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 Hierarchy – week three

Cam Ward sneaky pick for Heisman
Cam Ward sings the Cougar Fight Song in front of the Cougar Marching Band after win over Northern Colorado, Sept. 16.

Conference play is right around the corner for NCAA football and players should be in form for the rest of the season, which also means the Heisman race will start to heat up with bigger wins and better performances from the nation’s best players. 

Reigning Heisman winner Caleb Williams has not missed a step in 2023, but competition is fierce through the first three weeks. Four players make interesting cases for their candidacy, but all can change week by week. 

WSU QB – Cam Ward 

One of the most underrated players in all of college football, Ward looks as sharp as ever to start the 2023 season. Having his Cougs up to No. 21 in the nation with a ranked win at home over then-No. 19, Ward also has the stats to back it up.

Through three games, he has completed 72.2% of his passes for 986 yards and nine passing TDs with no interceptions. On the ground, he has 95 rushing yards and two extra TDs. His QB rating is up to 176.4 and has improved much over his 2022 form. 

Cam Ward prepares to take a snap against Northern Colorado, Sept. 16.

To win the Heisman, WSU must shock many people and finish well within the top 20 of the final AP Poll, and Ward must continue to average 300 yards passing and multiple TDs a game while limiting turnovers to stay in the conversation. 

While he benefits from the support for WSU across the country amid Conference uncertainty, that will not be enough to get him over the hump if his stats and team performance are not up to par. With a big match against Conference opponent Oregon State Saturday, Ward’s Heisman candidacy will sink or swim early. 

Notre Dame QB – Sam Hartman 

Getting Notre Dame up to No. 9 in the AP Poll, Hartman has been as efficient as they come. Completing 69% of his passes for 1,061 yards and 13 TDs and no interceptions, his ball security and decision-making have been elite. 

His upcoming bout with No. 6 Ohio State is the perfect opportunity to solidify his Heisman moment with a big play in an upset win, playing a spoiler to the Buckeye’s season. With Notre Dame looking their best in years with him under center, continued strong play will keep Hartman in the conversation. 

Washington QB – Michael Penix Jr. 

No one puts up stats like Penix. After proving he can stay healthy for an entire season in 2022 with UW, he is the second most popular pick to take home the Heisman after the reigning winner. 

Washington is 3-0, already having 1,332 yards and 12 TDs. While Penix adds no value with his legs, the potential records to be broken with his arms cannot be understated. With games against Cal and Arizona in the next two weeks, there is nothing in the way of UW cruising to a 5-0 start and Penix having near or past 2,000 yards on the year while not even halfway through.

If he can lead his team to victory over Oregon at home to improve to 6-0, it should be relatively smooth sailing, barring a big upset, injury or statistical setback.

FSU QB – Jordan Travis 

Travis has already led Florida State to one of the season’s biggest wins three weeks in. Taking down LSU, the Seminoles have a clear path to the College Football Playoff if they survive Clemson Saturday. 

While his stats are lackluster, Travis will continue to put up above-average stats at a big market school, surely keeping him in consideration if any of the guys listed above slip up for a week or two.

Completing 63.1% of his passes, he has 729 yards on the season and eight TDs with one interception. Not jaw-dropping by any means, but respectable to say the least.

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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.