Jayden Daniels' Prolific Season Rewarded with Heisman, Breaking Playoff Trend

"This is a dream come true."

LSU Quarterback Jayden Daniels won the Heisman Trophy on Saturday (Dec. 9.), marking the first time since 2016 that a player from a team without a conference championship appearance has won the prestigious award. 

Having transferred from Arizona State to LSU in 2022, Daniels secured 503 first-place votes and 2,029 points, per the Associated Press. His award-winning performance included 50 touchdowns and nearly 5,000 total yards in just 12 regular-season games. During his acceptance speech, Daniels expressed his gratitude: “This is a dream come true.”

In the Heisman race, Washington's Michael Penix Jr. secured the runner-up position, receiving 292 first-place votes and 1,701 points, followed by Oregon's Bo Nix in third place. Notably, all top three spots were occupied by transfer quarterbacks. Daniels, who turned 23 on Dec. 18, previously won the AP Player of the Year earlier that week.

Wearing a stylish light gray suit, Daniels remained composed during his speech, expressing thanks to his tribe, from his offensive line to the Tigers Stadium groundskeepers and cafeteria workers. 

“I want to thank all my teammates, from Arizona State to LSU. You’re my brothers. You work so hard every day, inspiring me to be my best,” Daniels said.

Daniels, LSU's third Heisman winner, led his team to a 9-3 record, narrowly missing the race for a national championship. Despite two early losses, Daniels showcased exceptional skills, fueling the nation's best offense with 3,812 passing yards and 1,134 rushing yards. Boasting a remarkable average of 10.71 yards per play, he leads the nation in total offense at 412 yards per game.

While LSU is set to face Wisconsin in the ReliaQuest Bowl on Jan. 1, Daniels has yet to decide if he will play in the final game of his college career. The 6-foot-4, 210-pound quarterback may be headed to the NFL draft combine, with a rising stock but no guarantee of being a first-round pick.

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