So far as “Heisman Moments” go, it was maybe totally different than the remaining.
It was not a game-winning Hail Mary, akin to Doug Flutie’s second again in 1984. It was not an electrifying landing run, akin to Reggie Bush’s “stop-and-go” landing in opposition to Fresno State in 2005. It was not a shocking punt return landing, like we noticed from Desmond Howard or Charles Woodson.
No, this Heisman Second didn’t even end in a rating, and it got here in a dropping effort.
However when USC quarterback Caleb Williams ripped off a 59-yard run by, over, and across the Utah protection within the Pac-12 Championship recreation, it solidified a bit of information that turned obvious all through the faculty soccer season.
He was the perfect participant within the sport this 12 months.
Heisman voters agreed, as Williams was introduced because the recipient of the 2022 Heisman Trophy on Saturday evening. He secured 544 first-place votes, placing him effectively forward of TCU quarterback Max Duggan. Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud completed third, whereas Georgia QB Stetson Bennett completed fourth:
Heisman First place Votes:
Caleb Williams (544)
Max Duggan (188)
C.J. Stroud (37)
Stetson Bennett (36)
— Kris Rhim (@krisrhim1) December 11, 2022
For reference, right here is that second from the Pac-12 Championship recreation:
In some ways, that one run exemplified simply how electrical Williams was this season, and the way troublesome he was to cease. Beginning his first full season in faculty, as he adopted Lincoln Riley to the west coast and USC, Williams accomplished 66.1% of his passes for 4,075 yards and 37 touchdowns, in opposition to simply 9 interceptions. He added one other 372 speeding yards on the bottom, with 10 extra scores.
These numbers put Williams at or close to the highest of many offensive classes. His 37 landing passes led the FBS, and he additionally led the FBS with the 47 touchdowns he was liable for. Williams ranked fifth in passing effectivity, first in factors liable for, first in factors per recreation, and was sixth in complete offense.
However past what he did, it was how he did it. Williams was dynamic all through the season, irritating defenses whereas leaving NFL scouts and evaluators dreaming of what he may very well be on the subsequent stage. Performs like this throw late to beat Oregon State, the place the margin for error was razor-thin:
Or this rocket in opposition to Washington State, that may be constituted of what’s conservatively described as an “unsettled platform:”
Or maybe this throw beneath strain in opposition to Notre Dame:
Or possibly even escapes like this one in opposition to Arizona State:
Maybe Williams didn’t have a singular Heisman Second. Whereas the run in opposition to USC exemplified all the things the quarterback completed this season, along with his dynamic, play-making potential, in reality Williams had a Heisman season. A 12 months full of comparable moments, that wowed teammates, coaches, and opponents alike.
After Notre Dame misplaced to USC, their head coach Marcus Freeman praised the USC quarterback:
Gosh, you simply see it occur again and again all 12 months. His potential to really feel strain, to spin out of it. We advised our guys ‘He’s going to spin, He’s going to spin and work upfield.’ He’s elusive, man. He’s obtained enormous legs. He’s like a working again again there at instances. However he’s obtained an arm of an ideal quarterback. He’s actually troublesome to convey down. He’s a particular participant.
Utah coach Kyle Whittingham, the one coach to beat Williams this season, had this to say in regards to the USC passer previous to the Pac-12 Championship recreation:
Present me a recreation the place he’s not nice. I believe he simply retains getting higher and higher. He’s possibly probably the most troublesome quarterback to sack we’ve ever come throughout that can be an ideal throwing menace. We’ve performed some actually athletic quarterbacks that you simply may liken to a large receiver taking part in QB, however no person more durable to sack than that man. He retains performs alive, he extends performs, he retains his eyes downfield extremely effectively through the scrambles.
He very not often glances on the rush, he’s all the time seeing peripherally and it looks like he has eyes at the back of his head. Among the escapes he has are simply improbable. And he’s solely 20 years previous, second 12 months out of highschool — a real sophomore. What he’s doing could be very spectacular.
And what occurred after that run in opposition to Utah solely bolstered his case for school soccer’s most prestigious award. Williams harm his hamstring on the finish of the run, however stayed within the recreation regardless of being severely restricted. Riley, after the loss to Utah, said that Williams was “not even near 50%.”
However he saved battling.
But whereas USC had a 17-3 lead over Utah at one level, Williams’ harm cleary impacted that offense, and their potential to carry the lead. Finally the Utes overcame the deficit, ending USC’s goals of a nationwide title.
“When it comes to guys I’ve coached at that place, it’s possibly the gutsiest efficiency I’ve ever seen. I imply, most guys wouldn’t even performed. He nonetheless gave us an opportunity,” Riley stated after the Pac-12 Championship recreation.
In response to the Heisman belief, the award is “yearly awarded to the excellent faculty soccer participant in the USA whose efficiency epitomizes nice potential mixed with diligence, perseverance, and arduous work.”
Williams exemplified that each one season lengthy. However maybe most of all in a dropping effort in opposition to Utah. The place, after exhibiting the world simply how dynamic of a soccer participant he was, he remained within the recreation, whereas injured, attempting to will his workforce to victory.
Nice potential, mixed with perseverance and arduous work. The very standards for the award, showcased for us all to see.
For that, he’s really a worthy Heisman winner.