USC's Caleb Williams faces two obstacles in his pursuit of Heisman Trophy history, ex-QB Jesse Palmer says

Caleb Williams started his pursuit of a second Heisman Trophy with a four-touchdown performance against San Jose State in USC’s 56-28 win.

Only Archie Griffin has won two Heisman awards during his collegiate career. 

The Ohio State star running back won the award in 1974 and 1975. No one has repeated the feat.

Jesse Palmer, the former Florida Gators quarterback, told Fox News Digital he sees two hurdles for Williams to overcome if he is going to pursue another Heisman.


USC Trojans quarterback Caleb Williams celebrates after a touchdown pass during a game against the San Jose State Spartans Aug. 26, 2023, at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles. (Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

“It’s so hard,” Palmer said. “I think the two biggest things for him: One, I think he’s playing at potentially the second-best conference in college football. When you look top to bottom — USC, Washington, Oregon, Utah, Oregon State — there’s a lot of good teams.

“And part of the reason why we don’t see Pac-12 teams reach the College Football Playoff very often — we haven’t seen it since Washington — that’s because there’s a lot of attrition, a lot of parity and teams knock each other off. Could that happen again? And could that (deter) Caleb Williams’ chances of reaching?

“The other thing is just complacency. Honestly, I think in today’s modern college football, we see a lot of the best players — and he’s considered to be a lock to be the first overall pick in next year’s draft — guys protect themselves late in the year. Guys opt out of games. There’s NIL money coming in. People focus on different things. Can Caleb Williams stay hungry enough? Can he stay focused and consistent enough.”

Palmer said as long as the Trojans are in the hunt to make the College Football Playoff, Williams will be at the top of his game. However, he cautioned about what would happen if USC lost a few early games.

Caleb Williams on the bench

USC quarterback Caleb Williams (13) sits on the bench against San Jose State at the LA Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles. (Erick W. Rasco/Sports Illustrated via Getty Images)


“Certainly, as long as USC is in a national championship race, you expect him to do that. But if something were to happen inside the conference — they lose a couple of games early and they get knocked out — then what happens with respect to Caleb Williams. (He’s) certainly talented enough to do it. He’s going to put up phenomenal numbers. But, to me, the Heisman race is wide open.”

Palmer spoke to Fox News Digital on behalf of the 19th annual College Colors Day and its “Fan Out Loud” campaign. The day is being celebrated Friday, and Palmer is encouraging fans to celebrate by wearing apparel from their current schools or alma maters and sharing it on social media.

“It really gives us all a chance to fan out loud,” the former Gators quarterback explained. “That’s the biggest thing. This is the best sport in the world. It’s the best time of year. College Colors Day comes right in time for fans to show all this support and love for their school right in time for the college football season.”

Jesse Palmer vs Ravens

Jesse Palmer of the New York Giants in action during a preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens Aug. 31st, 2001, in Baltimore. (Simon Bruty/Anychance/Getty Images)


Palmer also said fans can visit the College Colors Day website for a chance to win tickets to the national championship game in Houston.

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