The 2022 college football season concluded just over a week ago. It's never too early to talk about the 2023 season then, right?
For the first time in years, Ohio State will have a quarterback competition for who will be the starting signal-caller once the 2023 season kicks off. In what will likely be a fierce battle between Kyle McCord and Devin Brown, whoever gets the starting nod will certainly have plenty of weapons and experience alongside him.
Although the competition will likely go through the spring (and possibly even into fall camp), many believe McCord is the frontrunner to be C.J. Stroud's successor. With that, the junior has shown up on a number of way-too-early lists to win the 2023 Heisman Trophy. In fact, as things currently stand, McCord (20/1) has the seventh-best odds to win the Heisman Trophy next fall, according to BetOnline. Teammates TreVeyon Henderson and Marvin Harrison Jr. (both at 50/1) are also among the top 20 in initial Heisman odds.
|QB Drake Maye, UNC
|QB Caleb Williams, USC
|QB Jordan Travis, Florida State
|QB Michael Penix Jr., Washington
|QB Bo Nix, Oregon
|QB Sam Hartman, Notre Dame
|QB Kyle McCord, Ohio State
|QB Jayden Daniels, LSU
|QB Joe Milton, Tennessee
|QB Drew Allar, Penn State
|QB Quinn Ewers, Texas
|QB Cade Klubnick, Clemson
|QB Brock Vandagriff, Georgia
|QB Carson Beck, Georgia
|RB Blake Corum, Michigan
|QB Ty Simpson, Alabama
|QB J.J. McCarthy, Michigan
|QB Dillon Gabriel, Oklahoma
|QB Spencer Rattler, South Carolina
|RB TreVeyon Henderson, Ohio State
|WR Marvin Harrison Jr., Ohio State
McCord has started just one game – a win over Akron in 2021 – in his first two years in Columbus. With Stroud forced to miss the game while battling a shoulder injury, the then-freshman completed 13 of 18 passes for 319 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. In his first two years as a Buckeye, McCord has combined to complete 41 of 58 passes for 606 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. The 6-foot-3 gunslinger is joined by Medina, Ohio’s Drew Allar, who is expected to be Penn State’s starting quarterback next season, as the only first-year starters among the top 10 players (all of which are quarterbacks) on the list.
Henderson has a chance to prove he’s among the best running backs in college football once again next fall. He fought through a foot injury throughout much of this past season, one that led to surgery that forced him to miss the CFP game against Georgia. The biggest thing that might keep him from being a Heisman contender is the fact that the Buckeye running back room is absolutely loaded, which will likely mean Henderson won't receive as many carries as other top running backs across the country as he’ll split the workload with Miyan Williams and others.
Harrison returns as the best wide receiver in the country and will *still* feel like he has something to prove after missing out on the Biletnikoff Award. As a sophomore, the 6-foot-3, 202-pound wideout finished with 77 catches for 1,263 yards and 14 touchdowns in 13 games, catching just about everything within his reach. He’ll be just fine no matter who is throwing him the ball, but he already has a great history with McCord, who he won three state championships with in high school.
Caleb Williams is the reigning Heisman winner after he completed 333 of 500 passes for 4,537 yards and 42 touchdowns and added 113 yards and 10 touchdowns on the ground this past season. Drake Maye, however, has the top odds after completing 342 of 517 passes for 4,321 yards and 38 touchdowns and running the ball 184 times for 698 yards and seven touchdowns in his first year as North Carolina’s starter.
Although Maye has a very slight lead over Williams at the top of the list, don't be surprised if the USC quarterback is the odds-on favorite to win back-to-back Heisman Trophies once next season kicks off. He would be the first to do so since Archie Griffin (1974-75), the only two-time Heisman winner.
Blake Corum is the only other non-quarterback in the top 20 of the early 2023 Heisman odds besides Henderson and Harrison. He finished seventh in the 2022 Heisman vote after rushing for 1,463 yards and 18 touchdowns on 247 carries before suffering a season-ending knee injury. If the Wolverines’ running game dominates again next season with Corum leading the charge, don't be surprised if the Michigan running back is among the finalists in New York at season’s end.
Since the Heisman is essentially a quarterback’s award – 19 of the past 23 Heisman winners have been quarterbacks dating back to the 2000 season – McCord has better odds than his teammates even though the other two Buckeyes are much more experienced.
Ohio State hasn't had a Heisman winner since 2006, when Troy Smith brought the award back to Columbus. Since Griffin won back-to-back trophies nearly 50 years ago, the Buckeyes have had just two Heisman Trophy winners: Smith and Eddie George (1995). McCord (or Brown), Henderson and Harrison will look to change that next fall.
McCord has yet to secure the starting quarterback spot for the Buckeyes next season, yet is among the top seven candidates to win the 2023 Heisman Trophy. That's what happens when you are considered by many to be the favorite to be behind center and lead Ryan Day's offense. After all, Ohio State’s quarterback has been a Heisman finalist in four of the last five seasons, with Stroud most recently earning trips to New York in back-to-back years.