Absurdly Early 2023 Heisman Poll

2022 Week One Heisman Rankings

The 2022 college football season has come to an end. The Georgia Bulldogs are back-to-back national champs behind Stetson Bennett. He was one of our Heisman finalists for the 2022 season. Our staff of writers and editors put their collective heads together to take a look forward for our absurdly early 2023 Heisman poll.

Of course, we had to take into consideration that players have until next Monday, January 16th to declare for the NFL Draft. But at this point, most players who are taking that route have already made their announcement and are on that path. In most cases, if they had made the NFL determination, they sat out their bowl games in December, (props to Will Anderson and Bryce Young for going against the trend).  We also pondered what impact the transfer portal would have. Players have until January 18th in this window to get into the portal. There will be another two-week window from May 1st to the 15th, after Spring camp. Will that movement impact the ability of any given to compete for the Heisman?

Here are the results of the analysis:

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Ranking Player Position Team Points
1 Caleb Williams QB 58
2 Drake Maye QB 46
3 Marvin Harrison, Jr. WR 30
4 Michael Penix, Jr. QB 29
5 Joe Milton QB 15

Also receiving votes: Blake Corum, RB-Michigan; Jordan Travis, QB-Florida State; Brock Bowers, TE-Georgia; Cam Rising, QB-Utah; J.J. McCarthy, QB-Michigan; Nicholas Singleton, RB-Penn State; Sam Hartman, QB-Notre Dame; Chandler Morris, QB-TCU

Top Five Candidates

1. Caleb Williams

QB | USC                                                                                                                                                                    Next Game: 8/26 vs. San Jose State

Being the reigning Heisman winner clearly puts you at the front of the race going into the next season. Bryce Young was the odds-on favorite going into 2022, having won it in 2021. But Young didn’t even make it to the stage with the other finalists in 2022, so nothing is a given in this game. Williams will lose one of his top receivers, with Jordan Addison going to the NFL. But, for now, Mario Williams, his former Oklahoma teammate, is coming back to USC.

Williams completed 66% of his passes in 2022 and threw for more than 4,500 yards. He played well in the Trojans’ loss to Tulane in the Cotton Bowl. He threw for 462 yards with five touchdowns and interception. Williams was coming off an injured hamstring suffered in the conference championship loss to Utah a month earlier.

2. Drake Maye 

QB | UNC                                                                                                                                                                         Next Game: 9/2 vs South Carolina

Maye took a huge leap in his redshirt freshman year in Chapel Hill. He had been a four-star recruit out of Charlotte, NC, but spent 2021 as a seldom-used backup to Sam Howell. In his first year as a starter, Maye blew up and became one of the leading quarterbacks in the country. He was fourth in the country in passing yards with 4,321.  He was also fifth in the country in touchdown passes with 38.

The Tar Heels struggled down the stretch, losing the last two regular-season games, the conference championship game to Clemson, and the Holiday Bowl to Oregon. During that stretch, he only completed 56.4 percent of his passes with the low point being an 18 for 35 performance in the bowl loss.

He is losing his leading receiver, Josh Downs, to the NFL. Perhaps more importantly, his offensive coordinator Phil Longo moved on to take the OC job at Wisconsin.

3. Marvin Harrison, Jr.

WR | Ohio State                                                                                                                                                                       Next Game: 9/2 @ Indiana

Harrison was a finalist for the 2022 Biletnikoff Award for the best receiver in the country. His position coach at Ohio State, Brian Hartline, took an unorthodox step by going to social media to express his dismay to the voters that Harrison did not win the award. Harrison benefitted from having two-time Heisman finalist quarterback C.J. Stroud deliver the ball to him. He finished sixth in the country in receiving yards with 1,263. Harrison averaged just over 97 receiving yards per game. He was fourth in the country in touchdown receptions with 14.
Harrison had been rumored to be transferring to USC, but he did an interview last week with a Buckeye digital media outlet denying the story.
Harrison’s father, Marvin Sr., is in the NFL Hall of Fame after a 13-year career with the Indianapolis Colts.


4. Michael Penix, Jr. 

QB| Washington                                                                                                                                                                  Next Game: 9/2 vs Boise State

Penix wasted no time in becoming a fan favorite in Seattle. The transfer from Indiana had a couple of good years in Bloomington. In his second and third years for the Hoosiers, he threw for at least 1,300 yards and showed flashes of being able to play at a big-time level. He battled injuries in 2021 before moving on to Washington.

Once he got to Seattle, the stat sheets caught fire. He threw for 4,641 yards with 31 touchdowns against eight interceptions. He completed passes at a 65% clip. Penix wasn’t great in the Alamo Bowl against Texas, but he was good enough for the win.

He is returning for a sixth year and with some stiff competition. Utah’s Cam Rising, Oregon’s Bo Nix, and USC’s Caleb Williams will all be back, along with the additions of D.J. Uiagalelei, (Oregon State), and Drew Pyne (Arizona State).


 5. Joe Milton

QB | Tennessee                                                                                                                                                                         Next Game: 9/2 vs Virginia

Milton makes the list on a small leap of faith. He was the backup to Hendon Hooker, who was having a Heisman-level season until he tore his ACL in the loss at South Carolina. Milton had seen limited action in mop-up duty in blowout wins earlier in the season.

He started in the blowout win over Vanderbilt at end of the season, and then also in the Orange Bowl win over Clemson. In that game in Miami, Milton was 19 of 28 throwing for 251 yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions. He finished the season completing 64% of his passes with 10 touchdowns and no interceptions. The transfer from Michigan has 2,590 career passing yards with 17 touchdowns and six interceptions.