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USC’s Williams wins Heisman after leading Trojan turnover


NEW YORK (AP) — Caleb Williams has brought the sizzle, excitement and star power back to Southern California football.

And now the Heisman Trophy too.

Williams, the dynamic quarterback who was the catalyst for the Trojans’ turnaround season, won the Heisman on Saturday night to make USC the first school to win the league’s most prestigious player award eight times. year of college football.

Williams received 544 first-place votes and 2,031 points to easily edge out TCU quarterback Max Duggan (1,420).

Williams is the fourth transfer to win the Heisman in the past six years, joining Baker Mayfield (2017) and Kyler Murray (2018) from Oklahoma and Joe Burrow (2019) from LSU.

CJ Stroud of Ohio State finished third in voting after finishing fourth last season. Georgian quarterback Stetson Bennett finished fourth. The top-ranked Bulldogs will face Stroud and the No. 4 Buckeyes in the College Football Playoffs on Dec. 31.

Duggan and the third-seeded Horned Frogs will face No. 2 Michigan in the other CFP semifinal on New Year’s Eve.

“I may be standing here today, but you’re all going to the college football playoffs. I guess you can’t win them all,” Williams said as he began his acceptance speech by thanking the other finalists.

Before grabbing his big bronze trophy, Williams hugged Mike Garrett, USC’s first Heisman winner in 1965, one of 23 previous winners to attend the ceremony near Lincoln Center.

“Dreams come true. Thank you and keep fighting,” Williams said at the end of her 10-minute speech.

Williams and No. 8 USC failed to win the Pac-12 championship and a playoff berth, but it was still a renaissance for a college football blue blood who only saw short spurts of success over the past decade.

The last time USC won a Heisman was in 2005, when running back Reggie Bush was the second consecutive Trojans player to win the award. Matt Leinart won the Heisman in 2004 en route to a national championship.

Bush’s win at Heisman, the Trojans’ seventh, was later overturned for NCAA violations that started USC’s descent.

Notre Dame, Ohio State and Oklahoma each have seven Heisman wins.

The Trojans will be hoping a revival is on the way, led by Lincoln Riley, who coached the last two Heisman winners from Oklahoma, and Williams, who followed quarterback Norman to Los Angeles.

With Riley and Williams orchestrating one of the most prolific offenses in the nation, USC went from 4-8 to 11-2 and a Cotton Bowl bid this year.

Williams is the epitome of a modern college football star. As a five-star Washington freshman, Williams has been a celebrity since high school.

At age 10, Williams and her father, Carl, began planning a path to greatness. The to-do list included winning a Heisman.

“It’s something you dream of as a kid when you’re in high school and then when you get to college it’s just a goal you could throw on the wall before the season,” said said Williams the day before ticking off that goal.

As a rookie at Oklahoma last year, Williams grabbed the starting job, coming off the bench to rally the Sooners past rival Texas and immediately becoming one of the most exciting players in college football.

He transferred to USC in the offseason to play for Riley and amassed a large and lucrative backing portfolio before playing a game for the Trojans.

Thanks to one of his NIL deals, Williams was able to bring eight of his offensive linemen with him to the Heisman ceremony in New York.

When the games started, Williams delivered on her promise and her potential.

He passed for 4,075 yards, 37 touchdowns and just four interceptions, setting a USC record for total offense with 4,447 yards. The 6-foot-1, 215-pound sophomore also ran for 10 touchdowns, drawing comparisons to Chiefs star Patrick Mahomes for his ability to improvise and deliver perfect passes from a variety of arm angles.

Williams finished with a kick, accounting for seven touchdowns in Top 25 wins over UCLA and Notre Dame that put USC in playoff position.

The Trojans couldn’t close the deal, losing the Pac-12 title game to Utah with Williams hobbling for much of the game with a strained hamstring. Still, he threw for 363 yards and three touchdowns to give USC a chance and cemented his status as a Heisman favorite.

Williams is the 19th quarterback to win the Heisman since 2000, the third from USC and the third to do so after being traded to play for Riley.

Mayfield and Murray took similar paths under Riley when he was in Oklahoma. Riley left the Sooners after last season to take the USC job, jumping from program to program.

Riley joins Notre Dame’s Frank Leahy (four), Alabama’s Nick Saban (four), Army’s Red Blaik (three) and Ohio State’s Woody Hayes (three) in coaching at least three Heisman winners.

Williams is the sixth sophomore and second in a row to win the Heisman. Alabama’s Bryce Young won the Heisman in his sophomore season last year and finished sixth in voting this year, behind Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker.

Williams will become the last player to have the chance to join Ohio State’s Archie Griffin (1974-75) as a two-time Heisman winner.

But first, it’s time to find space in USC’s Heritage Hall. Williams again made the Southern California Heisman U..

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Follow Ralph D. Russo at https://twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP and listen at http://www.appodcasts.com

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AP College Football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://twitter.com/ap_top25. Sign up for the PA college football newsletter: https://tinyurl.com/mrxhe6f2

Southern California quarterback Caleb Williams holds the Heisman Trophy after winning the award on Saturday, December 10, 2022 in New York. (Todd Van Emst/Pool Photo via AP)

USC's Williams wins Heisman after leading Trojan turnover

Southern California quarterback Caleb Williams salutes after winning the Heisman Trophy on Saturday, December 10, 2022 in New York. (Todd Van Emst/Pool Photo via /AP)

USC's Williams wins Heisman after leading Trojan turnover

Southern California quarterback Caleb Williams holds the Heisman Trophy after winning the award on Saturday, December 10, 2022 in New York. (Todd Van Emst/Pool Photo via AP)



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