Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Week 9: Heisman Watch

Courtesy of Emma Ottosen/The Daily UW

At roughly the two-thirds mark of the college football season, the Heisman race is both wide open and heating up. The stock of some presumptive frontrunners have taken a hit within the past few weeks, and with pivotal conference matchups remaining on every team’s slate, the award is waiting for someone to rise to the occasion.

Let’s take a look at the current candidates.

J.J. McCarthy, Quarterback, Michigan

The Wolverines’ junior quarterback surged to the top of Heisman rankings after a dominant 49-0 win over Michigan State and is currently the odds-on favorite to take home the honors. He has put together a terrific year for No. 1 Michigan, racking up 18 passing touchdowns and completing passes at a clip of 78.1%. McCarthy is garnering NFL first-round buzz and recently drew the praise of head coach John Harbaugh, who noted that “J.J. has shown to be on the path to be the best quarterback in Michigan history.”

McCarthy has led the best team in the nation in all facets and it seems inevitable that he’ll be a Heisman finalist come December.

Michael Penix Jr., Quarterback, Washington

Prior to last week’s dud containing 275 yards, zero touchdowns and two interceptions at home against an abysmal Arizona State team, Penix Jr. was seen as the running favorite for the Heisman through Week 7 for the Huskies. Despite the shoddy showing, Washington escaped with the win and still remains perfect on the year, and one down week shouldn’t discount Penix’s otherwise terrific year. The former Indiana quarterback has excelled through a season and a half in Seattle, tossing for 20 touchdowns in just six games and finding himself in the first round of NFL mock drafts. He’s notched a signature win over Oregon already this season and will look to stake his claim with marquee matchups against No. 24 USC and No. 13 Utah on the horizon.

Jordan Travis, Quarterback, Florida State

The Seminoles just seem to keep winning under senior signal-caller Jordan Travis, whose steadiness week in and week out plants him firmly in the top five of the Heisman race. Travis announced his arrival in a Week 1 beatdown of LSU in which he threw for over 300 yards and four touchdowns, and since then Florida State has not fallen below No. 5 in the AP Top 25. With five very winnable games remaining on the schedule, Travis and the Seminoles have a chance to enter the ACC Championship undefeated. The dual-threat star is coming off the heels of a big win over then-No. 16 Duke and has the Seminoles looking like a postseason team.

Marvin Harrison Jr., Wide receiver, Ohio State

While the Heisman generally is reserved for quarterbacks, for a wide receiver to be squarely in the conversation is a testament to greatness. That’s exactly what we’re seeing in Marvin Harrison Jr., son of Indianapolis Colts legend Marvin Harrison Sr. and one of the best receiving prospects in recent memory. Harrison Jr. was the difference in Ohio State’s gritty win over Penn State this past weekend, racking up 162 yards and a touchdown on 11 catches. The junior wideout dominated as a sophomore and is on track to turn in an even more impressive campaign this year, sitting currently at 766 yards and six touchdowns through seven games. Harrison Jr. is the best receiver in the nation, point blank, and will more than likely hear his name called in the first few picks of the 2024 NFL Draft.

DeVonta Smith bucked the trend in 2020 when he became the first wide receiver to win the Heisman in nearly 30 years. Harrison Jr. has a chance to do the same.

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