Winning the Heisman Trophy as an underclassmen used to be a rare occurrence. But as the voters’ thought process on the award has changed, younger players have an opportunity to win the trophy more than once. Few players seem to have a better opportunity at a repeat victory than Southern California quarterback Caleb Williams.
Williams received 544 votes to win the trophy last season. But this year, Williams will need to do more to win the award. The biggest stumbling block for Williams could be the team’s success. USC failed to win the PAC 12 title last season. The Trojans are undefeated so far this year but face a lot of stiff tests in conference.
Williams finished last season with 4,537 passing yards and threw for 42 touchdowns and only five interceptions. He is on a similar trajectory this season. Williams has thrown 21 touchdowns and only thrown one interception. All it will take for Williams to become the first back-to-back Heisman Trophy winner since Archie Griffin did it in 1974-75 will be for him to help his team continue to win games.
Up-to-date sports news shows nearly 60 percent of all college football rosters are made up of Black players. Here’s a look at a number of players who have stood out this season and have serious aspirations of playing professionally once this season comes to an end.
Legacy Player Develops Own Identity
Ohio State wide receiver Marvin Harrison, Jr. will always be working to escape his father’s shadow. Marvin’s dad, black sports news shows, was a long-time receiver for the Indianapolis Colts and was one of Peyton Manning’s top targets. Usually, the children of athletes struggle to equal their parents’ success for many reasons.
Harrison exploded as a sophomore after seeing limited time as a freshman. During 2022, Harris caught 77 passes for 1,263 yards and 14 touchdowns. If there wasn’t a rule that says college players must wait three years before being drafted, Harrison would have likely been a top-10 pick in last season’s draft.
But Harrison came back for a junior season and has seen a slow start by his standards. Ohio State breaking in a new quarterback has impacted his numbers. While Harrison averages 19.8 yards per catch, he has only caught 17 balls through four games.
Penix Has Been Great Fit in Seattle
Michael Penix Jr. is one of the great examples of the transfer portal benefitting a player. Penix was a good player at Indiana but couldn’t stay healthy with an undermanned Hoosiers program. Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, Penix got an extra year after he transferred to Washington.
Penix’s first year in Washington turned the program around. He finished with 4,641 passing yards and threw for 31 touchdowns. Being able to come back in 2023 may help Penix’s draft stock big time. Penix led the NCAA through four games by throwing 16 touchdown passes this year, according to top sports news today. In a competitive PAC 12, Penix has become one of the great success stories from the transfer portal.
Estime Leads Notre Dame’s Running Game
Notre Dame junior Audric Estime has helped the Fightin’ Irish stay in the race for the College Football Playoff. While a loss to Ohio State means Notre Dame likely needs to win out, the Irish have plenty of strong players to make the dream possible. Estime has been a player who has steadily been building his stock through his collegiate career.
Estime leads all FBS ball carriers in rushing yards. So far this season, Estime has averaged over 7.0 yards per carry and scored seven touchdowns. He has been an important cog in the machine. Notre Dame brought in transfer quarterback Sam Hartman this season, and the Irish have been trying to get him up to speed.
Estime has been all gas since the season started. He will be able to make a run at winning the collegiate rushing title should he continue moving at this pace.
Sanders Has Made Impressive Leap
The Colorado hype train was more than a little exaggerated after their 3-0 start to the season. But it shouldn’t take away from what quarterback Shedeur Sanders has accomplished. Sanders played his first two seasons with Jackson State in the Football Championship Subdivision.
It was unclear how Sanders would handle the bump up to FBS. While Sanders has developed some flaws, he has put together a string of strong performances. Sanders has passed for over 1,500 yards and thrown for 15 touchdowns. Not much was expected from the Buffaloes this season.
Colorado only had a 1-11 record last season and has already exceeded its win total. But Sanders still has a lot to prove as the schedule goes on. The Buffaloes’ over/under before the season was only set at 3.5 games, so Colorado would like to far exceed that number and possibly qualify for a bowl game.
Travis Has Rewarded Patience
Florida State is back. Quarterback Jordan Travis is a big reason why. Travis is using his extra year from the COVID-19 pandemic and is trying to bring the Seminoles back to the College Football Playoff. During his fifth year, Travis passed for 3,214 yards with 24 touchdowns and five interceptions.
Travis has already topped 1,000 passing yards this season and threw 10 touchdown passes. The Seminoles have already beat Clemson and LSU so far this season, and Travis hopes to add more accolades as the season goes along.
Travis initially started at Louisville and transferred to play with the Seminoles after two seasons. Florida State coach Matt Norvell was in danger of losing his job last season before Travis was able to take over under center and turn around the fate of the program.
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