Southern California quarterback Caleb Williams won the Heisman Trophy Saturday night, with voters selecting the Trojans quarterback as the best player in college football.
It was a wide-open field for the Heisman. Alabama quarterback Bryce Young, last year’s winner, wasn’t even a finalist for the 2022 award. Instead, the finalists included Williams, TCU’s Max Duggan, Georgia’s Stetson Bennett, and Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud. All the finalists were quarterbacks. Although the award is for college football’s best player, it’s emerged as a quarterback-friendly trophy.
According to the Heisman committee, Duggan finished as runner-up, with Stroud coming in third and Bennett placing fourth. Williams appeared on nearly 89 percent of the ballots and won all six voting regions. Overall, he finished with 2,031 points to Duggan’s 1,420.
Williams was the lone finalist whose team didn’t earn a spot in the College Football Playoffs. USC lost to Utah in the Pac-12 championship. Heisman voters didn’t blame Williams for the loss. The quarterback strained his hamstring during the game, which severely limited his running and scrambling ability. Two days later. Stroud and the Buckeyes leaped over the Trojans for the fourth spot in the playoffs.
In a rare move, the Heisman committee released who finished fifth through tenth in the voting before Saturday’s finale. However, the committee didn’t reveal the vote totals. Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker, whose spectacular season ended in November because of a knee injury, finished fifth. Young was sixth, while Michigan running back Blake Corum came in seventh. Like Hooker, his season also ended abruptly before the playoffs because of a knee injury.
Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr, who led the nation in passing, was eighth. Texas running back Bijan Robinson, who won the Doak Walker as the nation’s best running back, finished ninth. And North Carolina freshman quarterback Drake Maye rounded out the top 10.
USC coach Lincoln Riley definitely has earned the title of Heisman quarterback whisperer. He coached Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray, two Heisman winners, while he was head coach at Oklahoma. Plus, Jalen Hurts, one of Riley’s Sooner QBs, was runnerup to the Heisman.
Riley moved from OU to USC before the 2022 season. Because the NCAA loosened transfer rules, Williams was able to leave OU and have immediate eligibility at USC. He became USC’s eighth Heisman winner.
Heisman voters liked the fact that Williams led the nation in touchdown throws with 37. He also threw for 4,075 yards, which ranked fourth nationally. In a Thursday ceremony, Williams picked up the Maxwell and Walter Camp Awards as the country’s most outstanding offensive player. They don’t automatically signal a Heisman win, but they can predict one.
The other Heisman finalists did well, too. Duggan won the Davey O’Brien Award as the nation’s top QB. The award is named for a legendary Horned Frog quarterback, but Duggan is the first TCU player to win it.
Meanwhile, Bennett won the Burlsworth Trophy as the best former walk-on player. He’s also the first Georgia finalist in 30 years. His Bulldogs also are the defending national champions. Stroud, who also was a Heisman finalist last year, and his Buckeyes got a reprieve when USC faltered last weekend.