Nov 26, 2022; Los Angeles, California, USA; Southern California Trojans quarterback Caleb Williams (13)  throws the ball against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the first half at United Airlines Field at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Heisman History? Caleb Williams heavy favorite to equal Archie Griffin

The reigning Heisman Trophy winner has been installed as the favorite to repeat the feat.

However, unlike Alabama’s Bryce Young last year, Southern California’s Caleb Williams doesn’t have other star quarterbacks nipping at his heels just yet.

Young was installed as the favorite to repeat shortly after being named the 2021 winner, but Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud was just behind him, and Williams joined the preseason picture after following coach Lincoln Riley from Oklahoma to USC.

Young enjoyed a stellar junior year but finished only sixth in the Heisman trophy race won by Williams last month.

It was a prime example of why it has been nearly a quarter century since Archie Griffin became the only two-time Heisman winner in history (1974-75).

Despite an excellent season, Young was passed during the season by the likes of TCU’s Max Duggan and Georgia’s Stetson Bennett, who squared off in the College Football Playoff championship game.

Williams kick-starts the 2023 race with a huge cushion among oddsmakers ahead of his junior season. That includes being the +400 favorite at FanDuel, where his closest competition at the outset is North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye.

Maye is coming off a breakout freshman season and decided to stay in Chapel Hill despite heavy interest from other programs hoping that he would enter the transfer portal.

At the opposite end of the spectrum is Michael Penix Jr., who will return to Washington for a sixth year of college football. He redshirted at Indiana after tearing his ACL three games into his freshman season in 2018. Penix transferred to Washington after three injury-plagued and one COVID-shortened season and started all 13 games for the Huskies in 2022.

Penix decided to return to Washington after completing 65.3 percent of his passes for 4,641 yards, 31 touchdowns and only eight interceptions. He is the third betting favorite at FanDuel at +1200, along with Oregon’s Bo Nix and Florida State’s Jordan Travis.

Like Penix, Nix and Travis are veteran quarterbacks who decided to return to programs that expect to be highly competitive next season.

The top transfer in the initial 2023 Heisman odds is Sam Hartman (+1800), the record-setting Wake Forest quarterback who moved on to Notre Dame. The top non-quarterback is Michigan running back Blake Corum (+3000), who recently announced he will return to the Wolverines as he rehabs from a season-ending knee injury.

2023 Heisman Trophy Odds (1/9/23)
Caleb Williams, QB, USC (+400)
Drake Maye, QB, North Carolina (+1000)
Michael Penix Jr., QB, Washington (+1200)
Bo Nix, QB, Oregon (+1200)
Jordan Travis, QB, Florida State (+1200)
Quinn Ewers, QB, Texas (+1800)
Sam Hartman, QB, Notre Dame (+1800)
Drew Allar, QB, Penn State (+2000)
Jayden Daniels, QB, LSU (+2000)
Joe Milton, QB, Tennessee (+2000)
Case Klubnik, QB, Clemson (+2000)
J.J. McCarthy, QB, Michigan (+2500)
Brock Vandagriff, QB, Georgia (+2500)
Kyle McCord, QB, Ohio State (+2500)
Dillon Gabriel, QB, Oklahoma (+3000)
Blake Corum, RB, Michigan (+3000)

–Field Level Media

Sep 24, 2022; Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels quarterback Drake Maye (10) looks to pass Notre Dame Fighting Irish linebacker Marist Liufau (8) pressures in the second quarter at Kenan Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Drake Maye guides North Carolina to romp over Virginia Tech

Drake Maye threw for three touchdowns and ran for two more as North Carolina won its Atlantic Coast Conference opener by defeating visiting Virginia Tech 41-10 on Saturday at Chapel Hill, N.C.

North Carolina (4-1) scored on seven of its first nine possessions, bouncing back from a loss to Notre Dame a week earlier.

Maye completed 26 of 36 passes for a season-high 363 yards. Maye also was the game’s top rusher with 73 yards on 13 carries.

Virginia Tech (2-3, 1-1 ACC) managed just 273 yards of total offense and didn’t score in the second half.

Quarterback Grant Wells of the Hokies was 16 of 26 for 139 yards with an interception.

It was North Carolina’s largest margin of victory against the Hokies since the Gator Bowl to end the 1997 season.

North Carolina receiver Josh Downs was without a touchdown, but he made eight catches for 120 yards. The Tar Heels keep it clean as they were flagged for just four penalties.

Virginia Tech opened the score on William Ross’ 34-yard field goal.

North Carolina went ahead later in the first quarter on Maye’s 3-yard pass to Kamari Morales on a fourth-and-goal play, marking the second fourth-down conversion of the 75-yard drive.

Maye ran for a 1-yard touchdown run to cap the first possession of the second quarter, a drive that covered 85 yards and used 11 plays. That drive involved a fourth-and-7 pickup.

North Carolina’s third touchdown came on its first play of a possession when Maye hooked up with Antoine Green for 16 yards. It came after Cedric Gray’s interception.

The Hokies got it together for a 14-play, 69-yard drive that ended with Wells going into the end zone from 2 yards out.

But the Tar Heels struck back to make it 24-10 at halftime on Noah Burnette’s 44-yard field goal.

–Field Level Media

Oct 24, 2021; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New York Jets free safety Marcus Maye (20) tackles New England Patriots running back Damien Harris (37) during the first half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Saints agree to deal with S Marcus Maye

The New Orleans Saints found an immediate solution for their vacancy at safety, agreeing to a three-year contract with free agent safety Marcus Maye, multiple media outlets reported Tuesday night.

The deal for the former New York Jet reportedly is worth $28.5 million, of which $15 million is guaranteed.

Earlier Tuesday, safety Marcus Williams left the Saints to accept a five-year, $70 million offer from the Baltimore Ravens.

The Saints also reached a deal on Tuesday to extend the contract of cornerback Bradley Roby, per multiple reports. Roby, 29, had been headed into the final year of his contract.

Maye, 29, is coming off a rough year on and off the field.

The Jets used the franchise tag to retain him last offseason, but he played only six games in 2021 before sustaining a season-ending Achilles injury.

Maye also is facing DUI charges dating from February 2021, and the incident could trigger a suspension from the NFL.

The Jets selected Maye in the second round of the 2017 draft. Over his five seasons in New York, Maye compiled six interceptions, four forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, 312 tackles and 3.5 sacks in 60 games (all of them starts).

–Field Level Media