Heisman Trophy voters were unable to ignore LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels' outstanding season, which helped him overcome not being in the running for the playoffs.
As a member of a team that did not compete for a conference championship, Daniels became the first player since 2016 to earn college football's most coveted player of the year award, the Heisman Trophy, on Saturday night.
After transferring from Arizona State to LSU in 2022, the fifth-year athlete scored 2,029 points and 503 first-place votes.
Daniels began his acceptance speech by saying, "This is a dream come true."
With 292 first-place votes and 1,701 points, Michael Penix Jr. of Washington came in second, followed by Bo Nix of Oregon in third place (51, 885), meaning that transfer quarterbacks accounted for all three of the top three positions. Marvin Harrison Jr., an Ohio State receiver, placed fourth (20, 352).
Daniels won AP Player of the Year earlier this week. He turns 23 on December 18.
With his transfer, Daniels becomes the fifth quarterback in the last seven seasons to win the Heisman Trophy, following Joe Burrow (a former standout at LSU) in 2019 and Caleb Williams (of USC) in 2018.
Daniels remarked, "I want to thank all of my teammates, from Arizona State to LSU." "You are my siblings. Because of how hard you work every day, I'm motivated to do my best.
He is LSU's third overall Heisman winner, including 1959's Billy Cannon, a running back.
Burrow guided LSU to a national title, and Cannon's squad, which finished third in the nation, nearly made it.
With two losses in the first six weeks of the season, Daniels' Tigers (9-3) lost that game, but he was not at all to blame.
"I sincerely hope I could have returned with another title," Daniels remarked, expressing gratitude to the LSU supporters.
He provided the greatest offense in the nation with week after week of running and passing. In 12 games during the regular season, Daniels finished with 3,812 yards passing, 1,134 yards rushing, and 50 touchdowns overall. With an astonishing average of 10.71 yards per play, he leads the country in total offense (412 yards per game).
On January 1, No. 13 LSU is scheduled to play Wisconsin in the ReliaQuest Bowl; Daniels has not yet indicated whether he would participate.
On a team that dropped three games and did not compete for a title, Lamar Jackson of Louisville was the last player to win the Heisman Trophy; Daniels' output exceeded his.
Despite Daniels' 382 yards and three touchdowns in total, LSU was eliminated from the Southeastern Conference race when it fell to Alabama in early November.
Daniels dropped out of the playoff picture, but his play remained noteworthy. He made history against Florida by becoming the first prominent college football player to finish a game with at least 350 passing yards and 200 rushing yards; he finished with 606 yards against the Gators.
He was prodded by his teammates to strike a Heisman pose during the Baton Rouge, Louisiana, game. Daniels claimed that following that performance, he began to think that becoming the Heisman Trophy winner would actually happen.
This season, Daniels' growth has been astounding. He joined Johnny Manziel, the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner, as the only other SEC player, and he became the eighth player in major college football history to pass for at least 3,500 yards and run for 1,000 in a season.
Under former coach Herman Edwards, he started his career as a four-star recruit from Southern California at Arizona State. Daniels was a capable but erratic starter with the Sun Devils for all three of their seasons. Daniels left the Sun Devils to play for coach Brian Kelly at LSU, when the Sun Devils were under NCAA investigation.
After leading the Tigers to an SEC West championship the previous season, Daniels made it obvious that he might be considered for the Heisman Trophy when he made the decision to play college football for a fifth time.
Even though his team was not in the spotlight for the majority of the season because LSU was running a strong quarterback campaign, he ultimately dominated that discourse.
On rivalry weekend, Daniels and the Tigers played Texas A&M to complete the season. Nix, Penix, and Harrison all participated in crucial games that might have an impact on the postseason.
When Nix and Penix faced off in the Pac-12 championship game on championship weekend, Daniels was the leader in the clubhouse.
In a thrilling game that determined a playoff position, both players performed admirably, but neither was able to stop Daniels because of the rival defenders.