SEC Football: Way-Too-Early 2024 Heisman Trophy Candidate Predictions

AUBURN, ALABAMA - NOVEMBER 25: Quarterback Jalen Milroe #4 of the Alabama Crimson Tide prior to their game against the Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on November 25, 2023 in Auburn, Alabama. (Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images)
AUBURN, ALABAMA - NOVEMBER 25: Quarterback Jalen Milroe #4 of the Alabama Crimson Tide prior to their game against the Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on November 25, 2023 in Auburn, Alabama. (Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images) /

With the 2023 season all but concluded and Jayden Daniels, Bo Nix and Michael Penix being the Heisman Trophy front runners, the speculation can begin about who will win the award in 2024. And it indeed has on many social media outlets and talk shows.

With a true freshman never winning the Heisman Trophy, and it only going twice to a redshirt freshman in 2012 with Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M, as well as Florida State’s Jameis Winston in 2013, it’s a safe bet that the 2024 winner is playing FBS football somewhere right now. With Vegas Heisman Trophy odds for 2024 still months away from being released, it’s not too early to speculate.

Here are my “way too early” Heisman Trophy favorites from the SEC for 2024:

Way-too-early 2024 Heisman Trophy candidate predictions from SEC football

Jalen Milroe (Alabama) – Jalen Milroe has been one of the feel good stories of the year both for Alabama and nationally. After a rocky start to the season which saw Milroe throw two interceptions against Texas in week two, he’s come back stronger than ever after being benched the following week. Milroe has led the Tide on a 10-game win streak since the loss. His stand out performances include running for 155 yards against LSU and throwing for a season-high 321 yards against Texas A&M with three touchdowns. Milroe is also coming off of an Iron Bowl with a legendary performance capped off by the famous “4th and 31” to win the game. In the contest, Milroe threw for 259 yards and two touchdowns, while running for another 107 yards. Milroe’s improvement throughout the season and unquestionable leadership makes him a front-runner for 2024.

Jaxson Dart (Ole Miss) – Jaxon Dart is one of the true leaders for the Ole Miss Rebels. The junior Dart is coming off of his second season as the starting quarterback for the Rebels under head coach Lane Kiffin, and is expected to return for his senior year. Dart has thrown for 2,985 yards through 12 games this year, which is already nine more than his season total 2,974 in 13 games, including his bowl game, in 2022. Most notably, Dart has also improved his quarterback rating from 144 in 2022 to 162 in 2023. Chris Robison at Florida Atlantic University and Matt Corral at Ole Miss were also two year starting quarterbacks under Kiffin that saw drastic improvement in their second seasons. It’s obvious that with Kiffin at the reigns, the quarterback guru and Dart are more than poised to make a run at the Heisman in 2024. Kiffin has never had the same starting quarterback for three straight seasons. And this is a scary thing not only for the SEC, but the rest of the country in 2024.

Carson Beck (Georgia) – Carson Beck is in his fourth season as a quarterback on the Bulldogs roster this year, but the redshirt junior is only in his first year as the team’s starting quarterback. The former ESPN 300 recruit has had to wait his turn in Athens sitting behind Stetson Bennett for the last few years, and Jake Fromm in his true freshman season. Patience has been a virtue for Beck and the Bulldogs as he has them sitting at 12-0 heading into the SEC Championship game. Much like Alabama first-year starter Jalen Milroe, Beck has also grown leaps and bounds this year. While Beck looked rather timid early in the season on the sidelines, in interviews and on the field, the Bulldogs have a totally different quarterback on their hands now. After throwing for only three touchdowns in his first three games this season, Beck has been on a tear since throwing for 19 touchdowns in the next nine games. Beck has also thrown for more than 300 yards five times this season, four of which were against SEC opponents. He’s done all of this without a health Kendall Milton at running back, and top 2022 pass catchers Ladd McConkey and Brock Bowers who have been in and out of the lineup all season. This is an impressive feat for anyone, let alone a first year starting quarterback. Beck’s strong arm has him as a strong NFL draft prospect for 2023, but should he decide to return in 2024, look for him to make a run at the Heisman.

Quinshon Judkins (Ole Miss) – Despite Ole Miss Head Coach Lane Kiffin’s reputation for being one to air it out, the Rebels this year have stuck to a pretty balanced running and passing attack. This is thanks in large part to sophomore running back Quinson Judkins who will be back in Oxford for his junior season next year. Judkins was fourth in the regular season this year in rushing in the SEC with 1,052 yards. Last season in his true freshman campaign, Judkins led the SEC in rushing with 1,567 yards. The threat through the air will remain with Ole Miss quarterback Jaxson Dart expecting to return as well, which should also help to open up the ground game for Judkins in 2024. The humble Pike Road, Alabama native seems to have the right attitude as well after stealing the show at the 2023 SEC Media Days and making much of SEC nation fall in love with his outstanding character. This is a positive for the Rebels as the soon-to-be junior looks to make his run. And who knows – a Heisman-winning running back or quarterback could help Kiffin to want to stay around Oxford even more-so.

Outside of the SEC, watch for running backs Ollie Gordon of Oklahoma State, Omarion Hampton of North Carolina and Audric Estime of Notre Dame to make runs as well, as all were in the top 10 running backs nationally this year in rushing yards.

Look for Jaxson Dart and Jalen Milroe to emerge as the top two in this race with Dart ultimately taking home the trophy for the Rebels. Both Milroe and Dart have followed similar paths as LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels is a front-runner in 2023. They’ll now come into 2024 with three years of starting experience combined, which will help the trophy lay its claim in the SEC in 2024.

Next. Kentucky, South Carolina rise in latest power rankings. dark