NEW YORK (AP) — Southern California quarterback Caleb Williams, the catalyst for the Trojans’ turnaround season, won the Heisman Trophy on Saturday night to make USC the first school to take home college football’s most prestigious player of the year award eight times.
Williams received 544 first-place votes and 2,031 points to easily outpoint TCU quarterback Max Duggan (1,420).
Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud was third in the voting after coming in fourth last season. Georgia quarterback Stetson finished fourth. The top-ranked Bulldogs will face Stroud and the fourth-ranked Buckeyes in the College Football Playoff on Dec. 31.
Duggan and the third-ranked Horned Frogs will play No. 2 Michigan in the other CFP semifinal on New Year’s Eve.
Williams and No. 8 USC fell short of the Pac-12 championship and a spot in the playoff, but it was still a rebirth for a college football blue blood that has had only short spurts of success over the last decade.
The last time USC had a Heisman winner was 2005, when running back Reggie Bush was the second of consecutive Trojans players to win the award. Matt Leinart won the Heisman in 2004 on the way to a national championship.
Bush’s Heisman win, the Trojans’ seventh, was later vacated for NCAA violations that began the descent of USC.
Notre Dame, Ohio State and Oklahoma each have seven Heisman victories.