Caleb Williams Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Way-Too-Early 2023 Heisman Trophy Predictions and Sleepers

David Kenyon

For the second straight year, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner will return to college football.

As a result, USC quarterback Caleb Williams is set to face the big question: Can he do it again?

In the award's history, Ohio State running back Archie Griffin remains the only two-time winner in 1974 and 1975. Alabama quarterback Bryce Young had a shot in 2022, but he fell behind Williams early and finished sixth.

Williams should open the 2023 campaign as the favorite, a title he currently holds in the offseason.

Look around the country, though, and more than a dozen quarterbacks—and a few players at other positions—join Williams as expected top contenders for the sport's highest honor in 2023.

Odds from DraftKings.

Early Heisman Odds

Jordan Travis Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

For complete list, see DraftKings.

Previewing the Favorites

Drake Maye Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Caleb Williams, QB, USC (+500)

Sure, top wideout Jordan Addison went to the NFL. But the Trojans replaced him with Arizona transfer Dorian Singer, who tallied 66 catches for 1,105 yards last season. He joins a receiving corps that returns 600-yard wideouts Tahj Washington, Mario Williams and Brenden Rice. Williams has a terrific supporting cast for a run at a second Heisman.

Jordan Travis, QB, Florida State (+1000)

On paper, FSU's offense is built for a strong year. Jordan Travis totaled 3,631 yards and 31 touchdowns last season, and star receiver Johnny Wilson is back—with Winston Wright Jr. returning from a leg injury and Michigan State transfer Keon Coleman on the way.

Drake Maye, QB, North Carolina (+1200)

The main concerns for Drake Maye are a retooled receiving corps and a new offensive coordinator. Right now, though, the North Carolina QB is impossible to ignore. He surpassed 5,000 yards of total offense and accounted for 45 touchdowns last season. If a new-look Tar Heels team stays competitive, he will be the single-most important reason.

Early Candidates Most Likely to Fall

Sam Hartman Quinn Harris/Getty Images

Sam Hartman, QB, Notre Dame (+1300)

If you allow some nuance, Sam Hartman is a straightforward pick. Does he upgrade Notre Dame's quarterback spot? Yes. Will the Fighting Irish make a New Year's Six bowl? Quite possibly. However, they sorely lack established options at receiver. Hartman will elevate the offense—but most likely from a shaky unit to a respectable one. That is hugely valuable, yet it doesn't win a Heisman.

Carson Beck, QB, Georgia (+2000)

Similarly, the discussion around Carson Beck isn't necessarily a negative one. If two-time reigning champs Georgia excel, though, that's probably not because he is averaging 300 yards and three touchdowns. Rather, it'll be the product of UGA's running game and defense controlling games once again. Presuming he wins the QB competition, Beck should be a quality starter who doesn't shred box scores.

Joe Milton III, QB, Tennessee (+2500)

Few players are more fascinating than Joe Milton III. Will his third time as a starter lead to better results? Josh Heupel's offense is very QB-friendly, and Milton performed well in his limited snaps last season. At his best, he is a dynamic thrower. But can he maintain that level of play for an entire season in a tough SEC?

Sleeper Candidates

Will Shipley Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Jalen Milroe, QB, Alabama (+6000)

As always, it's important to mention that voters tend to value team success. Alabama's quarterback must be included. Now, there's no guarantee Jalen Milroe ends up starting the opener—let alone the whole season. But he stepped in for an injured Bryce Young against Texas A&M last year and is a mobile threat. He has upside, at worst.

Will Shipley, RB, Clemson (+6000)

Last season, Will Shipley rushed for 1,182 yards and 15 touchdowns, caught 38 passes for 242 yards and ranked ninth in the country with 1,748 all-purpose yards. He doesn't need to climb much higher in order to attract national honors, and Clemson being the ACC favorite doesn't hurt.

Tyler Shough, QB, Texas Tech (+15000)

How about an off-the-radar pick? Tyler Shough basically didn't play until November last season due to a broken collarbone. Once healthy, though, he averaged 332.3 yards of total offense while guiding the Red Raiders to four victories in four starts. All of his top targets are back, and Texas Tech added FCS standout Drae McCray. Shough is an unlikely option, but he's an intriguing one.

Early Prediction

Sarah Stier/Getty Images

Not only is Caleb Williams the reigning Heisman winner, but he's also approaching the 2023 season with an ideal situation.

As a player, the 21-year-old is an electrifying and efficient dual-threat talent. He held top-five rankings nationally in total passing yards and yards per pass attempt last year—while tossing only five interceptions in 500 attempts.

USC coach Lincoln Riley has a clear history of putting a prolific offense on the field each season. Three of his quarterbacks—Baker Mayfield, Kyler Murray and Williams—have won a Heisman Trophy since 2017, and Jalen Hurts finished as a runner-up, too.

Plus, the Trojans filled Addison's void with Singer and upgraded the offensive line this offseason. And, hey, maybe top-rated freshmen wideouts Zachariah Branch or Makai Lemon make an impact.

Williams is the popular choice, for sure. Yet he's fully deserving of this selection to hoist the Heisman in 2023.

Gambling problem? Call (877-8-HOPENY) or text HOPENY (467369).

If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, crisis counseling and referral services can be accessed by calling 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537) (IL/IN/MI/NJ/PA/WV/WY), 1-800-NEXT STEP (AZ), 1-800-522-4700 (CO/NH), 888-789-7777/visiting (CT), 1-800-BETS OFF (IA), 1-877-770-STOP (7867) (LA), visiting (OR), or calling/texting TN REDLINE 1-800-889-9789 (TN) or 1-888-532-3500 (VA).

Odds and lines subject to change. 21+ (18+ NH/WY). AZ/CO/CT/IL/IN/IA/LA/MI/NH/NJ/NY/OR/PA/TN/VA/WV/WY only. Eligibility restrictions apply. See for full terms and conditions.


Read 0 Comments

Download the app for comments Get the B/R app to join the conversation

Install the App
Bleacher Report