As we enter the meat of the 2023 College Football schedule, our Heisman Rankings are starting to take shape. Only eight total players received votes in this week’s edition and the top three are starting to separate themselves from the rest of the pack.
It’s still early, of course, and with some big matchups this weekend we could see some significant shifts on the horizon.
2023 LWOCFB Heisman Rankings Week Three
Week Three didn’t have a ton of action among Heisman hopefuls, with our leader resting and four returning members of our poll. This weekend promises to be significantly more impactful, with some big games for several players in our Rankings.
Here are the five top vote-getters from our panel of 15 voters.
1. Caleb Williams, USC (64) [Previous: 1 (71)]
The Trojans were off this week, but Caleb Williams maintains his hold on the top spot in our poll. The reigning Heisman winner goes on the road for the first time this season on Saturday. USC travels to Tempe to take on Arizona State. The Trojans are averaging 59 points in three games this season. If Williams can orchestrate another 55-point game on the road, he’ll assuredly maintain the top spot heading into a head-to-head matchup against upstart Colorado and Shedeur Sanders in two weeks time.
2. Michael Penix, Jr., Washington (55) [Previous: 3 (41)]
Michael Penix, Jr. continues his blistering start to 2023. The Huskies signal caller completely dismantled Michigan State’s defense in the first half of Saturday’s game. Penix finished the game with 473 yards and four touchdowns on 27-of-35 passing in about 3 quarters of action. Penix leads the nation in passing yards at 1,332 (433/game) in just three games and is second, behind only Sam Hartman, in touchdown passes. And that’s after being rested in two of the three games he’s played.
Penix continues to move up our board and is now receiving some first-place votes. With Cal coming into Seattle this week, there’s no reason to believe he won’t have another stellar game. If Caleb Williams slows down in Tempe, Penix could continue to close the gap on the front-runner.
3. Shedeur Sanders, Colorado (53) [Previous: 2 (44)]
Sander’s slides from second to third in this week’s poll after Colorado’s closer-than-expected win against Colorado State. It wasn’t as much about Sander’s performance as it was Penix’s domination of Michigan State. Sanders continued his stellar 2023 campaign with 348 yards and four touchdowns on 38-of-47 passing against the Rams. More importantly, Sanders is the primary offensive catalyst and, essentially, the reason the Buffaloes have won their first three games.
Sanders — and the rest of the Buffs — will get another chance to make a statement this week as they travel to Eugene to take on Bo Nix and Oregon. Will this be the reversion-to-the-mean that most people expect, or can Sanders and Colorado once again surprise the college football world?
4. Jordan Travis, FSU (28) [Previous: (4) (33)]
Jordan Travis had his second pedestrian game of the season last week and Florida State barely hung on against a Boston College team that has looked exceptionally poor in the first two weeks of the season. Travis hit at 62.5% and only had 212 yards through the air. One has to wonder how long Travis can milk the big week one win against LSU to stay in the Heisman race.
He’ll get another showcase chance this week as the Seminoles travel to Clemson to take on the Fightin’ Dabos. Will he be anointed as a Heisman Elder coming out of the Upstate? Or will the Tigers bring the fire and brimstone to the ACC leaders? As with Hartman, Travis needs a big showing in this type of game to close the gap with the West Coast leaders. He’ll need to up his game this week.
5. Sam Hartman, Notre Dame (13) [Previous: Not Ranked (5)]
The Notre Dame signal caller breaks into the Top Five of our poll for the first time this season after a win against Central Michigan. He’ll face a little stiffer competition this week as Ohio State comes to South Bend. Hartman hasn’t been asked to do too much for the Irish, as he’s averaging just 22 passing attempts per game. But when needed, Hartman has been uber-effective. He has a ridiculous TD-to-Completion ratio of 13-to-64, meaning that 20.3% of his completions go for Touchdowns.
Hartman has a chance to solidify his place in the Heisman rankings with a big game against the Buckeyes this weekend. This is exactly why he transferred from Wake Forest in the offseason. It’ll be a prime-time drama in South Bend on Saturday.
Others Receiving Heisman Rankings Votes:
Drake Maye, North Carolina (8), Jayden Daniels, LSU (4), Quinn Ewers, Texas (2).