Oklahoma Sooners

Four Big 12 Quarterbacks Make ESPN’s Way-Too-Early 2023 Heisman Watch List

NCAA Football: Texas El Paso at Oklahoma

One day after the 2022 Heisman Trophy was handed to USC quarterback Caleb Williams, ESPN has put out its way-too-early 2023 Heisman contenders and the list is littered with Big 12 quarterbacks.

Obviously, USC quarterback Caleb Williams will be the favorite going into the season, however given that it’s only happened once in the history of the award, it’s unlikely to happen.


The Big 12 quarterbacks who made the list were TCU’s Chandler Morris, Texas’ Arch Manning, Texas Tech’s Tyler Shough and Oklahoma’s Dillon Gabriel.

On Chandler Morris, ESPN noted him as a “Top Contender”:

Morris beat out Max Duggan in camp and was the Horned Frogs’ starter before an injury. Sonny Dykes loves how he throws the ball, and TCU will reload at receiver. In Morris’ first start against Baylor’s Big 12 champion team in 2021, he had 531 yards and three TDs. His 461 passing yards were third in Big 12 history for a player in his first career start. After watching Duggan become a Heisman finalist in his senior year, Morris will take the reins, ready to have a breakout season of his own.

Meantime, Texas incoming true freshman Arch Manning was named an “Up-And-Comer”, although as ESPN admits, “Look, we’re not saying he’s going to win a Heisman as a freshman, but the quarterback spot will be up for grabs after Quinn Ewers’ struggles in 2022, and the Longhorns will have talented players around him.”


Texas Tech QB Tyler Shough was named a “Momentum Player” by ESPN, while noting he could end up in the NFL Draft, but if he doesn’t, “A full year in Zach Kittley’s system in Lubbock would result in huge numbers.”

And then, there was Oklahoma QB Dillon Gabriel, who ESPN called a “Redemption Story”, and wrote in part, “Most of his numbers were right on track with his consistent career trajectory. If Oklahoma improves and Gabriel produces, he’ll get his time in the spotlight.”

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