ESPN

2023 Heisman Tracker

A season-long look at ESPN's voting
for college football's most coveted award

It's all over but the countin'.

After years of moaning over meh Heisman Trophy races, some began to question the relevance of an 88-year-old award "to the most outstanding player in college football" in this ever-changing world of NIL, the transfer portal and an impatient rush toward becoming NFL 2.0.

But look at that bronzed New Yorker, spending this entire 2023 season stiff-arming all that chatter about his demise. How? By joining forces with a roster of young teammates located coast-to-coast and conference-to-conference, throwing and running and catching footballs at a rate so rapid that it has had our Heisman Tracker graphic climbing and falling like the Griswolds on the Screaming Mimi.

From defending Heisman winner Caleb Williams and a sudden gaggle of would-be Pac-12 successors to SEC and Big Ten superstars, most of whom kept their teams in the CFP scrum all season long, who among them do our ESPN panelists believe will be having their photo taken onstage in Manhattan? We asked. They answered. Just as we've done every month of this season. Now you can see our final result while we wait for the final final result on Saturday night (8 p.m. ET, ESPN).

Points awarded: 5 for first-place votes, 4 for second, 3 for third, 2 for fourth and 1 for fifth. Odds by ESPN BET.


  1. If you were wondering why we went with "most of whom kept their teams in the CFP scrum all season long," it's because the one member of this list who wasn't on a national title contender all the way into the final weekend of the regular season was Daniels, leading the 9-3 Tigers who finished third in the SEC West. But when you throw for 3,812 yards and 40 TDs while also rushing for 1,134 yards and another 10 scores, then your status is -- what was it that Heisman inscription says? Most outstanding player? -- pretty outstanding. In the three games LSU lost -- FSU, Ole Miss and Bama -- he still averaged 413 yards of total offense and added nine TDs, and this was even after exiting the Alabama game early because of injury. "We ran drills all week, getting spies ready for Jayden Daniels," Nick Saban said following the Tide's win, though they surrendered 116 yards rushing to the senior before he was forced to the sidelines early in the fourth quarter. "But when the spies track him, get to him, physically grab him but then can't bring him down and he just keeps running, that's an outstanding football player." ESPN points awarded: 66

    Player Stats

    2023 Season Week 13 vs. Texas A&M

    passing yards 3,812 235
    total tds 50 4
    rushing yards 1,134 120
    interceptions 4 0
    Current odds
    -1800

    Total votes by Week

    1. 1st
    2. 2nd
    3. 3rd
    4. 4th
    5. 5th
    1. Wk 0: 9 pts (0 first, 2 second, 0 third)

      1. 0
      2. 2
      3. 0
      4. 0
      5. 1
    2. Wk 6: 4 PTS (0 first, 0 second, 0 third)

      1. 0
      2. 0
      3. 0
      4. 0
      5. 4
    3. Wk 7: 25 PTS (0 first, 2 second, 0 third)

      1. 0
      2. 2
      3. 0
      4. 7
      5. 3
    4. Wk 8: 47 PTS (6 first, 2 second, 3 third)

      1. 6
      2. 2
      3. 3
      4. 0
      5. 0
    5. Wk 9: 51 PTS (4 first, 5 second, 2 third)

      1. 4
      2. 5
      3. 2
      4. 1
      5. 3
    6. Wk 10: 65 PTS (9 first, 4 second, 1 third)

      1. 9
      2. 4
      3. 1
      4. 0
      5. 1
    7. Wk 11: 69 PTS (11 first, 2 second, 2 third)

      1. 11
      2. 2
      3. 2
      4. 0
      5. 0
    8. Wk 12: 70 PTS (11 first, 3 second, 1 third)

      1. 11
      2. 3
      3. 1
      4. 0
      5. 0
    9. Wk 13: 69 PTS (9 first, 6 second, 0 third)

      1. 9
      2. 6
      3. 0
      4. 0
      5. 0
    10. Heisman trophy wk: 66 PTS (9 first, 3 second, 3 third)

      1. 9
      2. 3
      3. 3
      4. 0
      5. 0

    Heisman-worthy moment

    Florida at LSU:

    Jayden Daniels throws three touchdowns and runs for two more.


  2. This Hoosier-turned-Husky managed to turn the entire second half of the season into his own personal escape room challenge. Beginning with Washington's 31-21 win over Arizona in Week 5, all but one of the team's past nine victories have been by single-digit margins, and the only game that wasn't was won by only 10, after entering the fourth quarter tied with USC and Caleb Williams. Penix jumped into our midseason Tracker lead after outlasting Oregon and Bo Nix in a Week 7 Heisman showdown, but that momentum eroded via all those skin-of-the-wet-dog-nose November wins, as did America's and (Las Vegas's) confidence that Big Penix Energy (thanks again for that, Desmond Howard) could beat the Ducks again in the Pac-12 title game. Penix responded with 319 yards passing and a TD for good measure, enough to boost UW into the CFP and send their QB to NYC. But in the eyes of our Heisman Tracker contributors, despite four first-place votes, he'll fall just short of bringing back Washington's first stiff-armed reward, instead joining real-life Incredible Hulk Steve Emtman as their alma mater's only Heisman finalists. ESPN points awarded: 59

    Player Stats

    2023 season Conference title vs. Oregon

    passing yards 4,218 319
    total tds 36 1
    Comp. Pct. 65.9% 69.2%
    interceptions 9 1
    Current odds
    +1100

    Total votes by Week

    1. 1st
    2. 2nd
    3. 3rd
    4. 4th
    5. 5th
    1. Wk 0: 32 pts (0 first, 2 second, 4 third)

      1. 0
      2. 2
      3. 4
      4. 4
      5. 4
    2. Wk 1: 40 pts (0 first, 5 second, 3 third)

      1. 0
      2. 5
      3. 3
      4. 5
      5. 1
    3. Wk 2: 53 pts (2 first, 7 second, 5 third)

      1. 2
      2. 7
      3. 5
      4. 0
      5. 0
    4. WK 3: 65 PTS (6 first, 8 second, 1 third)

      1. 6
      2. 8
      3. 1
      4. 0
      5. 0
    5. WK 4: 74 PTS (14 first, 1 second, 0 third)

      1. 14
      2. 1
      3. 0
      4. 0
      5. 0
    6. Wk 5: 66 PTS (6 first, 9 second, 0 third)

      1. 6
      2. 9
      3. 0
      4. 0
      5. 0
    7. Wk 6: 70 PTS (10 first, 5 second, 0 third)

      1. 10
      2. 5
      3. 0
      4. 0
      5. 0
    8. Wk 7: 75 PTS (15 first, 0 second, 0 third)

      1. 15
      2. 0
      3. 0
      4. 0
      5. 0
    9. Wk 8: 58 PTS (4 first, 8 second, 0 third)

      1. 4
      2. 8
      3. 0
      4. 3
      5. 0
    10. Wk 9: 61 PTS (7 first, 4 second, 2 third)

      1. 7
      2. 4
      3. 2
      4. 2
      5. 0
    11. Wk 10: 54 PTS (3 first, 7 second, 2 third)

      1. 3
      2. 7
      3. 2
      4. 2
      5. 1
    12. Wk 11: 43 PTS (1 first, 4 second, 2 third)

      1. 1
      2. 4
      3. 2
      4. 8
      5. 0
    13. Wk 12: 39 PTS (0 first, 2 second, 8 third)

      1. 0
      2. 2
      3. 8
      4. 3
      5. 1
    14. Wk 13: 43 PTS (0 first, 0 second, 13 third)

      1. 0
      2. 0
      3. 13
      4. 2
      5. 0
    15. Heisman trophy wk: 59 PTS (4 first, 7 second, 3 third)

      1. 4
      2. 7
      3. 3
      4. 1
      5. 0

    Heisman-worthy moment

    Oregon vs. Washington:

    Michael Penix Jr. connects with Jalen McMillan for a 45-yard reception in the Pac-12 title game.


  3. 3rd

    Bo Nix

    QB, Oregon

    It is very easy to root for Nix, who arrived at Auburn in 2019 as a Mr. Alabama high school star and legacy QB (son of former Tiger Patrick Nix). He shouldered the load of both promise and expectations on the Plains, only to become a War Eagle social media pinata and transferred 2,600 miles away to Oregon. His love of the game and of the Ducks was apparent to anyone who watched the Pac-12 championship as he wept during the closing seconds of his team's second loss to Washington, their only two L's of 2023. His 4,145 passing yards are second in the nation behind Penix, and his 40 TD passes are tied for tops in FBS with Daniels. At the end of October, he was tied for fourth in this poll with FSU's Jordan Travis and closed out the regular season sitting second in this poll, only three points behind Daniels. But his second head-to-head defeat to Penix -- in which he had three TD passes and a dramatic run that set up the Ducks' final score -- proved to be too much to overcome in this race in the eyes of our voters, though he did top two of our 15 ballots. ESPN points awarded: 52

    Player Stats

    2023 season Conference title vs. Washington

    passing yards 4,145 239
    total tds 46 3
    comp. pct. 77.2% 61.8%
    interceptions 3 1
    Current odds
    +2500

    Total votes by Week

    1. 1st
    2. 2nd
    3. 3rd
    4. 4th
    5. 5th
    1. Wk 0: 2 pts (0 first, 0 second, 0 third)

      1. 0
      2. 0
      3. 0
      4. 0
      5. 2
    2. Wk 1: 5 pts (0 first, 0 second, 0 third)

      1. 0
      2. 0
      3. 0
      4. 0
      5. 5
    3. Wk 2: 6 pts (0 first, 0 second, 0 third)

      1. 0
      2. 0
      3. 0
      4. 1
      5. 4
    4. WK 3: 20 PTS (0 first, 0 second, 2 third)

      1. 0
      2. 0
      3. 2
      4. 6
      5. 2
    5. WK 4: 37 PTS (0 first, 2 second, 6 third)

      1. 0
      2. 2
      3. 6
      4. 3
      5. 3
    6. Wk 5: 33 PTS (0 first, 0 second, 8 third)

      1. 0
      2. 0
      3. 8
      4. 4
      5. 1
    7. Wk 6: 30 PTS (0 first, 1 second, 5 third)

      1. 0
      2. 1
      3. 5
      4. 4
      5. 2
    8. Wk 7: 25 PTS (0 first, 2 second, 5 third)

      1. 0
      2. 2
      3. 5
      4. 1
      5. 0
    9. Wk 8: 7 PTS (0 first, 0 second, 1 third)

      1. 0
      2. 0
      3. 1
      4. 1
      5. 2
    10. Wk 9: 23 PTS (0 first, 3 second, 1 third)

      1. 0
      2. 3
      3. 1
      4. 2
      5. 4
    11. Wk 10: 21 PTS (0 first, 0 second, 2 third)

      1. 0
      2. 0
      3. 2
      4. 4
      5. 7
    12. Wk 11: 42 PTS (1 first, 5 second, 2 third)

      1. 1
      2. 5
      3. 2
      4. 4
      5. 3
    13. Wk 12: 60 PTS (4 first, 7 second, 4 third)

      1. 4
      2. 7
      3. 4
      4. 0
      5. 0
    14. Wk 13: 66 PTS (6 first, 9 second, 0 third)

      1. 6
      2. 9
      3. 0
      4. 0
      5. 0
    15. Heisman trophy wk: 52 PTS (2 first, 4 second, 8 third)

      1. 2
      2. 4
      3. 8
      4. 1
      5. 0

    Heisman-worthy moment

    Oregon State at Oregon:

    Bo Nix throws two touchdowns and runs for another in the first half against rival Oregon State.


  4. We wanted to make a big deal out of the fact that Daniels wasn't even on this list in September, but that climb feels quaint compared to this one. Just two weeks ago, Milroe didn't receive a single vote from our panel, followed by only one fifth-place vote heading into the SEC title game against Georgia. Even that felt like little more than a nice attaboy for pulling off the fourth-and-31 "Gravedigger" miracle in the Iron Bowl. Now, after throwing a pair of TD passes to upset top-ranked Georgia in Atlanta, the Alabama sophomore is solidly in our top four and seemingly in position to enter 2024 as an early Heisman favorite. That "seemingly" will become "surefire" if he manages to win the Rose Bowl over another No. 1 in Michigan and helps Saban seize his eighth natty via a game played in Houston, which also happens to be Milroe's hometown. Not bad for a guy who was benched after two weeks because his coaches believed he needed an attitude adjustment. That tack appears to have worked. It's as if Nick Saban knows how to coach football. ESPN points awarded: 18

    Player Stats

    2023 season Conference title vs. Georgia

    passing yards 2,718 192
    total tds 35 2
    rushing yards 468 29
    interceptions 6 0
    Current odds
    +10000

    Total votes by Week

    1. 1st
    2. 2nd
    3. 3rd
    4. 4th
    5. 5th
    1. Wk 11: 1 PT (0 first, 0 second, 0 third)

      1. 0
      2. 0
      3. 0
      4. 0
      5. 1
    2. Wk 13: 1 PT (0 first, 0 second, 0 third)

      1. 0
      2. 0
      3. 0
      4. 0
      5. 1
    3. Heisman trophy wk: 18 PTS (0 first, 0 second, 0 third)

      1. 0
      2. 0
      3. 0
      4. 7
      5. 4

    Heisman-worthy moment

    Alabama at Auburn:

    Jalen Milroe finds Isaiah Bond on fourth-and-31 to save Bama's season.


  5. The lone non-QB to make our Heisman Tracker cut (sorry, Rome Odunze and Ollie Gordon) was, like Daniels, forced to sit at home and watch the other three on this list play in conference championship games. After starting autumn on everyone's preseason Heisman watch lists, the anchor of the Buckeyes' O disappeared for a while but rematerialized in October and never went away again. Even in the heartbreaking loss to Michigan in The Game, Harrison hauled in five catches for 118 yards and a crucial fourth-quarter TD that cut the Wolverines' lead to three. Harrison's entire Ohio State career has been about what could have been, from OSU's near-CFP win over Georgia in 2022 to his 0-3 record against Michigan to that rival also denying him even a Big Ten division title. Now, it would appear, you can add a close-but-not-enough Heisman campaign to that list. Is it too late to try and convince you to come back for one more try at all of the above, Marv? Pretty please? ESPN points awarded: 16

    Player Stats

    2023 season Week 13 at Michigan

    receiving yards 1,211 118
    total touchdowns 15 1
    receptions 67 5
    yards per catch 18.1 23.6
    Current odds
    +15000

    Total votes by Week

    1. 1st
    2. 2nd
    3. 3rd
    4. 4th
    5. 5th
    1. Wk 0: 27 pts (1 first, 1 second, 2 third)

      1. 1
      2. 1
      3. 2
      4. 5
      5. 2
    2. Wk 1: 5 pts (0 first, 0 second, 0 third)

      1. 1
      2. 0
      3. 0
      4. 0
      5. 0
    3. Wk 2: 3 pts (0 first, 0 second, 1 third)

      1. 0
      2. 0
      3. 1
      4. 0
      5. 0
    4. WK 3: 1 PT (0 first, 0 second, 0 third)

      1. 0
      2. 0
      3. 0
      4. 0
      5. 1
    5. Wk 7: 2 PTS (0 first, 0 second, 0 third)

      1. 0
      2. 0
      3. 0
      4. 1
      5. 0
    6. Wk 8: 39 PTS (2 first, 2 second, 4 third)

      1. 2
      2. 2
      3. 4
      4. 3
      5. 3
    7. Wk 9: 41 PTS (3 first, 1 second, 6 third)

      1. 3
      2. 1
      3. 6
      4. 1
      5. 2
    8. Wk 10: 41 PTS (3 first, 2 second, 5 third)

      1. 3
      2. 2
      3. 5
      4. 1
      5. 1
    9. Wk 11: 49 PTS (2 first, 4 second, 7 third)

      1. 2
      2. 4
      3. 7
      4. 1
      5. 0
    10. Wk 12: 32 PTS (0 first, 3 second, 2 third)

      1. 0
      2. 3
      3. 2
      4. 5
      5. 4
    11. Wk 13: 13 PTS (0 first, 0 second, 2 third)

      1. 0
      2. 0
      3. 2
      4. 2
      5. 3
    12. Heisman trophy wk: 16 PTS (0 first, 1 second, 1 third)

      1. 0
      2. 1
      3. 1
      4. 3
      5. 3

    Heisman-worthy moment

    Michigan State at Ohio State:

    Marvin Harrison Jr. scores three touchdowns -- two on receptions, another running.


Looking ahead

As Marvin Harrison Jr. mulls over that last request, we now look ahead to the Heisman Trophy race of 2024. Will Jalen Milroe indeed be the favorite to bring Bama its fifth Heisman since 2009 after going 0-for-72? Will Michigan's J.J. McCarthy, who spent a huge chunk of this season on the Tracker, return to Ann Arbor with an eye on joining Desmond Howard, Charles Woodson and Tom Harmon in the Blue Heisman club? Will Dillon Gabriel make a Heisman run from what is expected to be his third FBS school? Or will someone we haven't even thought of be making a climb up our fancy digital Heisman Tracker hill one year from now? If 2023 has taught us anything, it's that we have no idea what might happen. Reports of the bronze footballer's demise were most definitely exaggerated. Not only is Mr. Heisman not outdated, he would appear to be just getting started.

Best of the Rest: Quinn Ewers, QB, Texas; Carson Beck, QB, Georgia; Rome Odunze, WR, Washington; Jordan Travis, QB, Florida State