Joe Burrow now has company. The voters got this one right. Daniels had an unbelievable season in a campaign that was full of them. I think Michael Penix especially will go down as one of the better runner-ups of recent memory. If you had told me before the season that he would put up the kind of numbers that he did and Washington would go undefeated in a difficult Pac 12, I would've figured that he might be the favor to win the award, but Daniels' numbers were just too good to ignore. ￼
I actually heard some people complain that LSU allowed Jayden Daniels to pad his stats during some blowout wins, therefore inflating his numbers. Yeah, that's kind of how this shit works. I think J.J. McCarthy is an excellent quarterback at Michigan, but the guy only played like 60% of the snaps this year, because Michigan was blowing teams out. LSU had a Swiss cheese defense all season. They needed Daniels to put up the numbers that he did. They were a nine-win football team; imagine what they would've been without his heroic efforts. ￼
Daniels is now the third LSU player to hoist the Heisman Trophy and only the second since 1959. Of LSU's two Heisman trophy-winning quarterbacks, both have been transfers, with Joe Burrow coming from Ohio State and Jayden Daniels playing his first three years at Arizona State. Despite the team having what many considered to be a disappointing campaign relative to expectations, Daniels' transcendent season may be responsible for saving Brian Kelly's ass from being put in the jackpot in year two. It's why I wish there was a college football equivalent to wins above replacement because considering how awful LSU's defense was, as well as the sheer volume of LSU's offense that Daniels accounted for, made him as valuable to his team as any player in recent memory.
I can't imagine there will be much controversy here. Still, for the people who consider team success, Daniels is the first Heisman winner from a team with two or more regular season losses since Lamar Jackson in 2016 and only the second since 2007. I know there is a contingency of people out there who think the SEC has taken something or a step back, but they keep winning championships and producing Heisman winners. Daniels is the 4th Heisman winner from the SEC in 5 years. While his season won't be remembered the way that Burrow's was, I don't know if any season ever will. But the fact that he's even in the same conversation makes him a well-deserved Heisman winner.