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 possibilities – week four

All Pac-12 list just makes sense
WSU quarterback Cameron Ward dives forward during an NCAA football game against Oregon State, Saturday, September 23, 2023 in Pullman, Wash.

It’s fitting that the Pac-12 is as talented as ever and the team’s producing as best as they can in its final year of existence. While other Conferences best contenders for the Heisman have already either taken bad losses or had bad performances, several Pac-12 QBs continue to impress. 

The top five Heisman contenders all come from the Conference and all have played fantastic through the first third of the 2023 season. All five benefit from national media following each of the teams in their final showcase of the Pac-12, only aiding the idea that one of these men will come away with the Award. 

WSU QB – Cam Ward 

Ward is quickly becoming a non-sleeper pick for the Heisman. Every single week, he comes out and shows why not only he deserves the recognition but the team as a whole. With Kyle Williams, Josh Kelly and Lincoln Victor as weapons, Ward has put up numbers.

With 1,309 yards through the air and 13 passing TDs with an additional three scores on the ground, he is one of the most efficient passers in the game. Completing 74.6% of his passes and having yet to throw an interception in 142 attempts, he has significantly improved on his ball security when it is in the air. 

He has his Cougs up to 4-0 on the year and ranked No. 16. If they can climb even higher and he can continue this pace, there are few players who can match his stats and storyline. 

UW QB – Michael Penix Jr. 

The state of Washington has been blessed with amazing QB play in 2023. Ward’s counterpart, in team and throwing hand, has been nothing short of electric. With the highest ESPN QB rating in the country at 93.7, he knows how to put on a show. 

Already up to 1,636 yards and 16 TDs, his own downfall is his two interceptions and lack of value with his legs. Ward has general ball security and added value on the ground, but Penix Jr. is head and shoulders above the competition when it comes to the arm. 

With the Huskies winning every game in a blowout, the Oregon game Oct. 14 might be a true test if they can get it done against a good defense. 

USC QB – Caleb Williams 

Williams is making a case that he should not get dethroned from his chair after winning the Heisman in 2022. With 1,200 yards and 15 TDs along with three rushing TDs, the Trojans and their QB are looking to build off 2022.

He has increased his completion percentage from 66.6% in 2022 to 74.3% and his average yards per attempt has gone up from 9.1 to 11.9. When someone who has won the Heisman already improves, it is hard to ignore. 

Oregon QB – Bo Nix 

Nix has the Ducks in the top 10 of the AP Poll and he has been a huge part of that. With a 79.4% completion percentage, he rivals J.J. McCarthy of Michigan as one of the most efficient and productive passers in the country.

Stats-wise, he has 1,169 yards and 11 TDs; not the best on this list but he is not far behind. If he can get Oregon over the hump, take down the other contending QBs of this Conference, and outperform them, he can sneak his way into winning the trophy. 

Colorado QB – Shedeur Sanders 

It will take a lot for Sanders actually to win the award. He had a pretty disappointing showing against Oregon, but next week against USC he can right the ship and get back on track. It is clear that the media takes a liking to this Buffaloes team and will focus on them, so big performances from Sanders hold weight. Sanders has 1,410 yards and 11 TDs through the air on the season despite a rough performance against Oregon. With several games later in the season where he can find himself putting up big numbers on lackluster defense, it is all about the teams and players above him having a slip-up or two for him to get right back to the top of the conversation. 

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About the Contributors
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.
HAILEE SPEIR, Evergreen photo editor
Hailee Speir is a photographer for the Daily Evergreen. Hailee is a junior English education major from Spokane, Washington. Hailee started working for the Evergreen in fall 2021 as a photographer.