Jayden Daniels Nov 11, 2023; Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA; LSU Tigers quarterback Jayden Daniels (5) rushes for a touchdown against the Florida Gators during the first half at Tiger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

The Heisman Trophy will be handed out next month. With the 2023 college football season winding down, the race is tightening. Only a few strong candidates will emerge over the last few weeks. One of them happens to reside down in the Bayou, a place familiar with the legendary trophy. So let’s discuss why LSU Tigers quarterback Jayden Daniels should be the current Heisman frontrunner.

Non-playoff players have won before and will again

The fact that LSU isn’t in the College Football Playoff race shouldn’t disqualify Jayden Daniels from winning the Heisman Trophy.

Just last year, Caleb Williams won it, and USC didn’t even win their own conference.

Lamar Jackson was another example of a player who played on a non-Playoff squad that hoisted up the trophy in New York City. Despite Louisville going 9-4 in 2016, the electrifying Cardinals quarterback still won the award anyway.

Daniels’ level of play the last few weeks has been so extraordinary, and he’s creating such a gap between him and the next guy that the voters could go his way.

The lack of high-leverage games provides the opportunity to widen the gap

While someone in a high-leverage spot could win themselves the Heisman, they could also see disaster turn.

That isn’t something that Daniels is going to have to worry about. LSU will play Georgia State and then a Texas A&M squad that just fired head coach Jimbo Fisher. So the Tigers won’t be playing teams that have any juice or anything to really play for.

Given the advantage they’re going to have, it might present a chance for Daniels to really widen the gap on his competition. Bo Nix, Michael Penix Jr., J.J. McCarthy, and Marvin Harrison Jr. are probably Daniels’ biggest competition for the award. They’ll all be playing in consequential games. But they also might all face each other again, which could cancel the other out.

Meanwhile, Daniels will have the chance to surf his way to victory under no pressure.

He’s THE Most Outstanding Player

Over his last five games, Jayden Daniels:

  • is 78-for-113, good for a completion% of 69%
  • has thrown for 1,454 yards
  • thrown 14 touchdowns to just two interceptions
  • has rushed for 626 yards on just 54 carries, 11.59 yards per attempt

And on the season has:

  • Completed 71.4 percent of his passes (195-273)
  • Thrown for 3,164 yards
  • Thrown 30 touchdowns and only four interceptions
  • Ran for 918 yards on 114 carries, with eight touchdowns

All due respect to the field, but nobody is putting up those kinds of numbers. LSU’s Jayden Daniels should be the Heisman frontrunner. Should he continue playing like this, he also should win the award outright.

About Chris Novak

Chris Novak has been talking and writing about sports ever since he can remember. Previously, Novak wrote for and managed sites in the SB Nation network for nearly a decade from 2013-2022