Is unbeaten KU Jayhawks’ Jalon Daniels a candidate for Heisman? His numbers are worthy

Charlie Riedel/AP

The state of Kansas had one potential Heisman Trophy candidate entering the 2022 college football season. Might there now be two?

Kansas State running back Deuce Vaughn was the preseason Heisman hopeful from the Sunflower State. But Kansas Jayhawks junior quarterback Jalon Daniels, from Lawndale, California, has entered the conversation with a sensational start to the season for unbeaten KU.

And Daniels kept building that hype on Saturday with a lot of eyes watching via a national television broadcast on FS1 from sold-out David Booth Memorial Stadium in Lawrence.

The Jayhawks should be ranked this coming week after beating the formerly 3-0 Duke Blue Devils by a score of 35-27. Few will dispute the fact that the Jayhawks’ turnaround — 4-0 now, their best start since 2009 under Mark Mangino — has been nothing short of amazing.

Well, Daniels is the motor that makes them go.

“If you see a top-five list of Heisman Trophy candidates and Jalon Daniels is not on it, look away,” said Eric Collins, one of Saturday’s game broadcasters on FS1. “Jalon Daniels is proving to everyone who wants to know that he is a stud.”

Working behind a vastly improved offensive line, Daniels has been unstoppable this season. He’s listed at 6-foot even, 215 pounds, and shows a definite knack for both passing and running the football.

Daniels added the exclamation point Saturday against Duke with a short run for a touchdown that made it 35-20 late in the game. That gave him a hand in five total TDs Saturday afternoon: four passing and the one rushing.

His final numbers against Duke: 19 of 23 passing for 324 yards, plus 11 carries for another 83 yards on the ground. Oh — and a rating of 258.3.

Not bad for an L.A.-area kid who was rated as a three-star prospect by 24/7 Sports coming out of high school.

Daniels entered Saturday’s showdown of unbeatens with 10 total TDs (seven passing, one rushing) with just one interception through KU’s first three games. He was 47 of 70 for 566 yards combined through the air before Saturday. He’d rushed 27 times for 237 yards, too.

Now, he’s had a hand in 15 TDs through four games.

Last season, as a sophomore, he played in six of 12 games for KU, starting the final three. He accounted for 10 total touchdowns — seven passing, with three interceptions. The Jayhawks finished the year 2-10.

There’s plenty of football left this season, but the Jayhawks do seem to be legitimate, and they also seem to have themselves a legit candidate for college football’s top annual award.