

Marvin Harrison Jr., WR, Ohio State

Can the son of the NFL legend from the Indianapolis Colts bring the trophy back to the wide receiver room?

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Harrison has a chance to become the first wideout since DeVonta Smith of Alabama to win the coveted award. The junior tied his previous best of 14 receiving touchdowns to earn his trip to New York.

In addition to his 14 touchdowns, Harrison posted consecutive 1,200-yard seasons, and he averaged a career-best 18.1 yards per catch for the 11-1 Buckeyes.

Harrison ended his stellar 2023 season by posting an astonishing eight 100-yard games. That includes the 162 he racked up against No. 7 Penn State on Oct. 21. Harrison can also end a streak on Ohio State’s side. The Buckeyes haven’t produced a Heisman winner since quarterback Troy Smith took the award in 2006. The school has produced five different winners including the lone back-to-back winner: Archie Griffin.

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