USC quarterback Caleb Williams will be among the honorees at Sunday evening’s Heisman Trophy Dinner Gala in New York City for being the 2022 recipient of college football’s most prestigious award.
Williams received 544 first-place votes and 2,031 total points in voting by sports reporters, columnists, broadcasters and past winners. TCU quarterback Max Duggan was second with 188 first-place votes and 1,420 points.
Williams took the stage at Jazz at Lincoln Center Saturday to accept the award in a custom tan suit designed by Gucci and Adidas. The sophomore transfer from Oklahoma began his remarks by saying, “Thank you, thank you. This is awesome, this is really awesome.”
After acknowledging his three fellow finalists, Williams told them, “I may be standing up here today, but you all get to go to the college football playoffs,” getting a round of applause and laughter, then adding, “Guess you can’t win ’em all.”
Williams thanked the fellow Trojans quarterbacks on stage, Matt Leinart and Carson Palmer, the 2004 and 2002 Heisman Trophy winners. In the crowd were his school’s athletic director, Mike Bohn, whom he thanked on behalf of his whole team. To USC coach Lincoln Riley, who also coached him at Oklahoma, he said, “We’ve committed to each other twice.”
Williams quoted Riley and revealed something about his personal journey to the Heisman stage: “There can never be a great book or a great story without some adversity in it.”
The 6-foot, 1-inch, 215-pound Williams told his story of being told he was too small to play quarterback, among many other setbacks and heartaches he encountered, then spoke directly to young people who have also shared the experience of being told that they are too small, saying, “Go out there and show them how big your heart is.”
Williams finished his speech on an emotional note, thanking his mother and his father for their decisive roles in his success.
The Washington, D.C. native completed 296 of 448 passes — a 66.1% completion percentage — for 4,075 yards and 37 touchdowns with just four interceptions and ran for 10 touchdowns in leading the Trojans to an 11-2 record. His 47 combined touchdowns were the most in college football and a USC school record.
Williams is not eligible for the NFL draft until 2024, meaning that USC will have him for at least one more season. Many analysts think he is likely to be the first player chosen in the 2024 NFL draft.
Williams has said he plans to play in the Cotton Bowl on Jan. 2, when the Trojans face Tulane, despite what Riley has called a significant hamstring injury suffered in the first quarter of the 47-24 loss to Utah in the Pac-12 Championship Game on Dec. 2.
On Thursday, Williams won the Maxwell Award as the best player in college football and the Walter Camp Player of the Year award.
Williams is the third quarterback coached by Riley to win the Heisman, after Baker Mayfield in 2017 and Kyler Murray in 2018. Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts finished second to LSU’s Joe Burrow in the 2019 voting.
USC’s other previous Heisman winners are Mike Garrett in 1965, O.J. Simpson in 1968, Charles White in 1979, Marcus Allen in 1981, Palmer in 2002, Matt Leinart in 2004 and Reggie Bush in 2005. Bush’s win was later vacated by the Heisman Trophy Trust after the NCAA said he received impermissible benefits from a marketing agency during his days as a USC running back.
The other honorees at Sunday’s dinner at the New York Marriott Marquis include Johnny Rodgers, the 1972 Heisman Trophy winner, Charles Woodson, the 1997 winner, and Johnny Manziel, the 2012 winner.
Retired Duke men’s basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski will be honored as the 2022 recipient of the Heisman Humanitarian Award, created as an extension of the Heisman Trophy’s greater outreach to athletes who are providing opportunities to those less fortunate.
Krzyzewski, who played guard for Army from 1966-69, was selected for the award for his creation of the Emily K Center, which annually serves up to 2,000 students from kindergarten through 12th grade in the Durham, North Carolina area to provide foundational support in all aspects of their academic careers.
Krzyzewski will receive $75,000 to support the center, named for his mother to honor the love and strong work ethic that she instilled in him as a youth.