ARLINGTON, Texas —Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark believes the conference has done enough to help TCU quarterback Max Duggan’s Heisman candidacy.
Duggan has played his way into Heisman Trophy contention by leading the Horned Frogs to an undefeated regular season and a trip to Arlington. The Horned Frogs, with a win on Saturday, should clinch a spot in the College Football Playoff, though Yormark believes the Horned Frogs have done enough for inclusion, win or lose.
Duggan’s door to lay claim to the trophy opened a little more after USC’s loss to Utah in the Pac-12 Championship Game on Friday. The presumed front-runner, USC quarterback Caleb Williams, had 363 passing yards, 21 rushing yards, three touchdowns and one interception in the loss.
Between the Big 12 and TCU’s magic carpet ride to the Big 12 Championship Game, Yormark believes the country knows who the Council Bluffs, Iowa, native is.
“From a conference perspective we’ve done some storytelling around Max,” Yormark said. “His story is incredible. I think it’s a national story. I think what he’s meant to that team, the trials and tribulations he’s gone through to get to this point today and to get this team where they are. It’s been great.”
Duggan is in his fourth year at TCU. In 2020, his career was in jeopardy after learning that he had a heart condition called Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, which only came to light after a COVID-19 screening. Two days after the surgery to correct the issue, Duggan had to deal with a blood clot and had emergency surgery.
Still, he played in 2020. In 2021 he played a good portion of that season with a broken bone and torn tendon in one foot that required surgery. Then, TCU fired his head coach, Gary Patterson, and brought in Sonny Dykes.
Duggan stayed at TCU. But he lost the starting job for the season opener to Chandler Morris, a highly-touted transfer. But, when Morris was hurt in the season opener against Colorado, Duggan returned and never gave up the job.
In October, after TCU rallied to beat Oklahoma State for their third straight win over a ranked team, Duggan talked about his decision to stay at TCU and not transfer.
“I came back to be a part of something like this,” Duggan said.
Entering the Big 12 Championship Game, Duggan had thrown for 3,070 yards, 29 touchdowns and three interceptions. He also rushed for 294 yards and five touchdowns. He won the Johnny Unitas Award earlier this week, given to the best senior quarterback in the nation. He is also a Davey O’Brien Award finalist. The award is named for the former TCU quarterback.
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard