Heisman finalists: LSU QB Daniels, Oregon QB Nix, Washington QB Penix Jr., Ohio St. WR Harrison Jr.
(AP) — LSU’s Jayden Daniels, Oregon’s Bo Nix and Washington’s Michael Penix Jr., transfer quarterbacks who have all played at least five college seasons, and Ohio State receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. were announced as the Heisman Trophy finalists on Monday night.
The Heisman has been given to the nation’s most outstanding college football player since 1935. This year’s winner will be announced Saturday in New York. The top four vote-getters determined by more than 870 voters, which include members of the media and former Heisman winners, are selected as finalists.
With Nix and Penix, the Pac-12 has two Heisman finalists for the first time since 2010 when Stanford’s Andrew Luck was the runner-up to Auburn’s Cam Newton, and Oregon running back LaMichael James finished third in the balloting.
The Pac-12 is in its final season with its current membership before 10 schools depart, including Oregon and Washington to the Big Ten.
A look at each finalist’s road to Manhattan.
Daniels had one of the most prolific seasons in Southeastern Conference history for the 13th-ranked Tigers (9-3), his second at LSU and fifth overall after starting his career at Arizona State. He passed for 3,812 yards and 40 touchdowns and ran for 1,134 yards and 10 TDs.
Daniels is trying to become the third LSU player to the win the Heisman, first since Joe Burrow in 2019 — another transfer quarterback in his second season in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Daniels is also trying to become the rare Heisman winner in the BCS/CFP era to win the award with a team that wasn’t in contention for a championship late in the season. The last player to win the Heisman on a team with a 9-3 record was Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson in 2016.
Harrison has 67 catches for 1,211 yards and 15 touchdowns, and his trip to New York gives No. 7 Ohio State (11-1) Heisman finalists in five of the last six seasons.
Harrison’s overall numbers lag behind some of the other star receivers around the country, but he was the most consistent threat for a Buckeyes offense that was breaking in a new starting quarterback and dealt with injuries to its supporting cast all season.
He would be the fifth receiver to win the Heisman in the award’s 87-year history, but the second in the past four years. Alabama’s DeVonta Smith won in 2020 to become the first receiver to take the trophy in nearly three decades.
The Ohio State player’s father, Marvin Harrison, is a Pro Football Hall of Fame wide receiver who played for the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts from 1996 to 2008.
While Daniels went from the Pac-12 to the SEC and found stardom, Nix went the opposite way.
After three years at Auburn, the former five-star recruit transferred to Oregon in 2022 and became one of the best players in the country, leading the eighth-ranked Ducks (11-2) to the Pac-12 title game.
Nix has completed 77.2% of his passes, which is slightly behind the major college football record, and has thrown for 4,145 yards and 40 TDs.PENIX
Penix is in his sixth college season after four injury-filled years at Indiana. He transferred to Washington in 2022 to play for coach Kalen DeBoer, his former offensive coordinator at Indiana, and has guided the second-ranked Huskies to 23 victories, a Pac-12 title and their second College Football Playoff appearance this year.
This season, Penix has passed for 4,218 yards and 33 touchdowns.