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USC quarterback Caleb Williams outran a slew of quarterbacks to win the 88th Heisman Trophy in New York City on Saturday night with plenty of distance to spare.
Williams, a sophomore from Washington D.C. via the Oklahoma Sooners, received 544 first place votes and 2,031 total points. TCU’s Max Duggan finished second with 188 first place votes and 1,420 points.
Ohio State junior C.J. Stroud was third with 37 first place votes and 539 points. Georgia’s Stetson Bennett followed with 36 first place votes and 349 points. Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker was fifth with 17 first place votes and 226 points.
“Thank you,” Williams said at the podium after lifting the trophy to his chest. “This is really awesome. This is really awesome to be up here. You guys are unbelievable competitors.”
Williams said that as he looked to the three other finalists who joined him in New York – Duggan, Stroud and Bennett, who was his host when he visited Georgia while in high school.
“I may be standing up here today, but you all get to go to the College Football Playoffs,” Williams said.
No. 1 Georgia and Bennett play No. 4 Ohio State and Stroud in the national semifinals in Atlanta on Dec. 31 (8 p.m., ESPN). No. 3 TCU and Duggan play No. 2 Michigan earlier that day in Glendale, Arizona (4 p.m., ESPN). No. 10 USC will meet No. 16 Tulane in the Cotton Bowl on Jan. 2 (Noon, ESPN).
“I guess you can’t win ’em all,” Williams said.
Williams led the Trojans to a 11-2 record in 2022 and to the brink of the College Football Playoff before losing to Utah in the Pac-12 championship game on Dec. 2. He finished No. 5 in the nation in passing efficiency at 167.9 on 296-of-448 passing for 37 touchdowns and four interceptions. Williams finished fourth in the country in passing yards with 4,075 and also rushed for 372 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Caleb Williams Moved With Coach Lincoln Riley To USC
Originally an Oklahoma Sooner, Williams followed his coach, Lincoln Riley, to USC after the 2021 season with the Sooners. He helped turn around a program that finished 4-8 in 2021.
“We both know the job’s not done,” Williams said during his speech to Riley, who attended the ceremony. He repeated that to his USC offensive linemen who made the trip.
As a true freshman in ’21, Williams beat out Oklahoma sophomore starter Spencer Rattler during the season and started the final seven games of the season. He completed 136 of 211 passes for 1,912 yards and 21 touchdowns that season. Rattler transferred to South Carolina.
Williams is the first USC player to win the Heisman since tailback Reggie Bush in the 2005 season. The NCAA stripped Bush’s Heisman away in 2010 as he accepted impermissible benefits while at USC against NCAA rules. Williams is the first USC quarterback to win the trophy since Matt Leinart in 2004. He is USC’s eighth Heisman winner, which leads the nation.
Duggan finished ninth in the nation in passing efficiency at 165.5, completing 239 of 368 passes for 3,321 yards and 30 touchdowns with four interceptions for TCU. Stroud finished No. 1 in the nation in efficiency at 176.2 on 235-of-355 passing for 3,340 yards and 37 touchdowns with six interceptions for the Buckeyes.
Williams’ Game Vs. UCLA Pushed Him To Heisman
Williams became the favorite for the Heisman late in the season on the heels of his command performance against No. 18 UCLA on Nov. 19. His 502 total yards was the most by any player in the history of that storied rivalry that began in 1929. Williams completed 32 of 43 passes for 470 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for 32 yards. He brought his No. 8-ranked team back from a 14-0 deficit in the first quarter for the win.
Previous Heisman winners from USC were Bush in 2005, Leinart in 2004, quarterback Carson Palmer in 2002, tailback Marcus Allen in 1981, tailback Charles White in 1979, tailback O.J. Simpson in 1968 and tailback Mike Garrett in 1965.