LSU QB Jayden Daniels overcomes being out of playoff hunt to win Heisman Trophy with prolific season

by Lucas Garcia
Jayden Daniels Heisman

Jayden Daniels, LSU’s electrifying quarterback, clinched the Heisman Trophy on Saturday, marking a rare achievement for a player from a team that missed the conference championship battle. Not since 2016 has a player secured this accolade under similar circumstances.

Transferring from Arizona State to LSU in 2022, Daniels, in his fifth year, garnered 503 first-place votes and amassed 2,029 points, thanks to his remarkable performance of 50 touchdowns and close to 5,000 total yards in only 12 games.

Daniels expressed his elation during his acceptance speech, acknowledging this as a realization of a lifelong dream.

At the award ceremony in New York, Daniels, a Heisman Trophy finalist, addressed the media, where Michael Penix Jr. from Washington was announced as the runner-up with 292 first-place votes and 1,701 points. Oregon’s Bo Nix ranked third, followed by Ohio State’s Marvin Harrison Jr.

Dressed in a stylish light gray suit, Daniels momentarily bowed his head upon hearing his name announced. Although he was the anticipated winner, the confirmation brought him relief. Throughout his speech, Daniels remained poised, extending gratitude to everyone from his teammates to the support staff at LSU.

Daniels, who will turn 23 on December 18, had already been named AP Player of the Year earlier in the week. He joins a recent trend of transfer quarterbacks claiming the Heisman, a list that includes former LSU star Joe Burrow and USC’s Caleb Williams.

He praised his teammates from both Arizona State and LSU, acknowledging their role in his journey. Daniels is the third LSU player to win the Heisman, joining the ranks of Billy Cannon and others.

Despite LSU’s exclusion from the championship race following two early-season losses, Daniels was not at fault. He expressed regret for not bringing another championship to LSU but remained a standout performer.

Daniels excelled in both passing (3,812 yards) and running (1,134), leading the nation in total offense with an average of 412 yards per game and an impressive 10.71 yards per play.

LSU, currently ranked 13th, is preparing to face Wisconsin in the ReliaQuest Bowl on January 1. Daniels has not yet decided on participating in this final college game. His next potential step could be the NFL draft combine.

Lamar Jackson was the last Heisman winner from a team that lost three games and did not compete for a conference title. Traditionally, Heisman voters have favored players from College Football Playoff contenders, but Daniels’ extraordinary season made him an undeniable choice.

After LSU’s loss to Alabama, which effectively ended their championship aspirations, the team rallied behind Daniels, recognized by coach Brian Kelly as the best player in college football.

Daniels’ performance remained in the spotlight even as LSU faded from playoff contention. He made history against Florida, becoming the first major college football player to achieve at least 350 yards passing and 200 rushing in a game.

Daniels’ journey from a four-star recruit at Arizona State to a Heisman winner at LSU under coach Brian Kelly exemplifies his growth and adaptability. Kelly praised Daniels for winning over the team through hard work and humility.

Daniels’ leadership took LSU to an SEC West title last year, and his decision to return for a fifth season put him in the Heisman conversation, ultimately leading to his triumph in the race.

While other contenders like Nix, Penix, and Harrison were engaged in high-stakes games with playoff implications, Daniels remained the frontrunner, outperforming his rivals to secure the Heisman Trophy.

For more detailed coverage and updates, follow Ralph D. Russo at https://twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP and listen at http://www.appodcasts.com.

Stay informed about the latest AP Top 25 poll and college football news by signing up at https://bigbignews.net/college-football and https://bigbignews.net/ap-top-25-college-football-poll.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Jayden Daniels Heisman

Who is Jayden Daniels?

Jayden Daniels is LSU’s dual-threat quarterback who won the Heisman Trophy in 2023. He transferred from Arizona State to LSU in 2022 and has been notable for his outstanding performance in the season, accounting for 50 touchdowns and nearly 5,000 total yards in 12 regular-season games.

What makes Jayden Daniels’ Heisman Trophy win unique?

Daniels’ Heisman Trophy win is unique because he became the first player since 2016 to win this prestigious award while being part of a team that did not compete for a conference championship. His individual performance stood out despite his team, LSU, not being in the playoff hunt.

How did Jayden Daniels perform in the 2023 season?

In the 2023 season, Jayden Daniels achieved remarkable stats, accounting for 50 touchdowns and nearly 5,000 total yards in just 12 regular-season games. He led the nation in total offense, averaging 412 yards per game and 10.71 yards per play.

What are some of Jayden Daniels’ previous achievements?

Before winning the Heisman Trophy, Jayden Daniels was already recognized as a talented player. He was a fifth-year player, started all three seasons for Arizona State as a four-star recruit, and led LSU to an SEC West title. He was also named AP Player of the Year earlier in the same week of his Heisman win.

What is next for Jayden Daniels after winning the Heisman Trophy?

Following his Heisman Trophy win, Jayden Daniels has not yet decided whether he will play in the final game of his college career at the ReliaQuest Bowl. There is speculation about his potential participation in the NFL draft combine, with his stock on the rise.

More about Jayden Daniels Heisman

  • [Jayden Daniels’ Heisman Victory]
  • [LSU Quarterback Jayden Daniels]
  • [2023 College Football Highlights]
  • [Heisman Trophy Winners History]
  • [LSU Football Season Recap]
  • [College Quarterbacks to Watch]
  • [Transfer Impact in College Football]

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JoeTigerFan December 10, 2023 - 5:14 am

Wow, Daniels really pulled it off this year! didn’t think he’d get the Heisman but he proved us all wrong. amazing season for him!

HeismanHistorian December 10, 2023 - 8:19 am

This win puts Daniels in a unique spot in Heisman history. Not often we see such talent overshadow the team’s overall performance!

SportsGuru99 December 10, 2023 - 10:28 am

Not sure why everyone’s so surprised, Daniels stats were insane this year… he was the obvious choice for Heisman, no doubt.

TouchdownTim December 10, 2023 - 2:34 pm

LSU’s gonna miss Daniels next year for sure… who’s gonna fill those big shoes???

ASU_Alum December 10, 2023 - 7:19 pm

Proud to see an ex-Sun Devil shine! Daniels has come a long way since his days at Arizona State. Wish him all the best in the NFL draft.

CollegeFBFanatic December 10, 2023 - 11:20 pm

its great to see a player from a non-playoff team get recognition. Shows that the Heisman isn’t just about the team’s success.


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