The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

Willman’s Heisman top five – week one

Colorado has two interesting candidates
Greg Davis/WSU Athletics
WSU quarterback Cam Ward throws a pass during an NCAA football game against Colorado St. September 2nd, 2023 in Fort Collins, Colorado

With it being so early in the football season, there is a surplus of candidates for the Heisman trophy and there is a chance that no one mentioned here even makes it as a finalist with the nature of NCAA football. 

That said, there is always time to look at the top producers nationwide, especially those who benefit from a good storyline. 

Heisman Watchlist 

Honorable Mentions – Washington QB Michael Penix Jr., FSU QB Jordan Travis, Oregon QB Bo Nix, Notre Dame QB Sam Hartman 

USC QB – Caleb Williams 

The winner of the 2022 Heisman Trophy is the most proven candidate, but that may be his downfall. The last two-time winner of the Heisman Trophy was Archie Griffin, who won in 1974 and 1975. Griffin is also the only multi-time winner of the trophy, making it more improbable. 

But Williams has the talent. In two games in 2023, he has 597 yards on a 73.5% completion rate, throwing for nine touchdowns to zero interceptions so far. His stats will always be there and he has proven to be able to make those magical “Heisman moments,” it is more about how good USC can be. 

If the Trojans can get over the hump and make the College Football Playoff after being upset in the Pac-12 Championship in 2022, Williams may get enough votes to go back-to-back.

Colorado QB – Shedeur Sanders 

Sanders is already breaking records, proving he is ready for FBS play. Against the No. 17-ranked TCU Horned Frogs, he went 38-for-47 for 510 yards and four TDs. His passing yards broke the record for a single-game performance in Colorado program history, with his throws dicing up the defense as his accuracy proved to be elite. 

With the Colorado defense proving to be susceptible to letting up points quickly, Sanders will get a lot of offensive possessions every game. He also has a distinct storyline, as Colorado won one game in 2022 and his coach and father, Deion Sanders, will keep the Buffaloes in the national spotlight. 

Colorado WR/DB – Travis Hunter 

Hunter is likely the most unique player in college football in 2023. He may play well over 100 snaps in every game by playing both sides of the ball. As long as he is catching five or more passes each game and not getting torched by the opposing receivers, he will easily have the biggest impact in the nation. 

In week one, he had 11 catches for 139 yards on offense and had a clutch red zone interception that kept TCU out of the endzone and off the scoreboard entirely. With the immense talent on both sides, he can break records in terms of value. 

Michigan QB – J.J. McCarthy 

Michigan has a clear path to dominate the Big 10 and McCarthy will be a big part of that if they succeed. Against East Carolina, he went 26-for-30 for 280 yards and three TDs. While clearly not a jaw-dropping stat line, he is extremely consistent and if any other candidates fall off, he and the likely undefeated Wolverines will be there for the Trophy. 

WSU QB – Cam Ward 

The Pac-12 and WSU are the biggest story of the 2023 season. Ward has incredible talent and showed against Colorado State to start the season that he can put up incredible numbers. If the Cougs outperform expectations and win more than at least eight games, voters may feel inclined to give the Trophy to the leader of the great game. 

Ward went 37-for-49 for 451 yards and three TDs through the air and had 40 yards and a TD on the ground against Colorado State. If he ends with over 4,000 yards and 35 TDs on the year through the air, his running can get him anywhere from five to 10 TDs on top of that, clearly numbers good enough to at least be in contention.

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About the Contributor
BRANDON WILLMAN, Multimedia editor
Brandon Willman is a junior multimedia journalism student from Vancouver, Washington. He started working as a sportswriter for the Daily Evergreen in Fall 2022 and worked as copy editor in spring 2023. Brandon was elected to be the Editor-in-chief starting in summer 2023 and served in the position from May 2023 to February 2024 before transitioning to the role of multimedia editor. He enjoys watching sports, backpacking, and watching horror movies.